- 11 Mar 2019
Date received: 5 Feb 2019
Date responded: 5 Mar 2019
I would like to request copies of all correspondence relating to the calculation for the benefit-in-kind of Bute House for the years 2007 to 2017. This should include copies of correspondence with HM Revenue and Customs from the initial identification of the error to the agreement of the Employer Settlement of £16,765.
An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to some of the information requested because it is legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.
In addition, an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some parts of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, for example names of individuals or other personal data, and that information has been redacted. Disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
I attach the information you have requested that is not covered by these exemptions in Annex A.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House