- 11 Mar 2019
Date received: 6 Feb 2019
Date responded: 6 Mar 2019
You asked for a copy of the Draft Financial Report presented to the Social Security Scotland Audit and Assurance Committee on 13 November 2018.
Enclosed is a copy of the Draft Financial Report presented at the meeting. However while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 30(c) (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
Section 30(c) – prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs [in relation to SG processes such as internal audits, risk assessments, programme or project assurances, public appointments, etc]
An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct financial management and counter fraud processes; financial management is based on our ability to analyse and discuss the cause of over or underspends and assess the risk around making different decisions to ensure financial balance. Disclosing this information would also substantially prejudice our counter fraud processes because the information could be utilised to derive the scale of the Agency’s counter fraud operation. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.
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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the processes for financial management and counter fraud and ensuring that the Scottish Government is able conduct these aspects of its business effectively. Social Security Scotland will prepare an Annual Report and Accounts following the end of the financial year. This document will be subject to audit by Audit Scotland, will be laid before the Scottish Parliament and will be made available publicly.
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