Publication - FOI/EIR release

Universal Basic Income, correspondence and policy papers: FOI release

Published: 21 May 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
21 May 2019
Universal Basic Income, correspondence and policy papers: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00585
Date received: 28 Feb 2019
Date responded: 15 May 2019
Information requested

 

a) All correspondence to and from the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley Anne-Somerville) concerning Universal Basic Income.
b) Any policy papers produced by the Social Security Directorate on Universal Basic Income.
c) Any correspondence between the Social Security Directorate and the office of the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People concerning Universal Basic Income.

 

Response

 

Some of the information you have requested is enclosed with this letter, however, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, on this occasion we are unable to provide some of the information you requested as exemptions under the following sections of FOISA apply to that information:
 s.29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy)
 s.30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice)
 s.30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views)
 section s.38(1)(b) (personal information)
The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

 

ANNEX
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test

An exemption under s.29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Information withheld relates to initial and current thinking on this project, and the outcomes that the Scottish Government wants to see.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Hence, 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 due to interest in the feasibility of a Citizens Basic Income, and in the trialling and development of pilot models. Nonetheless, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing the ongoing process of the feasibility study, as well as the development of weighted proposals to carry on without thinking being drawn into public debate at this stage.

Exemptions under s.30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and s.30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Funding was made available to undertake feasibility studies into Citizens Basic Income and to develop potential pilot models. Consequently, information has been shared between officials and Ministers for the purposes of obtaining advice and guidance in the various stages of development.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. 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 there is interest in the feasibility of a Citizens Basic Income, and in the trialling and development of pilot models. Even so, there is a greater public interest in high quality decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of decisions. This means, Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options, and debate those rigorously to fully understand their possible implications. Furthermore, there is also a greater public interest in allowing a private and safe space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers and other officials.
This private and safe thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered based on the best available advice so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

Exemptions apply not subject to the public interest test

An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The personal information, including names and contact details, of officials is their own personal information, and is therefore exempt under FOISA. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, thus, we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

 

About FOI

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.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG