Publication - FOI/EIR release

Ministers and Special Advisers roles responding to FOI requests: FOI review

Published: 9 Apr 2019

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

Published:
9 Apr 2019
Ministers and Special Advisers roles responding to FOI requests: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/19/00669 Review
Date received: 28 Mar 2019
Date responded: 8 Apr 2019
Information requested

 

Please provide the following:

(A) any and all procedures, guidance, emails that set out the current role of Ministers and Special Advisers in responding to FOI requests and requests for internal review.

(B) a risk assessment that sets out the data protection compliance considerations associated with (A).

 

Response

 

Further to email dated 29 March 2019 acknowledging your request for a review in relation to FOI/19/00669, and to your email of 28 March 2019 in which you confirmed that you are seeking a review because you believe that our initial response was neither accurate nor complete.

I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the following information:

(A) any and all procedures, guidance, emails that set out the current role of Ministers and Special Advisers in responding to FOI requests and requests for internal review.

(B) a risk assessment that sets out the data protection compliance considerations associated with (A).

I have looked at your request afresh to decide whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications, as appropriate, or that a fresh decision should be substituted. I have addressed each part of your request below:

Part (A)
I have concluded that the original decision in relation to part (A) of your request should be confirmed with modifications.

In our response to your request we provided links to:
Our current procedures and guidance which set out the role of Ministers and Special Advisers in terms of FOI(S)A handling and;
Information which sets out our response to the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Intervention report in the form of an action plan and information which outlines the future criteria for decision making, which explicitly sets out the roles of, among others, Ministers and Special Advisers.
I have concluded that as this information is publically available, it is reasonably accessible to you other than by requesting it under section 1(1) of FOISA and therefore I am satisfied that in responding to your request we were entitled to do so under section 25(1) of FOISA.

However, in conducting my review I have identified some further information which should also have been considered for release at the time of your request. I apologise that this information was not previously identified as being held and for the delay in providing this information. I have enclosed a copy of this information at Annex A.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to small amount of this information because it details the names of Scottish Government officials below senior civil service level, and disclosing these names 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.

Part (B)
I have concluded that the original decision in relation to part (B) of your request should be confirmed without modifications.
Having completed a further search of our electronic records management system, I am satisfied that the Scottish Government does not hold any information which would fall within the scope of this part of your request. I have therefore upheld the decision to issue a formal notice, in terms of section 17(1) of FOISA, to that effect.
As we set out in our initial response, Scottish Ministers are lawfully processing the data of which they are the Controller, therefore we have not and do not deem a risk assessment necessary.

 

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.

foi-19-00669-review Annex A

2 page PDF
112.4 kB

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