Publication - FOI/EIR release

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - Universal Credit split payments correspondence: FOI release

Published: 7 Jun 2019

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

Published:
7 Jun 2019
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - Universal Credit split payments correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00731
Date received: 13 Mar 2019
Date responded: 6 Jun 2019
Information requested

FoI/19/00731
Under FOISA, please provide the correspondence and papers shared with the DWP (to and from) which details consideration and discussions regarding split
payments of Universal Credit (alternative payment arrangements).
Please provide correspondence since 25 April 2018.

FoI/19/00732
Under FOISA, please provide the correspondence with the DWP (to and from) to arrange meetings or diarised discussions (not limited to but including, workshops, calls, conference calls, video conferencing) regarding split payments of Universal Credit (alternative payment arrangements). I am not looking for details regarding informally arranged calls, i.e. day-to-day calls between officials/Ministers.
Please provide correspondence since 25 April 2018.

FoI/19/00733
Under FOISA, please provide the a list of the meetings or diarised discussions with the DWP (to and from) regarding split payments of Universal Credit (alternative payment arrangements). By meetings or discussions, I am referring to, but not limiting my request to, workshops, calls, conference calls, video conferencing. I am not looking for a log of informally arranged calls, i.e. day-to-day calls between officials/Ministers.
Please provide a log of these meetings or discussions since 25 April 2018.

FoI/19/00734
Under FOISA, please provide the correspondence with the DWP (to and from) which details the topics to be considered or discussed at meetings or diarised discussions (not limited to but including, workshops, calls, conference calls, video conferencing) regarding split payments of Universal Credit (alternative payment arrangements). I am not looking for copies of correspondence for informally arranged calls, i.e. day-to-day calls between officials/Ministers.
Please provide correspondence since 25 April 2018.

FoI/19/00735
Under FOISA, please provide the correspondence and papers requesting information from the DWP (to and from) regarding split payments of Universal Credit (alternative payment arrangements).
Please provide correspondence since 25 April 2018.

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.

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 exemptions under the following sections of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) apply.

  • Section 28(1) – relations within the UK
  • Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy
  • Section 29(1)(b) – Ministerial communications
  • Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice
  • Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
  • Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party

The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Section 28 (1) – relations within the UK
An exemption(s) under section(s) 28 (1) (Relations within the United Kingdom) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between administrations in the UK.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in maintaining good relations between the Scottish Government and the UK and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on Split Payments of Universal Credit.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

Section 29(1)(b) – Ministerial communications
An exemption under section 29(1)(b) of FOISA (Ministerial communications) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the communications with Ministers regarding the Scottish Government’s policy on Split Payments of Universal Credit.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to communications between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Scottish Government, regarding the Scottish Government’s policy on Split Payments of Universal Credit.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to communications between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Scottish Government, regarding the Scottish Government’s policy on Split Payments of Universal Credit.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names/contact details of individuals, and 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.

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Contact

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

The Scottish Government
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