Publication - FOI/EIR release

Grants and funding Equality Network/STA: FOI release

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

Published:
13 May 2019
Grants and funding Equality Network/STA: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00819
Date received: 21 Mar 2019
Date responded: 10 May 2019
Information requested

Information of all Scottish Government grants made to the Equality Network/STA for work relating to intersex people from 2007/8 onward. You also asked us to provide copies of all correspondence between Equality Network/STA relating to this funding, and any advice provided to Ministers in relation to this funding.

Response

 A copy of some of the information you requested is attached.
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 section(s) s.30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) s.30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views), s.33(1)(b)(commercial interests) and, s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
The Scottish Government formally extended its equality approach for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to include intersex people in In April 2014. The Equality Network did not receive funding for their VSC (Variations of Sex Characteristics) and Intersex Equality Project until after that time. 
Information on current funding can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/equality-national-intermediary-bodies-funding-2017-2020/.

ANNEX

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

An exemption applies

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on Equality budget funding will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to a sensitive funding decisions.

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 allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on LGBTI funding, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private 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.

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions on LGBTI equality policy will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to sensitive funding decisions.

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 allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s position on LGBTI equality policy until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, 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.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Equality Network/STA. Disclosing this information would be likely to give other organisations an advantage in future grant processes, which would substantially prejudice Equality Network/STA’s ability to submit competitive applications for funding and so could significantly harm their commercial business.
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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount 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.

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-19-00819 Information Released

113 page PDF
1.3 MB

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