- 3 Jun 2019
Date received: 17 Apr 2019
Date responded: 17 May 2019
1. Provide the content of all documents including emails, minutes and reports regarding the announcement last month by Jean Freeman that the new capital investment plan for Scotland's NHS has been delayed.
2. Include any information that relates this decision to financial pressures within the Scottish Budget.
In relation to the first part of your request I have enclosed some of the information you requested in Annex 1.
In this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because 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 and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.
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.
An exemption under section s.30(b)(ii) (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs), of FOISA also applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained in Annex 2 to this letter.
Additionally, some of the information you have requested is publically available, as follows:
The government inspired question (GIQ; ref. S5W-22402) on publication date is available which is available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at
Details of previous commitments made on publication date to the Health and Sport Committee on 15 January 2019 and during First Minister’s Questions on 24 January are available from official records of these proceedings:
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
In relation to the second part of your question, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The reasons why we don’t have the information are explained in Annex 2 to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
First part of your request: An exemption under section s.30(b)(ii) (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested as it relates to the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
It is essential for officials and Ministers to be able to communicate, often in confidence, with each other and external stakeholders on a range of issues. Disclosing the content of these communications is likely to inhibit communications on this type of issue in the future which would significantly harm the Government’s ability to carry out many aspects of its work, and could adversely affect its ability to gather all of the evidence it needs to make fully informed 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 communicate and deliberate, in this case as part of the process of determining the best means in which to communicate the change of publication date, to ensure that the stated position is accurate and based on fully informed advice and evidence. Disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
Second part of your request: This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some the information you have requested.
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for as there is no such correspondence.
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