- 7 May 2019
Date received: 24 Apr 2019
Date responded: 1 May 2019
I understand that the Scottish Government recently held a Citizens Jury in relation to agricultural subsidies. Please can you confirm if that is correct and provide full details of the process, questions put to the citizens and outcomes.
The answer to your question is that yes, the Scottish Government has sponsored research including Citizens Forums (which are similar to citizens juries) to understand the public’s priorities and values for a post-Brexit agricultural policy.
This research has been commissioned to a team led by Mark Diffley Consulting and Research, and including the Involve Foundation and academics at Newcastle University. Details of the contract are available on the Public Contracts Scotland website here:
As is normal for Scottish Government social research, (and in line with our agreed publication protocols, https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Research/About/Social-Research/Guidance-for-Contractors/SRPublProtocol) the research reports, and survey instruments, including all questions etc., will be published on the Scottish Government website at the end of the project. We will, of course, email you at that point to let you know they are available.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, we are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 27(1) - information intended for future publication - of FOISA applies to that information. The research is still underway and is not yet ready for publication. The reasons why this exemption applies, and date of expected publication, are explained in the Annex below:
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we intend to publish that information on 20th June, 2019, which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release some of this information before the planned publication date when we would routinely publish that information anyway as a part of the Social Research publication process.
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 some public interest in release because there is clearly interest in the research including the citizens forums, that we have commissioned, however we expect this interest will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.
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