- 14 May 2019
Date received: 26 Apr 2019
Date responded: 13 May 2019
There are dates and minutes for three meetings of the Scottish Business Growth Group – April 2017, November 2017 and May 2018 – available online (https://www.gov.scot/groups/scottish-business-growth-group/). Have there been any other additional meetings held by the Scottish Business Growth Group?
(a) If there have been additional meetings held out with those available online, please can you provide the dates and recorded minutes of these meetings.
(b) If there have been no additional meetings held by the Scottish Business Growth Group, are there any upcoming meetings on the calendar for 2019?
(c) If there are no additional meetings due to be held by the Scottish Business Growth Group this year, could you please provide any records which document this decision.
Yes, there have been additional meetings of the group.
a) There have been further meetings of the group on 14 September 2018 and 7 March 2019.
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2018 are available online via: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-business-growth-group-minutes-september-2018/ having been approved by members at the meeting on 7 March 2019. The draft minutes of that 7 March 2019 meeting will be published when approved by members.
b) The next meeting of the Group has provisionally been scheduled for 5 September 2019.
c) As noted in the response to b), there is a meeting provisionally scheduled for 5 September 2019.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested in part a) of your request because an exemption under section 29(1)(a) (policy formulation) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex below
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
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 EU Exit and UK Industrial Strategy. Essentially minutes of the meeting on 7 March 2019 remain in draft pending approval and possible amendment by members at the next meeting.
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. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on EU Exit and UK Industrial Strategy will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
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