- 27 Jun 2019
Date received: 30 May 2019
Date responded: 26 Jun 2019
You asked to be provided with the Gateway Review Agency Health check, as referenced at the below the line papers in the Social Security Scotland Executive Advisory Body April 2019 agenda.
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 30(b)(i), section 30(b)(ii) and section 38(1)(b) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice
Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views
Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of advice and views for the purposes of deliberation. These exemptions recognise the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with stakeholders before Social Security Scotland reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of these discussions with the review team on independent assurance reviews will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public.
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 officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate stakeholders as part of the process and development of Social Security Scotland. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Social Security Scotland and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
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 a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names 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.
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