Publication - FOI/EIR release

Miguel Angel Vecino and Consulate of Spain Correspondence: FOI release

Published: 11 Jul 2019

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

Published:
11 Jul 2019
Miguel Angel Vecino and Consulate of Spain Correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01469
Date received: 12 Jun 2019
Date responded: 10 Jul 2019
Information requested

Please may you provide me with all correspondence that has been received by (even if Scot Gov is just copied in) and sent by the Scottish Government relating to Miguel Angel Vecino and the Consulate of Spain in Edinburgh. (Specifically, may you provide me with correspondence from 1st May 2019 to the most recent

Response
  1. Attached is a copy of some of the correspondence that you requested.
  2. 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.38(1)(b) (personal information) and Section 32(1)(a) (i) (substantial prejudice to international relations) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

ANNEX
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

Exemptions apply to some of the information you have requested
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 some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and/or contact details of third parties, 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.

Section 32(1)(a)(i) – substantial prejudice to international relations
An exemption under section 32(1)(a)(i) of FOISA (international relations) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the United Kingdom and Spain. The effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between the UK Government and Spain. In this case, the correspondence was given to the Scottish Government on the understanding that it would be treated as being in confidence. If the Scottish Government does not respect this confidence, the UK Government’s relations with Spain and its ability to protect and promote UK interests will be substantially prejudiced. States such as Spain are likely to be more reluctant to share sensitive information with Scotland or other parts of the United Kingdom in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications with the UK.

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 ensuring that the UK Government is able to maintain good relations with other States, in order to protect and promote UK interests abroad. There can be no public interest in jeopardising those relations by the Scottish Government disclosing confidential information or information which another State has specifically asked us to withhold.

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.

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