- 5 Aug 2019
Date received: 9 Jul 2019
Date responded: 2 Aug 2019
You asked for any correspondence (emails, letters, minutes of phone calls, briefings and/or otherwise) between the Scottish Government and Audit Scotland in regards to the Audit Scotland report ‘Social Security: Implementing the devolved powers’, specifically detailing:
a) The lack of financial reviews undertaken by the Scottish Government inregards to the implementation of the devolved benefits.
b) Lack of preparation within the Scottish Government/Social SecurityScotland for the delivery of the wave 2 benefits.
c) Vacancy rate at Social Security Scotland.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section s.30(c) of FOISA applies to that information. The reason why that exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to all the information requested. It is essential for Scottish Government (SG) officials to be able to engage fully in the draft review process to ensure accuracy. Disclosing the content of these communications, is likely to undermine the ability to provide sensitive comments and evidence in order to provide the clearest information to inform the reporting process. Without this private space to engage with the process, pertinent information and discussions are less likely to be meaningful. This would undermine effective conduct of public affairs, including the audit process itself, to reveal communications on draft versions of final reports.
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 SG officials a private space within which to communicate as part of the process of ensuring accuracy of the final report.
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