- 7 Aug 2019
Date received: 11 Jul 2019
Date responded: 5 Aug 2019
You asked copies of all correspondence made from the Scottish Government including staff and members, both internally and externally on the Kilgallioch Wind Farm Benefit Fund.
I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information provided because it is personal data of a third party, ie a name or mobile phone number, 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.
An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) applies to a small amount of the information provided. 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. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice to Ministers on meeting handling will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future.
These exemptions are 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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to Ministers in ministerial briefing. It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly respond to stakeholders concerns. They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.
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