Publication - FOI/EIR release

Best Start Grant Early Learning Payments - lessons learned papers: FOI release

Published: 3 Sep 2019

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

Published:
3 Sep 2019
Best Start Grant Early Learning Payments - lessons learned papers: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01871
Date received: 31 Jul 2019
Date responded: 29 Aug 2019
Information requested

You asked for the lessons learned papers relating to the delivery of the Best Start Grant Early Learning Payments.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. This includes the Scottish Government position paper on Lessons Learning for Delivery of the Devolved benefits, which is available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/lessons-learned-delivery-devolved-benefits/.

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 sections s.30(b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views), s.30(c) (prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs and s.38(1)(b) (personal information) 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
An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is the personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details 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.

Exemptions under sections 30(b) (ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) apply to some of the information you have requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views. They recognise the need for officials to have a private space in which to conduct frank discussion. These exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’. 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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can have full and frank discussions. Premature disclosure of the content of such discussion on the delivery of social security benefits will substantially inhibit the free and frank discussion in the future, particularly as these discussions related to a sensitive issue.

An exemption under section s.30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) also applies to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct discussions on the delivery of social security benefits. This exemption is also subject to the ‘public interest test’. Again, 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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can have frank discussion for the effective conduct of public affairs.

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