Publication - FOI/EIR release

Executive Advisory Body - item papers to support the agenda items: FOI release

Published: 18 Oct 2019

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

Published:
18 Oct 2019
Executive Advisory Body - item papers to support the agenda items: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/02144
Date received: 18 Sep 2019
Date responded: 16 Oct 2019
Information requested

You asked:

Under FOISA please provide the item papers that were provided to support the agenda items for the 9 July 2019 meeting of the Executive Advisory Body.

Response

Some of the documents you have requested are available online, please see below links:

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 30(c)(otherwise prejudice effective conduct of public affairs) and 38(1)(b)(personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Scottish Child Payment – Questions and Answers

s.30(c) – Otherwise Prejudice Effective Conduct of Public Affairs

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (Otherwise prejudice effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the effective conduct of public affairs. This exemption recognises the substantial impact on effective public affairs disclosing this information would cause. In this case, the information relates to ongoing discussions where a decision has yet to be taken. Disclosing this information before a final decision would lead to resources being diverted away from the delivery of the Social Security Programme to field queries from stakeholders, clients and interested parties. If a decision is reached that requires communications with stakeholders and clients this will be managed appropriately and the necessary support and information provided to them.

Further to this, Social Security Scotland services must be viewed in the context of the support we deliver to some of the most vulnerable in society. The Agency has a large and growing base of vulnerable clients.

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 staff to focus on the current and ongoing delivery of the Social Security Programme and the vital support being delivered to some of the most vulnerable in society. Diverting these resources would impact the delivery of the Social Security Programme which would not be in the public interest. Also, it is not in the public interest to release speculative scenarios which have not materialised with no context of likelihood which could cause uncertainty and distress to clients. Information of such a nature must be released in a controlled and measured way in full context having been carefully assessed. Social Security Scotland achieve this through forums and consultation with stakeholders as well as careful planning and support for such messaging. Scrutiny is provided by Parliamentary Committee and Audit Scotland. This information could lead to client unwarranted uncertainty regarding their social security payments and potential distress if they became concerned about income or levels of support available to them to access social security.

s.38(1) (b) – Personal Information

An exemption under section 38(1)(b)(personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested, such as names, initials and contact information. Disclosing this information 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.

Workplace Consultation Paper

s.38(1)(b) – Personal Information

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested, such as names, initials and contact information. Disclosing this information 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.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Edinburgh
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