- 8 Jan 2020
Date received: 25 Nov 2019
Date responded: 11 Dec 2019
Please provide all drafts and copies of Social Security Scotland Executive Advisory Body minutes and agendas relating to the Tuesday 01 October 2019 meeting.
This should include versions of the minutes and agendas not published at https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/what-we-do/minutes-meetings-and-agendas, and drafts provided to members before and at the meeting they were approved for, as well as the notes taken for the aiding of producing the minutes, as well as any correspondence relating to changes to the minutes.
Please also provide relevant papers 9.1 through to 9.7 provided at the meeting/to those attending.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in PDF form:
Paper 9.1: Benefits Update
Paper 9.2: Balance Scorecard
Paper 9.5: Corporate plan consultation
Paper 9.7: Overview of FOI performance
Some of the information you have requested is already available:
Paper 9.4: Charter Measurement Framework
Paper 9.6: Annual Report and Accounts
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested, such as name 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.
Intended for future publication
An exemption under section 27(1) (information intended for future publication) of FOISA applies to paper 9.3 the Audit and Assurance Committee Annual Report, some information held within paper 9.2 Balance Scorecard and paper 9.1 Benefits Update. This report will be published within 12 weeks of the date of your request on the Social Security Scotland website and the information from the other two documents will be published here.
We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release this information before the planned publication date.
We have assessed this request against 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.
We recognise that there is some public interest in the information and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned.
Prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs
An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct financial management effectively which is based on our ability to analyse and discuss the cause of over or underspends and assess the risk around making different decisions to ensure financial balance. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.
We have assessed this request against 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. However there is a greater public interest in protecting the processes for financial management and ensuring that the Scottish Government is able to conduct this effectively. This means that we have not disclosed the plans or associated explanations of any variation against plan which is business judgement. The information which has been provided is in line with the disclosure in our Annual Report and Accounts.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House