Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Resilience Partnership sub-group for EU-exit contingency planning meeting agendas: FOI release

Published: 27 Mar 2019

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

Published:
27 Mar 2019
Scottish Resilience Partnership sub-group for EU-exit contingency planning meeting agendas: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900000204
Date received: 7 Feb 2019
Date responded: 21 Mar 2019
Information requested

 

Regarding the Scottish Resilience Partnership sub-group for EU-exit contingency planning, please provide me with:

  • electronic copies of all agendas and meeting minutes of the groups meetings between 1 November 2018 and 7 February 2019;
  • electronic copies of all drafts of the group’s Scottish Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment (STRA).

 

Response

 

Electronic copies of all agendas and meeting minutes of the groups meetings between 1 November 2018 and 7 February 2019
Please find attached electronic copies of:

Annex B - Agenda 16 November 2018
Annex C - Meeting Note 16 November 2018
Annex D - Agenda 4 December 2018
Annex E - Meeting Note 4 December 2018
Annex F - Agenda 19 December 2018
Annex G - Meeting Note 19 December 2018
Annex H - Agenda 10 January 2019
Annex I - Meeting note 10 January 2019
Annex J - Agenda 24 January 2019
Annex K - Meeting Note 24 January 2019
Annex L - Meeting Note 29 January 2019 (no agenda as TC)
Annex M - Agenda 5 February 2019
Annex N - Meeting Note 5 February 2019

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested. The information redacted falls under exemptions:

  • 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK)
  • 30(b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views)
  • 38(1)(b) (personal information).

The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex A to this letter.


Electronic copies of all drafts of the group’s Scottish Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment (STRA).

In regards to your second request the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the group does not have a document with the title Scottish Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

The Scottish Government does not have the information

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because we have no record of a document matching the name of the one requested.

 

ANNEX A

An exemption applies

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names 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.


An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test

Section 28(1) (relations within the UK)

An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. Disclosure would substantially prejudice relations as some of the information contained within the requested document was provided by the UK Government. It is essential for the effective administration of the UK as a whole that there should be regular, and often private, communications between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations. Disclosure of this information will mean that the UK Government is likely to be more reluctant to communicate as frequently and openly with the Scottish Government in future.

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 maintaining close working relationships between the Scottish Government and the UK Government and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest, such as EU Exit. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

 

Section 30(b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views)

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of these discussions between Resilence Chief Officers and Senior Civil Servants on EU Exit civil contingency planning will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public, particularly while these discussions are still ongoing and decisions have not been taken. These discussions also relate to a sensitive information such as the impact of EU Exit on Scotland.

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 officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s EU Exit position on the impact of EU Exit on Scotland until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good EU Exit decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence, such as that provided by the Chief Officers within the Resilience Partnership. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. There is also an important public interest in avoiding the loss of stakeholder confidence in cases where they thought they were providing comments in confidence, which would be inevitable if an individual’s contribution was released against their wishes.

 

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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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