- 15 May 2019
Date received: 21 Mar 2019
Date responded: 18 Apr 2019
• Any advice provided by the Government Actuary Department (GAD) to the Scottish Government relating to the Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) (Scotland) Bill. Please disclose any advice provided in the period 1 October 2018 – 19 March 2019.
• Any correspondence between the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government relating to the Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) (Scotland) Bill. Please disclose any correspondence which has taken place in the period 1 October 2018 – 19 March 2019.
I attach a copy of some of the information you requested.
Some of the information you have requested is available on either the Scottish Government website or the Scottish Parliament website. For ease I have attached links to the relevant webpages as they relate to correspondence between the Scottish Government and the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee; the official report of the Stage 3 Chamber debate which the Minister for Community Safety attended; and the Government Actuary’s Department Personal Injury Discount Rate Analysis Report for the Scottish Government along with supplementary slides.
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 websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
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 exemption under section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex below.
Our aim is to provide information whenever possible. However, in this instance, some of the information you have requested is not held by the Scottish Government for the purposes of FOISA because we received it in confidence from the UK Government. This means that, under the terms of section 3(2)(a)(ii) of FOISA, we are unable to disclose it in response to your request. However, you may wish to submit a new request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) to the Ministry of Justice who should be able to help you further.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
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 with the Government Actuary’s Department on the personal injury discount rate 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 relate to a sensitive issue such as the personal injury discount rate.
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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy position on the personal injury discount rate, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy that is sound and likely to be effective. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence, such as that provided by the Government Actuary’s Department. 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 policy making process, 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