Gender Recognition Act (GRA) communications in last 12 months: FOI release

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

Information requested

(a) all correspondence received by Nicola Sturgeon regarding the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the last 12 months; and
(b) all correspondence sent by Nicola Sturgeon regarding the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the last 12 months.
Your request advises that this should include (but not be limited to) all emails, letters, Whatsapp and text messages.


1. Attached is a copy of some of the information you requested.

2. The Scottish Government does not hold any correspondence sent by the First Minister regarding the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the last 12 months. Responses to correspondence are usually
issued by the relevant Cabinet Secretary or Minister, or an official.

3. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section s.38(1)
(b) (third party personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. This is because some of the information you have asked for is the personal data of third parties and disclosing it (such as names or
personal details) would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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.

4. A further exemption under section 30(c) (prejudice to the conduct of public affairs) of FOISA applies. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. It is essential for Ministers to be able to communicate and receive communications from external stakeholders, sometimes in confidence, on a range of issues, including in relation to the development of policy for gender recognition reform.  Disclosing the full content of these communications, particularly without the consent of the stakeholder, is likely to undermine their trust in the Scottish Government and will substantially inhibit communications on this type of issue in the future. Stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that all of their views are likely to be made public, particularly while discussions are ongoing and decisions have not been taken, and in particular where these discussions relate to the sensitive and controversial matter of gender recognition reform. This would significantly harm the Government’s ability to carry out many aspects of its work, and could adversely affect its ability to gather all of the evidence it needs to make fully informed decisions.

5. Correspondence received by the Scottish Government and the First Minister express and represent the views of those individual correspondents. Neither the Scottish Government and the First Minister should be assumed to support or endorse any of the views expressed in the information released, or to accept as factually accurate any of the information in such correspondence.

6. Some correspondents have also included links to websites. The Scottish Government has not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the material in websites not forming part of and is not responsible for the content of such websites or to represent the content of such websites as accurate. You should satisfy yourself as to the security and personal data implications of using any third party websites.

7. Some of the information you have requested is available from 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 listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

foi-201900001577 information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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