Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence between Scottish Government and Miscarriages Of Justice Organisation (MOJO): FOI release

Published: 27 Jun 2019

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

Published:
27 Jun 2019
Correspondence between Scottish Government and Miscarriages Of Justice Organisation (MOJO): FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900001956
Date received: 4 Jun 2019
Date responded: 26 Jun 2019
Information requested

You asked for:
· all correspondence, emails, memos, notes between yourselves, mojo, Cathy Molloy, Euan McIlvride, and Paul McLaughlin in the last 4 months.

Response

I enclose a copy of all the correspondence sent to and received from MOJO Scotland, (i.e. Cathy Molloy, Euan McIlvride and Paul McLaughlin) relating to the timeframe of your request.

Please note, an exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA, (free and frank exchange of views), applies to some of the content of the correspondence requested. As such, where this is exemption applies, we have stated in the relevant e-mails, ‘content redacted’. 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 MOJO Scotland before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.

Disclosing the content of every aspect of our discussions with the MOJO Scotland will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because they 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, decision have not yet been taken and they relate to sensitive matters such as employee relations, future funding decisions and governance structures. 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 MOJO Scotland as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on the suitability of the governance structures and future funding of the organisation, 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 policy decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence, such as that provided by MOJO Scotland. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and MOJO Scotland, 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.

We do not hold any other correspondence, notes, memos or e-mails that covers the time frame of your request.

About FOI
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.

Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG