Publication - FOI/EIR release

Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments - drafts, correspondence: FOI release

Published: 31 Jul 2019

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

Published:
31 Jul 2019
Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments - drafts, correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900002056
Date received: 12 Jun 2019
Date responded: 30 Jul 2019
Information requested

You asked for the following information in relation to the Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments at Primary 1 (the independent review) under FOISA:
• Any draft copies/versions of the independent review
• All communication between the Scottish Government and David Reedy (including staff working for and/or with him) regarding the Scottish National Standardised Assessments
• Any other external communications regarding the independent review
Date range: 01/09/2018 – present

Response

Having considered all relevant information I have attached various pdf files with all available information included. 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 exemptions under sections 25(1) (information otherwise accessible), 27(1) (information intended for future publication), 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) and 38(1)(b) (personal information), applies to that information.The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exemption applies

Section 25(1) - Information otherwise accessible
An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested – Information otherwise accessible. As this information is already in the public domain, we are not required to provide it.

Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles set out in article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

These exemptions are 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 exemptions.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test

Section 27(1) – information intended for future publication
An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we intend to publish that information within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release the information before the planned publication date.

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 some public interest in release 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. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.

Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA 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 Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the 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 allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s policy position, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

Section 33(1)(b) – commercial interests
An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of ACER UK. Disclosing this information would be likely to give ACER UK’s competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice ACER UK’s ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always
able to obtain the best value for public money.

About FOI
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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