Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence with Miscarriages Of Justice Organisation (MOJO) Scotland: FOI release

Published: 19 Jul 2019

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

Published:
19 Jul 2019
Correspondence with Miscarriages Of Justice Organisation (MOJO) Scotland: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900002428
Date received: 26 Jun 2019
Date responded: 19 Jul 2019
Information requested

In your e-mail of 26 June you asked for:
What was the information you had requested from MOJO Scotland with a deadline of 21 June and have you received it?
In your e-mail of 3 July you asked for:
Have you received the information from Mojo that you gave them to the 21st June, if so what was their response?

Response

We are treating both e-mails as FoI requests as you asked for specific information held by the Scottish Government with regards to correspondence with MOJO Scotland. We will also respond to the other questions raised in both e-mails in this response.

Response to your request of 26 June
I enclose a copy of the Scottish Government’s letter of 13 June to MOJO Scotland which had a deadline of 21 June. I can confirm we received a response to this letter from MOJO Scotland on 20 June.

Response to your request of 3 July
As mentioned above, I can confirm we received a response from MOJO Scotland to the Scottish Government’s letter of 13 June. I enclose a copy of MOJO Scotland’s response to the Scottish Government’s letter of 13 June.

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 documents, ‘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.

Other questions asked
In your e-mail of 26 June you asked,

1.What is the justice department position at this time?

As previously stated, we have not yet completed our deliberations into the issues raised with us. As such, we have not reached a final decision.

In your e-mail of 3 July you asked the following;

1.Can you advise what the government’s position is in relation to Mojo funding?

2.Can you advise you are satisfied with the present position in relation to Mojo governance?

3.Can we the management committee request a meeting with you?

As previously stated, we have not yet completed our deliberations into the issues raised with us. As such, we have not reached a final decision in relation to MOJO Scotland’s funding or governance.
We will be meeting with appropriate representatives of MOJO Scotland to discuss the issues raised with us in due course.

 

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