Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence relating to Former Finance Minister resignation: FOI Review

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

Published:
1 May 2020
Correspondence relating to Former Finance Minister resignation: FOI Review
FOI reference: FOI/202000020636 Review
Date received: 13 Mar 2020
Date responded: 14 Apr 2020
Information requested

"Please provide all correspondence between Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Government special advisers, her Chief of Staff and private office in relation to allegations about the conduct Derek Mackay and subsequently his resignation from government between noon on 5 February and 12 February 2020.
The response acknowledges that there is a public interest in releasing the information but there is greater public interest in avoiding significant risks to ministers. I would request that this information is provided in a form that redacts any personal information, such as addresses, in order to avoid risks to the safety of ministers."

Response

I have now completed my review of our response to the first part of your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for:
1. Please provide all correspondence between Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Government special advisers, her Chief of Staff and private office in relation to allegations about the conduct Derek Mackay and subsequently his resignation from government between noon on 5 February and 12 February 2020.
I have reviewed the FOI response and the handling of the case, and I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.
Having re-examined all of the information previously withheld, I am satisfied that we were entitled to apply an exemption under section 38(1)(b) to most of the information redacted from Annex A attached to the original response. However I have determined that we were not entitled to apply this exemption to the email address of a Special Adviser– it is an email address in the public domain and should not have been redacted as personal information. I have unredacted this email address, and that is now shown in the attached updated Annex A.

I have also determined that an exemption under section 39(1) would not apply in this case and apologise for the oversight in noting this exemption in our initial response. I can confirm that all of the information which remains redacted is personal information detailing the names and contact details of individuals and therefore is exempt from release under section
38(1)(b).

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
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Edinburgh
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