- 2 Jul 2020
Date received: 22 May 2020
Date responded: 22 Jun 2020
The agency agreements with the DWP for disability benefits (PIP, DLA, AA)
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all the information you have requested because exemptions under Section 38(1) (b) (personal information) and under Section 29 (1) (a) (policy formulation) apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
Exemption under Section 38(1) (b)
An exemption under section 38(1) (b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of some individuals and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.
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.
Exemption under Section 29 (1) (a)
An exemption under section 29(1) (a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the further development of the Scottish Government’s policy on disability benefits to reflect the significantly changed operational circumstances for the Scottish Government and the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.
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 recognize 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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and fully understand their possible implications. It would not be in the public interest to release information on policy in development as it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion, and it could also mislead or confuse the public to refer to policy positions which are subsequently rejected and not implemented.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House