Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) correspondence: FOI release

Published: 13 Jul 2020

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

Published:
13 Jul 2020
Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000043559
Date received: 5 Jun 2020
Date responded: 29 Jun 2020
Information requested

Any correspondence between Kevin Stewart and/or any special advisers who work alongside the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) between 1st March 2020 and 1st June 2020. This should include minutes, agendas or notes (including handwritten notes) of any meeting that took place, in addition to any briefings, emails, letters or encrypted messages that were exchanged between those outlined above

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. I can confirm a call took place between the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning and the Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords on 25 March 2020, as part of a series of calls with stakeholders. 

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 an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. This information includes third party names, emails and telephone numbers. 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.

An exemption under sections 30(b)(i)(ii) - free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views - applies to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and discussion. These exemptions recognise the need for officials and ministers to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with colleagues and stakeholders. Disclosing the content of these exchanges could inhibit future discussions with the Scottish Association for Landlords and cause such stakeholders to be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly 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 this exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding these exemptions. 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 to be provided with full and candid advice from officials to enable them to consider their decisions. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government website at
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-joint-letter-to-housing-sector-on-voidsprocessing/.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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