Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Government Resilience Room minutes from February and March 2020: FOI appeal

Published: 1 Apr 2021

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

Published:
1 Apr 2021
Scottish Government Resilience Room minutes from February and March 2020: FOI appeal
FOI reference: FOI/202000047153 - appeal
Date received: 13 Jan 2021
Date responded: 18 Jan 2021
Information requested

The minutes of the Scottish Government Resilience Room meetings held in February and March 2020. In addition I would like to have lists of all those who attended those meetings.

Response

Following your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner in relation to your request reference 202000036336 and review reference 20200047153 for:

The minutes of the Scottish Government Resilience Room meetings held in February and March 2020. In addition I would like to have lists of all those who attended those meetings.

I have reconsidered the information previously withheld in this case and taking account of the passage of time since you made your initial request, I have determined that, most of the information can now be disclosed. I have therefore attached a copy of this information to the email with this response.

I have concluded that a single paragraph within the minutes of the SGoRR meeting on 20 March 2020 (Document 15) remains exempt from disclosure because an exemption under section 36(1) (legal advice) applies to that paragraph. This exemption applies because it is legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

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 as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

Finally, I have determined that an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. the names of civil servants in grades below the senior civil service 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. These officials would have a higher expectation of privacy than their more senior counterparts. 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.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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