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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Social Work representative contributions to the Bar Reporters Working Group: FOI release

Published: 7 Sep 2020

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

Published:
7 Sep 2020
Social Work representative contributions to the Bar Reporters Working Group: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000062992
Date received: 16 Jul 2020
Date responded: 13 Aug 2020
Information requested

“1. All recorded information you hold in relation to any person from or representing or involved in the regulation of: the Social Worker profession and/or the profession of Psychologist and/or the profession of Psychiatrist, being invited to join or otherwise contribute to the Bar Reporters Working Group. (It may assist you to note the content of Appendix A here: https://www2.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00435549.pdf).

2. All recorded information you hold in relation to any person from or representing or involved in the regulation of: the Social Worker profession and/or the profession of Psychologist and/or the profession of Psychiatrist, being invited to contribute to or otherwise inform the development of any and all plans in relation to this role since January 2013 which fall outside the scope of part 1 above.

Please note: your response to parts 1 & 2 above need not include recorded information relating specifically to the Association of Directors of Social Work (subsequently known as Social Work Scotland) and/or the Chief Social Work Adviser (which are covered by separate requests).”

Response

Part 1
On part 1 of your request, some of the information you have requested is available from material on the Scottish Government website about the Bar Reporters Working Group at https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/law/17867/reporters   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.

We are not aware of any person from or representing or involved in the regulation of: the Social Worker profession and/or the profession of Psychologist and/or the profession of Psychiatrist, being invited to join or otherwise contribute to the Bar Reporters Working Group with the exception of the Association of Directors of Social Work, which is the subject of a separate request under FOISA from you.

However, while the working group was meeting, the Scottish Government did receive correspondence from a retired child psychologist. Copies of that correspondence are attached to this letter

Part 2
On part 2 of your request, some of the information you have requested is available from published material already available on websites.

In 2018, the Scottish Government consulted on a review of Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the creation of a family justice modernisation strategy.  This consultation included proposals on child welfare reporters (please see paragraphs 2.54 to 2.75).   The consultation and the responses the Scottish Government has permission to publish are at:  https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/children-scotland-act/   The analysis of the responses is at https://www.gov.scot/publications/analysis-consultation-responses-consultation-review-children-scotland-act-1995/

In 2019, the Scottish Government introduced the Children (Scotland) Bill into the Scottish Parliament. This Bill includes proposals for establishing a register of Child Welfare Reporters. Information on the Parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill is available from the Parliament’s website at https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/112969.aspx.

The Scottish Government has in its records a copy of this briefing prepared for Stage 2 of the Bill: https://www.basw.co.uk/media/news/2020/jun/sasw-briefing-justice-committee-stage-2-children-scotland-bill.

If the Bill is enacted by Parliament, the Scottish Government has made it clear that it intends to carry out a further public consultation on the details of the regulation proposed for Child Welfare Reporters.

Following the consultation carried out by the Scottish Government and during the scrutiny of the current Bill by Parliament, the Scottish Government has had correspondence with bodies involved in social work (bodies other than Social Work Scotland) and with individuals involved or formerly involved in child psychology. I attach the following documents:

  • Document 1 Email exchange between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Association of Social Work from between 20.01.2011 and 24.01.2011 on research on Bar Reporters.
  • Document 2: Email exchanges between the Scottish Government and a retired child psychiatrist from August 2019.
  • Document 3: Email to the Scottish Government from a retired child psychiatrist dated 30 August 2019.
  • Document 4: Email exchange between the Scottish Government and a retired child psychiatrist from 5 February 2020.
  • Document 5: Email exchange between the Scottish Government and a retired child psychiatrist from 15 February 2020
  • Document 6: Paper by a child psychologist sent to Scottish Government 16 February 2020
  • Document 7: Email between the Scottish Government and a child psychologist. 24 February 2020.
  • Document 8: Emails between Scottish Government and a retired child psychiatrist March 2020.
  • Document 9: list of quotes during the Justice Committee evidence on Children (Scotland) Bill provided by a retired child psychiatrist March 2020.

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 exemptions under sections 30(b) [free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views]; 30(c) [the effective conduct of public affairs]; 36(2) [actionable breach of confidence] and section 38(1)(b) [the personal data of a third party] of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
 

ANNEX
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

Section 30(b)
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.This exemption relates to the free and frank provision of advice.
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 because of the need to be transparent when making Government policy.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in Ministers being able to receive free and frank advice while a Bill is being considered by Parliament.

Section 30(c)
An exemption under section 30(c) of the FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption relates to the effective conduct of public affairs.
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 because of the need to be transparent when making Government policy.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in Ministers being able to receive free and frank advice while a Bill is being considered by Parliament.

Section 36(2)
An exemption under section 38(6)(2) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption relates to an actionable breach of confidence.
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.

Section 38(1)(b)
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption relates to the personal detail of a third party.
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.

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
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