Briefings from Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA): FOI release

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

Information requested

All briefings received from the SQA by the Cabinet Secretary for Education or any other Scottish Minister.
On 13 August 2020, you further clarified:
I’m happy for you to narrow your search to correspondence and briefings between Scottish Government ministers and the SQA between 1 April 2020 and 5 August 2020. 


I enclose a copy of the information you requested.

Some of the information you have requested is available from the SQA website ( 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 listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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 section 30(c) (substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) and section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information. 

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to conduct secure meetings by teleconference because we would not be able to reuse links, IDs and passcodes, or use similar ones, with confidence if that information were published. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of the 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 a public interest in release in disclosing information as part of open, transparent andaccountable government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in maintainingsecure lines of remote communication to ensure that the Scottish Government is able to conduct its business effectively.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of 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.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FoI-202000074358 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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