Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence concerning the review into the 2020 SQA awards process: FOI release

Published: 5 Nov 2020

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

Published:
5 Nov 2020
Correspondence concerning the review into the 2020 SQA awards process: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000090265
Date received: 23 Sep 2020
Date responded: 22 Oct 2020
Information requested

Any internal Scottish Government communications (including letters, emails, text messages, typed or hand written notes, phone calls) on the subject of the review into the 2020 SQA Awards process that is to be led by Mark Priestley. I would like this information from 09 August 2020 to 23 September 2020.

Response

I attach a copy of the information you requested.

Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government website (https://www.gov.scot/publications/?publicationTypes=foi-eirrelease&page=1) and the SQA website (www.sqa.org.uk). More specific addresses are provided in the context of the enclosed information. 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.

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 sections 29(1)(b) (Ministerial communications) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. An exemption under section 29(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to communications between Scottish Ministers.

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 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 a private space within which policy positions can be explored and refined, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy that is sounds likely to be effective. This private thinking
space also allows for all options to be properly considered so, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is unlikely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process.

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 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