Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National Qualifications: FOI release

Published: 22 Jan 2021

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

22 Jan 2021
Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National Qualifications: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000107143
Date received: 3 Nov 2020
Date responded: 1 Dec 2020
Information requested

Any communications (including letters, emails and phone calls) between the Scottish Government and the SQA on the subject of the 2021 SQA National Qualifications. I would like this information from 02 October 2020 to 02 November 2020.


I attach a copy of the information you requested.

While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 25(1) (publicly available information), 29(1)(a) (policy development), or 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of that information. 

Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government ( and Scottish Qualification Authority ( websites. More specific links are given in the enclosures provided. 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 websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 29(1)(a) applies to information which is exempt as it relates to ongoing policy development.
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 for open and transparent government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing a space for development of policy relating to the delivery of the 2021 SQA exam diet. While the information has contributed to the development of an overarching policy position, announced by the Deputy First Minister on 7 October 2020, it also relates to the ongoing development of how that policy will be brought into effect and therefore it is in the public interest for this to be withheld in order to allow space for that development.

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.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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