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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence regarding Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill: FOI release

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

Published:
22 Mar 2021
Correspondence regarding Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000109684
Date received: 10 Nov 2020
Date responded: 14 Dec 2020
Information requested

"Regarding the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill may you provide me with: Any correspondence or discussions the Scottish Government has had with UK ministers regarding this."

Response

I attach a copy of some of the information you requested.

An exemption under section 28 of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 28 exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between administrations in the UK. In this case, some of the information requested, if released, would likely prejudice substantially relations between the Scottish and UK Governments while discussions are on-going. It is important the both Governments are able to continue to engage constructively on this matter and the release of some of the information requested could erode trust and confidence between Administrations on what is a sensitive and highly contentious matter.

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 for transparency and greater understanding. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in the harm that would be caused to the relationships between administrations in the UK by release.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 29(1)(a) exempts information if it relates to the formulation or development of government policy. In this case some of the information requested relates to identification of associated risks and options relating to the formulation of policy and to the recommendations and submissions presented to Ministers for their consideration.

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 for transparency and greater understanding. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that Ministers have confidence in the policy development and formulation process which could be compromised by release.

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
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