Publication - FOI/EIR release

Communication relating to funding for outdoor education centres: FOI release

Published: 18 Mar 2021

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

Published:
18 Mar 2021
Communication relating to funding for outdoor education centres: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000113897
Date received: 19 Nov 2020
Date responded: 18 Dec 2020
Information requested

Any communications (including letters, emails, text or Whatsapp messages or phone calls) between civil servants and Ministers on the subject of funding for outdoor education centres. I would like this information from 20 August 2020 to 23 October 2020.

Response

Attached is a copy of most of the information you requested. 

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(s) under section 38 (1) (b), section 33 (1) (b) or Section 29 of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter. In some further instances (which are marked in the release) certain items of information have been redacted as it is out of scope for this release and not relating to the subject matter of the request.

Annex
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

An exemption applies
An exemption(s) under section 38(1) (b) of FOISA applies to some the information you have requested. This is because the information - email addresses and names of junior civil servants – is personal data.

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.

Exemptions that apply, subject to the public interest test
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption is applied at document 8 in the release. It applies because the relevant information relates to the formulation of Scottish administration policy.

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 there is an interest in knowing the broader context to considering the appropriate funding levels for outdoor education centres. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that policy – in this case, in relation to end year budget positions - can continue to be developed. The relevant policy decisions remain “live” and continue to be reviewed, improved or amended.

An exemption under section 33 (1) (b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption is applied at documents 1, 3, and 19 in the release. It applies because its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person. “Person” includes a public authority, company and partnership.

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 there is an interest in knowing the broader context to considering the appropriate funding levels for outdoor education centres. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the future of individual organisations – for whom their financial position continues to change – is not prejudiced by identifying the specific financial information relating to those individual organisations as part of this 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
EH1 3DG