Correspondence on the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Review: FOI release

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

Information requested

Any internal Scottish Government communications (including emails, typed or hand-written notes, text messages otherwise) on the subject of the SFC Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability. I would like this information from 20 September 2020 to 20 November 2020.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in the attached Annex A.

An exemption under sections 38(1)(b), 29(1)(a) and 29(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. The exemption under sections 38(1)(b) (personal information) applies because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names, contact details, and other identifiable information, 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. 

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) applies because it relates to formulation or development of Scottish Government policy and 29(1)(b) of FOISA (Ministerial communications) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to communications between Scottish Ministers.

These exemptions are 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 a 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 reach adopt a policy that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers, which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy making process.

Where reasonably practicable I have provided the correspondence in its original format, however for some documents the text has been extracted from its original format to assist with the redaction of information. There is no alteration to the content of the original text, except those redactions.

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 - 202000115504 - Information release - Annex A


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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