You asked for:
- Copies of correspondence between the UK and Scottish Governments regarding the following press release: https://www.gov.scot/news/bifab-working-group/, as well as the joint statement and working group to which it refers. Please limit to the time period 10 November 2020 to present.
- Which minister or official in the UK Government approved the joint statement referred to in the above press release, and whether this extended to approving the Scottish Government press release also.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section 28 of FOISA applies to that information in relation to the first bullet. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained in the Annex.
In answer to your second bullet both Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work & Culture and The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster agreed the wording of the joint statement prior to publication on 24th November 2020. The full press release was issued by the Scottish Government alone.
ANNEX A – EXEMPTIONS APPLIED
Guidance on the use of FOISA section 28
Section 28 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between administrations in the UK (e.g. between Westminster and Holyrood).
The exemption in section 28(1) is subject to the public interest test. This means that, even if the exemption applies, the information must be disclosed unless the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.
The exemption does not last forever. In general, it cannot be applied to information that is more than 15 years old.
This is one of the exemptions where a public authority can refuse to confirm or deny whether it holds the information, provided the authority is satisfied that revealing whether the information exists or is held would be contrary to the public interest (section 18 of FOISA).
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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