Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Planning Policy and Housing: Technical Consultation on Proposed Policy Amendments: EIR release

Published: 15 Jan 2021

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
15 Jan 2021
Scottish Planning Policy and Housing: Technical Consultation on Proposed Policy Amendments: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000127647
Date received: 11 Dec 2020
Date responded: 14 Jan 2021
Information requested

Copies of all internal correspondence related to the formulation of the changes proposed by the Consultation in order that there is transparency as to Scottish Government’s thinking on the changes.

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information that you requested. This includes:

1 Response from Minister seeking discussion 3 June 202
2 Paper for meeting on 18 June to discuss post-Gladman
3 Circulating paper for comment from policy officials 22 June 2020
4 Email seeking view from DPEA (from Chief Planner) 23 June 2020
5 Submission circulated for clearance 25 June 2020
6 Chief Planner comments 25 June 2020
7 Ministerial submission - June 2020
8a Advice to Ministers on outcome of Gladman 25 June 2020
8b Advice to Ministers on outcome of Gladman 25 June 2020
8c Advice to Ministers on outcome of Gladman 25 June 2020
9 Minister agreeing to consult 14 July 2020
10 Submission with impact assessments and letter to LGCC
 
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 exceptions under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications) relating to legal advice, policy and decision making and 11(2) (personal data) of the EIRs applies to that information.

The reasons why 10(4)(e) is applied in terms of legal advice that disclosure would breach legal professional privilege and would also undermine the Government’s capacity to rigorously debate and explore options before making decisions . It is clearly in the public interest that decisions are taken by the Government in a fully informed policy and legal context.

Ministers and officials therefore need high quality, comprehensive advice for the effective conduct of their business. That advice needs to be given in context, and with a full appreciation of relevant facts. Without such advice, which can only be provided frankly and comprehensively, the quality of the Government’s decision-making would be much reduced since it would not be fully informed.

This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. 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, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation. Similarly, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision making fully informed after rigorous debate.

Regulation 11(2) has been applied to personal information relating to identifiable individuals.

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