Any briefings prepared for the First Minister ahead of First Minister’s Questions which took place on 10 December 2020 – specifically any briefings relating to the matter of the Salmond Inquiry.
In response to your request, I enclose most of the information you have requested in Annex A. 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 under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA - free and frank provision of advice - applies to some of the information you have requested. 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 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 officials a private space within which to provide Ministers with the free and frank provision of advice. Disclosure is likely to undermine the quality of this process, which would not be in the public interest.
Some of the information you have requested is also exempt under Section 25 of the Act, which exempts information from disclosure where the information is otherwise accessible. I would refer you to the enclosed links to Committee correspondence, Official Reports and Parliamentary Questions in Annex A where this information is otherwise accessible.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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