Correspondence regarding 2018 Independent Inquiry into NHST Mental Health services: FOI review

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

Information requested

1. In correspondence 202100/158515, you asked for copies of all correspondence between NHS Tayside, NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government on the matters pertaining to the commissioning of the 2018 Independent Inquiry into NHST Mental Health services.

2. In correspondence 202100/168460, you asked “Why did the Scottish Government allow a non ‘impartial & independent’ body, Dundee University, to run this ‘independent’ investigation? And why is the head appointee by Dundee University not a qualified mental health professional?. With Scottish Government approval?


Having reviewed your request and the initial response provided, I have concluded that the original decision to redact names from the enclosed documents provided to you should be confirmed, with modifications. This is because whilst the right principle has been applied, it should not have been applied to all the names in the copies of the documents enclosed in our initial response.

I apologise it was not made clear in our initial response to you that the exemption applied was under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA, and specifically the first condition – namely, that personal data is exempt from disclosure if disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the UK GDPR and in section 34(1) of the DPA 2018. Article 5(1)(a) states that personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject. The Scottish Government policy is not to disclose the personal details of officials outwith the Senior Civil Service, unless exceptional circumstances apply. We apply the same principle to the names of people from third parties, withholding the names of junior staff.

Therefore, we are only able to release the names of senior officials involved in the communications. This way, the new redactions applied do not allow for the disclosure of the personal details of officials outwith the Senior Civil Service or its equivalent officials from the third parties, but still allows for identification of originating bodies and understanding of the context.

As per your request, the names of senior officials involved in the communications are as follows:

Leslie McLay – The former NHS Tayside Chief Executive,
Alan Gray – Finance Director of NHS Grampian,
Frances Gibson – Head of Financial Services,
Jane Duncan – Head of Corporate Communications

This exemption is absolute, and as such 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.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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