- 17 May 2021
Date received: 20 Mar 2021
Date responded: 9 Apr 2021
Regarding the levels of take-up with new Scottish benefits. I would appreciate if you could make available any data that you hold in electronic format.
Some of the information you have requested is available from Chapter 4 of the Social Security: benefit take-up strategy, which can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/social-security-scotlandact-2019-benefit-take-up-strategy-october-2019/pages/6/. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. We have however provided a spreadsheet with additional tables that show how the estimated take-up rates were derived from the underlying data.
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some the information you have requested. The information is exempt as it relates to the formulation or development of government policy. Data regarding the levels of take-up of new Scottish benefits is used directly in the development of the second take-up strategy which will be published by October 2021. Sections 8 and 9 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 require Scottish Ministers to prepare, publish and lay before Parliament a strategy to promote take-up of the devolved Scottish benefits. This sets out Scottish Ministers’ best estimates of take-up of the devolved Scottish benefits, as well as initiatives that will be taken to promote take-up. The strategy is currently in development so Ministers are yet to make a decision on this work.
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 some public interest in release because of the importance of transparency in communicating take-up rates. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in presenting the levels of take-up once the take-up strategy has been developed fully and recommendations and submissions are presented to Scottish Ministers.
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