Publication - FOI/EIR release

Provision of laptops or tablets for school children: FOI review

Published: 17 Jun 2021

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

Published:
17 Jun 2021
Provision of laptops or tablets for school children: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/202100202932 review of 202100187590
Date received: 17 May 2021
Date responded: 15 Jun 2021
Information requested

Any internal Scottish Government communications (including letters, emails, texts or WhatsApp messages) on the subject of the introduction of the provision of laptops or tablets for school children. You would like this information from 20 January 2021 to 20 March 2021.

Response

I have been asked to look at your request afresh, to decide whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications, as appropriate, or that a fresh decision should be substituted. I can confirm that I was not involved in the handling or decision-making around the original response.

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.

Having given further consideration to the withheld information, I have determined we were not entitled to apply an exemption under section 29(1)(a) (policy formulation) to some of the information previously withheld in a submission to the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills on 12 February 2021. I have therefore enclosed a copy of this submission in redacted form in the Annex.

However, I agree with the initial case handler that much of the information from this submission and the whole of a further submission to Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills on 4 March 2021 remains exempt from disclosure under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA for the reasons set out in our response to you of 28 April 2021 as it relates to the early development of Scottish government policy.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. I have therefore gone on to reconsider the public interest considerations. I agree that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. I recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, I am satisfied that there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the introduction of the provision of laptops or tablets for school children will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.

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FOI202100202932 - Annex

5 page PDF
210.5 kB

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