Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) communications regarding national qualifications in 2021: FOI release
- Learning Directorate
- Part of
- Education, Public sector
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
Any internal Scottish Government communications (including emails, text or Whatsapp messages, phone calls or otherwise) concerning SQA national qualifications in 2021. I would like this information between 17 May 2021 and 29 May 2021.
Any communications (including emails, text or Whatsapp messages, phone calls or otherwise) between the Scottish Government and the SQA on the subject of SQA National Qualifications in 2021. I would like this information between 10 May 2021 and 21 May 2021.
I attach a copy of some of the information you requested.
Some of the information you have requested is available from the Education Scotland website National Review Of Local Authorities Role In ACM (education.gov.scot) Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 29(1)(b) (Ministerial communications), Sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information.
An exemption under section 29(1)(b) of FOISA (Ministerial communications) applies to some the information requested because it relates to communications between Scottish Ministers.
Exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final lines to take are used. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material in relation to SQA Qualifications will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future. In order to be able to develop processes effectively it is vital Ministers and officials can discuss and deliberate without inhibition.
These exemptions are 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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 Ministers and officials a private space within which issues can be explored and refined, until the Government as a whole can reach a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, eg names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption 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.
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.
- File type
- 180 page PDF
- File size
- 2.9 MB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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