Communications regarding Freedom of Information request: FOI release

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

Information requested

Any correspondence (emails, letters, phone calls, handwritten notes or any other documents) regarding an FOI request that  sent on the 5th of May 2021 (reference number 202100199466).

I would ask for correspondence between the lead official and/or Scottish Government ministers and/or the SG FOI Unit and/or special advisers regarding the response to that FOI request. Information should include: a detailed timeline (with dates) of when the lead official contacted ministers/special advisers (and vice versa); any notes or comments or suggestions offered by ministers or special advisers to the lead official; any input from the SG FOI Unit; any advice or comments from ministers/SPADs rejected by the lead official; any advice or comments from ministers/SPADs accepted by the lead official; any correspondence (as defined previously) on the use of exemptions; any correspondence (as defined previously) on material to be redacted; any information on delays to the FOI response; any information on who received the FOI to clear, when they responded and what they said; and any information on delays to the FOI response.


Attached is a copy of most of the information request 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 exemptions under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) and s.30 (b)(ii) of FOISA apply to that information.

The reasons why that exemptions under s.30 (b)(ii) apply are that sharing this information would inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to seek advice and views before reaching the settled public position which will be given in whatever final response is provided. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future.

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 a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI202100217275 - Annex A


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top