Publication - FOI/EIR release

Briefings prepared relating to housing: FOI release

Published: 26 Jul 2021

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

Published:
26 Jul 2021
Briefings prepared relating to housing: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100217494
Date received: 24 Jun 2021
Date responded: 22 Jul 2021
Information requested

1. Any ministerial briefing papers prepared in advance of meetings between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers during the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 Scottish Parliaments.

2. Any minutes, notes, and action plans from meetings between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers during the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 Scottish Parliaments.

3. Any correspondence between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers during the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 Scottish Parliaments.

Please provide the information in electronic form.

Response

Ahead of responding to each of the questions you have raised, I have set out details of Ministers with responsibilities for housing during the 2011-2021 parliamentary session (session five), and current parliamentary session.

2011-2016

  • Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital – Alex Neil (2011 - Sep 2012)
  • Minister for Housing and Transport – Keith Brown (2011 – Sep 2012)
  • Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Capital Investment and Cities – Nicola Sturgeon (2012-2014)
  • Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights – Alex Neil (Nov 2014 – 2016)
  • Minister for Housing and Welfare – Margaret Burgess MSP (Sep 2012 – 2016)

2016 – 2021

  • Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities – Angela Constance (2016 – 2018)
  • Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government – Aileen Campbell (June 2018-2021)
  • Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning* – Kevin Stewart (2016 – 2021)

*Planning added to the brief from 2018

Current session

  • Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government – Shona Robison (2021 – present)

I have enclosed a copy of most of the information requested.

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 an exemption(s) under section 30(b)(i) (free and frank advice), section 30 (b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation), and section(s) 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.

Exemptions under section 30 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 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 recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate but also a public interest in ensuring that the development of Government policy and the free exchange of views as part of that process are not inhibited.

Exemptions under s.30(b)(i) and (ii) of FOISA (the free and frank exchange of advice or views for the purposes of deliberation) apply to some the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

These exemptions recognise the need for officials to have a private space within which to have free and frank exchange of views before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on taxation policy would inhibit the free and frank exchange of advice and views and, as such, inhibit the formulation of Government policy.

Release of this information would be likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues. This in turn could inhibit the policy development process, leading to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future. This would not be in the public interest and would be detrimental to the development of effective policy interventions related to taxation.

We are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. 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.

You will also note that replies to letters to Mr Stewart dated 20.01.20 and 28.03.19 have not been included, as these letters were answered by officials and therefore we consider the replies to be outwith the scope of the request.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

About FOI
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.

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