Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence regarding gender representation on Public Boards from 2017 onwards: FOI release

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

Published:
2 Aug 2021
Correspondence regarding gender representation on Public Boards from 2017 onwards: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100218160
Date received: 26 Jun 2021
Date responded: 29 Jul 2021
Information requested

A copy of all communications with Stonewall or Equality Network/Scottish Trans Alliance from 2017 to the present date that reference the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (or the Bill as it passed through Parliament)" and "dates of any meetings (face-to-face, video or telephone conferencing) with these organisations in the same time period that reference the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (or the Bill as it passed through Parliament), the attendees of the meetings (and organisational role) and any minutes or notes on the discussions.

Response

Attached is a copy of some of the information requested.

  • Email from the Scottish Government Equality Unit to Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 23 December 2020
  • Email exchange between the Scottish Government Equality Unit and Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 4 – 9 September 2020
  • Email from Stonewall Scotland to the Scottish Government Equality Unit, 16 March 2017 at 16:55
  • Copy of Stonewall Scotland response to the Scottish Government Consultation on the draft Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill
  • Copy of Equality Network response to the Scottish Government Consultation on Implementation of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, submitted on 2 August 2019 at 10:50
  • Copy of Stonewall Scotland response to the Scottish Government Consultation on Implementation of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, submitted on 2 August 2019
  • Copy of Stonewall Scotland response to the Scottish Government Consultation on Review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, submitted on 28 February 2018 at 18:15
  • Extract of Equality Network application form to the Scottish Government Promoting Equality and Cohesion Fund (PECF) 1 July 2017 – 31 March 2020 (Intermediary Funding)
  • Extract of Equality Network application form to PECF 1 July 2017 – 31 March 2020 (for Scottish Trans Alliance Project)

The Equality Network's response to the Scottish Government Consultation on a Draft Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill is available online - Response 898764166 to A Scottish Government Consultation on the Draft Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill - Scottish Government - Citizen Space.

In addition, I have identified two references to the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 in routine progress reports submitted to the Scottish Government by the Equality Network/Scottish Trans Alliance, as below. These are the only references to the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (or the Bill as it passed through Parliament) contained in these reports.

In its 'Six Monthly Progress Report July - December 2019', the Equality Network included the following information at page 2, "A submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on implementation of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act", when asked to provide information about what it had done to progress its project outcomes.

In its 'Six Monthly Progress Report July - December 2019', the Scottish Trans Alliance included the following information at page 2, "Responded to the consultation on the implementation of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018", when asked to provide information about what it had done to progress its project outcomes.

I have identified two calendar entries for meetings between Scottish Government officials and the Equality Network/Scottish Trans Alliance on the 27 February 2017 and the 11 December 2017. I have not identified any minutes or notes relating to these meetings.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested because National Records of Scotland has this information.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

However, you may wish to contact National Records of Scotland at foi@nrscotland.gov.uk who may be able to help you.

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 sections s.36(1) (Confidentiality of communications) and s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex.

ANNEX
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test

An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality of communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is communications in contemplation of, or in connection with litigation and so litigation privilege applies.

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 we are committed to open and transparent government and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications so that Ministers and officials are able to correspond about contemplated or ongoing litigation in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

An exemption applies
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. the names and contact details of civil servants in grades below the Senior Civil Service, 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.


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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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