Information

Information pertaining to Scottish Child Payment: FOI release

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


Information requested

Copies of all correspondence between the Scottish Government, its officials, and its agencies and the UK Government and its agencies which relate to delivering the 6-16-year old data required by the Scottish Government to roll out the Scottish Child Payment since September 2020

Details, and a copy of the note of, all the times the Scottish Government or its agencies met with representatives of the UK Government to discuss delivering the 6-16-year old data required by the Scottish Government to roll out the Scottish Child Payment since September 2020.

Response

Following appropriate searches, we have identified a significant number of emails (and/or email chains) and documents that fall within the scope of your request. For ease of reference, I have attached a full list of items of correspondence regarding the first part of your request as Annex A. Given the extent of material, we will shared the information in the form of PDF documents within six zip files. Each document within the zip file is numbered as per Annex A. Where information has been redacted this is stated in the document and the grounds on which the information is being withheld is also given. (NB: As part of the preparation for disclosure, all emails were pasted into Word documents and automated disclaimers on emails have been omitted.)

In Annex B, I have listed of all relevant meetings. I have indicated where searches have identified records relating to each of the meetings. Where records were kept of those meetings I have included copies of those records. Again, where appropriate, the copies of those records will have information redacted.

Wherever redactions have been made the relevant exemptions under Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002 (FOISA) have been stated.

I have set out below the grounds for exempting any information which has been redacted from our response, including any relevant Public Interest Test assessments. In addition to the items listed in Annex A and B there was one other document located that is relevant to your request i.e. the minutes from the Joint Ministerial Group on Welfare meeting held on 16 December 2020.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is  already reasonably accessible to you. In this case details of the meeting and the record discussions can be found on the gov.scot website: Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare minutes: December 2020 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). 

ANNEX A
 

Document Ref

Description

1

Email chain - 12 March 2021 – DWP to SG

2

Spreadsheet of SCP requirements – 3 March 2021

3

Minutes of meeting – 24 March 2021

4

Minutes of meeting – 8 April 2021

5

Email – 8 April 2021 (re document 4) – SG to DWP

6

Email – 20 May 2021 – SG (update on joint DWP meeting)

7

Minutes of meeting – 27 May 2021

8

Update from DWP Joint Planning meeting – 27 May 2021

9

NOT INCLUDED – identified as duplicate of document 8

10

Email – 15 June 2021 – DWP to SG

11

Email – 6 May 2021 – DWP to SG

12

Email – 20 April 2021 – DWP to SG

13

Email – 5 March 2021 – DWP to SG

14

Data Item Comparison

15

Email – 23 November 2020 – DWP to SG

16

Spreadsheet of Feasibility Impact – 29 October 2020

17

Blank Quality Review template re document 16

18

Email 30 October 2020 – DWP to SG – documents 16 and 17
were attachments to this

19

Email – 4 December 2020 – SG to DWP

20

Email – 15 September 2020 – DWP to SG

21

Email – 7 December 2020 – DWP to SG

22

Email – 16 November 2020 – DWP to SG. (Attachment redacted in full.)

23

Joint

24

Paper: SCP Data Sharing Update – 19 February 2021 – DWP to SG

25

Data Sharing Request – 24 September 2020 – SG to DWP

26

DWP SCP Phase 2 (Minimum Data set)

27

Email – 15 April 2021 – SG to HMRC

28

Minutes of meeting - 14 April 2021 (contains four attachments
listed below as documents 29 to 32)

29

Data request from SG – 22 January 2021

30

Change Request from HMRC – 23 March 2021

31

Data request from SG – 22 January 2021

32

Change request from HMRC – 23 March 2021

33

Email – 27 April 2021 – SG to DWP

34

Minutes from meeting – 12 May 2021

35

Minutes from meeting 26 May 2021 (contains attachment listed as below as document 36)

36

Scottish Government Scottish Child Payment Phase 2 Solution
Overview – 25 May 2021

37

Minutes from meeting 16 June 2021

38

Email – 14 July 2021 – SG to HMRC

39

Email – 13 July 2021 – HMRC to SG

40

Scottish Government Scottish Child Payment Phase 2 Solution Overview – 8 July 2021

41

Email – 21 June 2021 – HMRC to SG

42

Data request – 24 September 2020 – SG to HMRC

43

Email – 17 June 2021 – HMRC to SG

44

SCP Phase 2 Impact Assessment – 27 May 2021

45

Scottish Government Scottish Child Payment Phase 2 Solution
Overview – 27 May 2021

46

Email – 27 October 2020 – SG to HMRC (contained attachment
listed above as document 42)

47

Data request – 14 September – SG to HMRC

48

Email – 24 September 2020 – SG to HMRC (contained
attachment listed above as document 42)

49

Email – 3 November 2020 – HMRC to SG

50

Outcome Notes – JSDG 10

51

NOT INCLUDED – NO INFORMATION RELEVANT TO REQUEST

52

Outcome Notes – JSDG 12

53

Outcome Notes – JSDG 13

54

Outcome Notes – JSDG 14

55

Outcome Notes – JSDG 15

56

Outcome Notes – JSDG 16

57

Outcome Notes – JSDG 17

58

Outcome Notes – JSDG 18

59

Outcome Notes – JSDG 19

60

Outcome Notes – JSDG 20

61

Outcome Notes – JSDG 21

62

Outcome Notes – JSDG 22

ANNEX B

Date(s) of meeting

Meeting with

Document of outcome

located in this FOI

search ?

10 September 2020 to

date

Fortnightly checkpoint

with DWP

No

7 December 2020 to

March 2021

Weekly telephone calls with DWP

No

2 March 2021

Meeting with DWP

No

11 March 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 1 listed in

Annexe A, email: 11 March 2021 21:14

24 March 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 3 listed in

Annexe A

8 April 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 4 listed in Annexe A

8 April 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 5 listed in

Annexe A

26 April 2021

Meeting with DWP

No

4 May 2021

Meeting with DWP

No

19 May 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 6 listed in Annexe A

27 May 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 7 listed in

Annexe A

15 June 2021

Meeting with DWP

See document 8 listed in

Annexe A

29 June 2021

Meeting with DWP

No

20 September 2020 to 23

March 2021

Weekly progress meeting

with HMRC

No

13 January 2021

Workshop with HMRC

No

14 April 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 28 listed in

Annexe A

26 April 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 33 listed in

Annexe A

12 May 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 34 listed in Annexe A

26 May 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 35 listed in

Annexe A

16 June 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 37 listed in Annexe A

14 July 2021

Meeting with HMRC

See document 38 listed in

Annexe A

20 July 2021

Meeting with HMRC

No

2 September 2020

Joint Steering Design Group (JSDG) 10

See document 50 listed in Annexe A

14 October 2020

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 12

See document 52 listed in

Annexe A

9 November 2020

Joint Steering Design Group (JSDG) 13

See document 53 listed in Annexe A

27 November 2020

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 14

See document 54 listed in

Annexe A

15 December 2020

Joint Steering Design Group (JSDG) 15

See document 55 listed in Annexe A

12 January 2021

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 16

See document 56 listed in

Annexe A

2 February 2021

Joint Steering Design Group (JSDG) 17

See document 57 listed in Annexe A

23 February 2021

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 18

See document 58 listed in

Annexe A

16 March 2021

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 19

See document 59 listed in

Annexe A

15 April 2021

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 20

See document 60 listed in

Annexe A

5 May 2021

Joint Steering Design Group (JSDG) 21

See document 61 listed in Annexe A

23 June 2021

Joint Steering Design

Group (JSDG) 22

See document 62 listed in

Annexe A


Exemptions to information listed in Annex A and B

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested.

As detailed in each document redactions have been made because the following exemptions apply to it:

  • section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation of Scottish Administration Policy etc)
  • section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the United Kingdom)
  • section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information)

I have set out below the rationale for the application of the exemptions.

Section 29(1)(a) (Formulation of Scottish Administration Policy)
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section 29(1)(a) Formulation or development of Scottish Government policy applies to that information.

The Scottish Information Commissioner has interpreted “formulation or development of policy” as the consideration or development of options and priorities for Scottish Ministers, who will subsequently determine which of these should be translated into political action and/or legislation and when.

The Scottish Government was able to develop and deliver the Scottish Child Payment for children under 6 years old because data for that cohort of children was already held by DWP for the purpose of administering Best Start grants and payments. As data for children over six years old is not included in the existing data feeds there is ongoing further exploration of options as to what data is available, how, when and by whom it could be provided.

Officials in Scottish Government and the UK Government are currently working together to try to work through issues on data sharing. These will then inform further policy decisions, including decisions on the timing of legislation, costs and operational implementation. Until the full detail has been worked through by officials in its entirety it will not be possible for Ministers to make a final policy decision. It is therefore quite clear that discussions between the two parties continue, even at this stage, to be directly concerned with “formulation and development of policy”.

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 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 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 develop and 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 Scottish Child Payment delivery 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.  

Section 28(1) of FOISA (Relations within the United Kingdom)
An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (Relations within the United Kingdom) applies to some of information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, harm the working relationship between the Scottish Government and the UK Government departments.

The creation of the Scottish social security system requires the phased devolution of elements from the DWP and development of replacement benefits in Scotland, as well as new benefits specific to Scotland, such as the Scottish Child Payment. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is therefore a key delivery partner for the Scottish Social Security Programme, including as a data provider for Scottish Child Payment. In addition, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), also holds data relevant to the development of Scottish Child Payment and is also a key delivery partner.

It is accepted by the Scottish and UK Government that there are political differences concerning social security provision. However, both parties maintain a constructive relationship at ministerial and official level. It would harm the co-operation between departments of the UK government and Scottish Government to disclose information regarding Scottish Government Social Security Directorate officials’ views on, for example, the proposals of DWP or HMRC to meet (or not) the data requirements as set out by the Scottish Government for Scottish Child Payment. This would include the disclosure of information which, implicitly or explicitly, indicates the view of officials on the timescales or pace of progress of the work on data sharing of its key partners.

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 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 maintaining good relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government to ensure continued co-operative working until such time as the Scottish social security system is delivered and interacts correctly with the UK social security system. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt co-operative working. 

Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information)
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. the names and individual telephone and email contact details of officials within the Scottish Government or UK government departments, 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 exception to this is that the names of permanent members of the Senior Civil Service in the Scottish Government have been disclosed.

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 them. 

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

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