Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID-19 close contact isolation: FOI release

Published: 6 Oct 2021

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

Published:
6 Oct 2021
COVID-19 close contact isolation: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100231198
Date received: 16 Aug 2021
Date responded: 14 Sep 2021
Information requested

The number of staff in critical roles who applied (or whose employer applied on their behalf) to the Scottish Government for an exemption to the requirement for close contacts of positive Covid cases to self-isolation, between July 23 and the date of this request.

Please provide this in excel format, broken down by date, whether or not the exemption was granted, and role of the employee - if possible including the employer (eg Scotrail, NHS Fife) and job role (eg nurse, doctor). 

Response

I attach some of the information you requested, which is provided in a separate Microsoft Excel file.

This includes the full number of applications for exemptions received by Scottish Government during the time period you requested, broken down by Critical National Infrastructure sector, date and outcome of application.

In this instance, we do not have some of the information you requested, with specific reference to applications for self-isolation exemptions within the health and social care sector. Applications in this sector were received and considered on a case by case basis by local NHS Health Boards.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in relation to applications within the health and social care sector.

Please note that an exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested, namely the names of employers and/or job roles of applicants. Disclosure would prejudice substantially, or be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs. The release of this information would reveal the nature of specific organisations’ operations and workforce details.

This would risk prejudicing the Scottish Government’s relationship with key industry stakeholders, whose engagement and cooperation is crucial to the ongoing implementation of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

For two cases within the information release, the sector has also been redacted, because the release of such information may also have the potential to cause undue alarm among the public through the identification of specific organisations within the Critical National Infrastructure.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking into account 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 of the importance of critical service provision to all citizens’ health, wellbeing and security. However, this is outweighed by the risk of prejudicing the Scottish Government’s ongoing relationship with industry stakeholders, and the risk of causing disproportionate alarm among the public.

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