Information

Information pertaining to Scottish National Standardised Assessments: FOI release

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


Information requested

All communication (internal and external) involving Shirley-Anne Somerville (or her staff) regarding the Scottish National Standardised Assessments. This includes any attachments in the case of emails, as well as non-email communication such as messaging services.

Any briefings, analysis or other official documents held by the Scottish Government regarding the Scottish National Standardised Assessments.

The time frame for this request is 01/06/2021 – present” (07/09/21).

Response

I attach a copy of the information you have requested in the attached PDF files.

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 section 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and section 38(1)(b) personal information, apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

An exemption under section 38(1) (b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles set out in article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and 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.

An exemption under 30(b)(ii) free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation of FOISA also applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.

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 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 allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring the Government's position on the Scottish National Standardised Assessments. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

In addition, some of the information contained within the documents is outwith the scope of the request and has therefore been redacted.

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.

FOI-202100236994 - Information released

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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