Publication - FOI/EIR release

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture correspondence: FOI release

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

Published:
3 Nov 2021
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture correspondence: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100237037
Date received: 7 Sep 2021
Date responded: 5 Oct 2021
Information requested

How many meetings has Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, attended (either virtually or in person) where ‘Afghanistan’ was a subject on the agenda. I would like this information in the timeframe of between the date of his appointment to 15 August 2021. Please provide minutes for any meetings attended, including other attendees.

Copies of any correspondence sent to or received by Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture on the subject of the fall of Afghanistan between the date of his appointment and 7 September 2021.

Copies of any briefings prepared by officials for Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture on the subject of Afghanistan between the date of his appointment and 7 September 2021.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a small amount of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s):

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information. This is because it is personal data of a third party, for example the names of individuals, 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.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) (the free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This is because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of advice.

This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space in which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers. Disclosing the content would substantially inhibit the provision of such advice.

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.

However, there is a greater public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to refine process and procedure. This private thinking space is essential to enable all information and options to be properly considered. Disclosure is likely to undermine the quality of this process, which would not be in the public interest.

Some of the information you have requested is not held by the Scottish Government for the purposes of FOISA because we received it in confidence from the UK Government. This means that, under the terms of section 3(2)(a)(ii) of FOISA, we are unable to disclose it in response to your request. However, you may wish to submit a new request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) to the following departments who should be able to help you further.

The Department of Education:

Contact the Department for Education - Contact type - DFE Online Forms
Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2WD
United Kingdom

Cabinet Office:

foi-team@cabinetoffice.gov.uk
FOI Team
Cabinet Office
Room 405
70 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2AS
United Kingdom

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

information.rights@fcdo.gov.uk
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Room WH2.177
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH
United Kingdom

Home Office:

foirequests@homeoffice.gov.uk
Direct communications unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
United Kingdom

During the time period specified Angus Robertson attended the following meetings:

  • Friday 18 June – UK Government Covid Operations Committee
  • Friday 27 August – Call with CDL – Afghanistan
  • Tuesday 31 August - Ministerial Roundtable with the Afghan Community
  • Monday 6 September – UK Government call with Devolved Administrations, Afghan Relocation and Resettlement

All other information can be found within the attachments.

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