Publication - FOI/EIR release

Internal communication relating to library funding: FOI release

Published: 5 Nov 2021

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

Published:
5 Nov 2021
Internal communication relating to library funding: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100238886
Date received: 13 Sep 2021
Date responded: 11 Oct 2021
Information requested

Any internal Scottish Government communications on the subject of library funding between 06 August 2021 and 06 September 2021.

Response

Attached is a copy of some of the information requested. 

On a number of occasions in the information being released the Programme for Government is referred to – the full document can be found online here https://www.gov.scot/publications/fairergreener-scotland-programme-government-2021-22/. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

An exemption(s) under section(s) 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 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(s) under section(s) of FOISA applies to 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice; free and frank exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and 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 and other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view on the approach to be adopted in responding to FOI requests. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on the approach to responding to complex and sensitive FOI requests will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions contain frank appraisals of the alternative approaches which might be adopted and their prospects of success.

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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 free and frank advice to Ministers and other officials, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on its response to requests of this nature. 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. 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.

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