Information

Justice Secretary correspondence with SPS regarding prison drug use: FOI release

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


Information requested

Any correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, notes/records of phone calls, minutes of meetings, briefings, WhatsApp messages or otherwise) between the Cabinet Secretary for Justice (or his ministerial office), and the Scottish Prison Service regarding the use of drugs in prison, between 1 September and 11 November 2021.

Response

I enclose a copy of the information you requested that we are able to provide.

Whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance some information has been provided in the form of an extract because the remainder of the information in that document does not fall within the scope of the request.

Furthermore, we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because elements of the correspondence you requested have been redacted under exemption in terms of section s.38(1) (b) and s.30(b)(i).

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information 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 under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (inhibition to free and frank provision of advice) also applies to some of the information requested because it is advice from policy officials to ministers.

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 realise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to free and frank provision of advice to Ministers.

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 - 202100254626 - Information Released - Annex

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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