I would like to see any email correspondence sent from May 6 2022 to May 20 from Bute House staff relating to the Sinn Fein visit to Bute House on May 20.
We have interpreted your request for correspondence sent from Bute House to mean correspondence sent from or within Scottish Government.
I confirm that the Scottish Government does hold information considered to be within the scope of your request and is attached in the annex. However exemption(s) under section(s) 29(1)(a), 29(1)(d), 30(b) and 38(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.
Section 29(1)(a) relates to the formulation or development of government policy. The information redacted under this exemption relates to a policy issue on which a decision is yet to be taken. We have considered the public interest in the material withheld under section 29(1)(a). The argument for releasing is open and transparent government. The argument for withholding is that releasing potential policy details before they have been finalised could be misleading to the public. On balance, the exemption was upheld. We have therefore withheld that information.
Section 29(1)(d) relates to the operation of any ministerial private office. We do not consider that releasing Ministerial Private Office email addresses is in the public interest as it may be detrimental to the operation of that office therefore some of the attached documents have been redacted accordingly.
Section 30(b) relates to information which if disclosed would, or would be likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice or an exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. We have considered the public interest in this material. The argument for releasing is open and transparent government. The argument against releasing is that officials need to be able to provide full briefing to Ministers, including sensitive or private material, without being inhibited by the possibility of release. On balance, the exemption was upheld. We have therefore withheld that information.
Section 38(1)(a) relates to personal information – we have withheld names and email addresses of officials below the level of Senior Civil Service involved in the arrangement of the meeting and formulation of advice to the First Minister.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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