Free school meal allocations: FOI release

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

Information requested

Copies of all correspondence relating to the data used to estimate free school meal allocations and allocate PEF spending.
For clarity, Iā€™m looking for all correspondence ā€“ email and letter ā€“ between ministers, officials and third parties that discusses the quality of the data, any concerns about its usefulness and any plans to gather and use more up to date data.

A clarification was sought on whether the request was relating to FSM registrations or the use of those registrations to determine PEF allocations. A response was received as follows: 
"Further to the below, I can confirm that we are looking for the correspondence relating to the use of that data to determine the Pupil Equity Funding allocations, including any discussion of the quality
of that data."


I can confirm that the Scottish Government holds information falling within the scope of your request.

These are provided within the attached Annex.

Exemptions under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) and section 30(b)(i) (the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.

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, i.e. 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.

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA(the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views.

The exemption at 30(b)(i) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) is a qualified exemption, which means it is subject to the public interest test. We have considered carefully whether the public interest lies in maintaining the exemptions or releasing the information. However, there is also a public interest in ensuring that officials and Ministers are able to engage in free and frank discussions that inform high quality policy development.

Release of the exempt information would be likely to inhibit such free and frank discussions and result in less informed decision-making regarding this and other related key policy initiatives. This is particularly the case given that this remains a live area of policy development and implementation. On balance, we consider that the public interest test falls in favour of maintaining the exemptions.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202200304200 - Information released - Annex


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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