Gender recognition bill: FOI release

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

Information requested

On 22 August 2018, then Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville met with various stakeholders to discuss the gender recognition bill. In a blogpost, Susan Sinclair (of the organisation ‘Scottish Women’) claims that she attended one of these meetings, along with numerous other actors.

For each of the meetings held that day in which the gender recognition bill was discussed, please provide the following:

- A full list of attendees, including the full names and titles of each attendee, as well as who each attendee represents
- The location of the meeting
- A copy of the agenda for the meeting
- Materials that were handed out and received during the meeting, such as presentation slides, brochures, reports, and leaflets
- Minutes taken during the meeting, as well as any accompanying briefing notes and papers

I would like to receive the information in an electronic format. If you feel that a substantive response to this request is not possible within a reasonable time frame, or the request is too broad, I would be grateful if you could contact me and provide assistance as to how I could refine the request.


I attach a copy of the information you requested.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested, because it is personal data of a third party, in that it consists of personal information that may identify an individual 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 36(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information because it relates to legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege. 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 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 confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

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 202200304607 - Information released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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