Records of all calls and/or meetings between John Swinney and SQA: FOI review

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

Information requested

Applied exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii).


I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications. I discuss the matters I have considered in relation to this review below.

Application of the Section 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) exemptions

You requested a reconsideration of the Section 30 (b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) exemptions. I reconsidered each application of this exemption including reconsidering the public interest test for each of these applications. I did not find that the exemption or the public interest test had been applied unreasonably, however I did identify areas where on consideration of the public interest test I found in favour of additional release.

In considering the public interest I balanced the need to protect the ability for officials of the Scottish Government and its agencies to discuss sensitive issues in a free and frank way against the public interest in respect of the important decisions these discussions informed. This was the same balance considered by the original case handlers. I have made a number of additional disclosures and new information released includes:

  • additional text in enclosure 2 (bullets 5 and 7)
  • PDF at enclosure 11
  • all of the PDF at enclosure 13.2 apart from section 6 which remains redacted
  • an additional paragraph (1) in enclosure 24.1
  • additional information previously redacted in enclosure 25.

You also requested a reconsideration of areas that were redacted as not in scope of your request. I reconsidered each occasion where material was redacted for this reason. I did not find that redactions had been made unreasonably and have decided against any further release of material.

Identification of relevant material. I also considered the steps the original case handlers took to identify material to release. Reviewing their records and discussing with the team I concluded that the searches and other steps to find material undertaken by the original handlers were appropriate. However I have now included a missing page from the original enclosure 10.1 which was accidentally not included in the response to your original request.

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 - 202200305384 - Annex A


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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