Correspondence with Ross Greer MSP: FOI release
- Part of
- Public sector
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
1. All correspondence between Ross Greer MSP and Kate Forbes MSP since January 1, 2022, including emails, phone calls (including minutes of these), in-person meetings, Whatsapp messages, Twitter messages, Signal messages and any other smartphone communication.
2. All correspondence between Ross Greer MSP and John Swinney MSP since January 1, 2022, including emails, phone calls (including minutes of these), in-person meetings, Whatsapp messages, Twitter messages, Signal messages and any other smartphone communication.
3. All correspondence between Ross Greer MSP and Ben Macpherson MSP since January 1, 2022, including emails, phone calls (including minutes of these), in-person meetings, Whatsapp messages, Twitter messages, Signal messages and any other smartphone communication.
You made a further request related to Scottish Ministers pay talks, which we have processed and will respond to separately as Ref: 202200315611.
I attach a copy of some of the information you requested in the format you asked for.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under FOISA apply to that information. These are:
Section 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy)
Section 29(1)(b) (Ministerial communications)
Section 30(1)(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice)
Section 30(1)(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation)
These exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’. 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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, including encouraging the provision of free and frank advice from officials and a similarly free exchange of views between Scottish Ministers and members of the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group for the purposes of deliberation and development of policies such as the draft Resource Spending Review (RSR), draft Programme for Government, Scottish Budgets and associated policies. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether advice and
records of discussions with members of the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on aspects of policy while still under discussion and development. To release briefing material and notes of meetings would be likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank exchanges between Scottish Government officials, Scottish Ministers and Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group members required during the development of key Government policies and initiatives. This would also be likely to undermine substantially arrangements designed to allow the Scottish Government and the Green Group to seek to achieve maximum cooperation and collaboration on the broadest range of the Government’s responsibilities, as set out in the Bute House Agreement.
The application of an exemption to particular information is set out at various points in the Annex to this letter.
Section 38(1)(b) – Personal Data. This exemption applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details, 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. At several points in the Annex, names and other personal data have been redacted. The application of this exemption to this data is not specified on each occasion as it is considered to be clear.
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.
- File type
- 32 page PDF
- File size
- 275.2 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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