Correspondence regarding Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP’s MS Victoria visit: FOI release

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

Information requested

"All ministerial and official correspondence on Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP’s planned visit to MS Victoria on 17th August 2022."


I attach a copy of the information you requested.

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 an exemption under FOISA applies. The details of why this exemption applies is explained below.

In this instance, an exemption under Section 38(1)(b) 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.

Furthermore, Section 30(c) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. Disclosing the content of free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation would substantially inhibit such discussion in the future or could prejudice continued effective working with stakeholders, particularly because discussions on the issue relate to an ongoing matter.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials and stakeholders can provide full and frank advice to as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy, until the Government as a whole can a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Disclosure would undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.

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 202200316104 - 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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