Deputy First Minister John Swinney meetings: FOI release

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

Information requested

1)  All internal and external correspondence within and sent or received by the Scottish Government including attached documents, meeting handouts, memos, briefings to ministers, attendee lists, location of meeting, notes, minutes, or OneNote memos, linked to the following meetings:

1a) John Swinney's meeting with Ross Greer and Mags Hall on August 3, 2022

1b) John Swinney's meeting with Willie Watt on August 3, 2022

1c) John Swinney's meeting with COSLA leadership on August 3, 2022

1d) John Swinney's meeting with Mark Logan on August 10, 2022

1e) John Swinney's meeting with civil service trade unions on August 17, 2022

1f) John Swinney's meeting with trade unions and COSLA on August 25, 2022

1g) John Swinney's meeting with COSLA presidential team on August 30, 2022


Please find attached all documents that are relevant to your request the Scottish Government hold on the seven meetings stated that Mr Swinney attended in August 2022

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some the information requested.  This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.  This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.  Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because disclosure of these internal discussions between Ministers would be likely to have the effect of undermining the Government’s ongoing pay negotiations with other public sector workers and thus the effectiveness of the process, which would not be in the public interest.

 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 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 allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government’s position until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken.  Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

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 202200331319 - Information released - A
FOI 202200331319 - Information released - B
FOI 202200328720 - 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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