With respect to contact between the Constitutional Futures Division and Ross Greer MSP, 1st May 2021 - date, please provide:
(1.) The dates of all meetings held, in person or virtual.
(2.) Any documentation relating to the meetings, including agendas, presentation materials, minutes, notes, or briefings.
(3.) All correspondence between the Constitutional Futures Division and Ross GreerMSP, 1st May 2021 - date.
The following dates relate to meetings involving Ross Greer MSP and members of staff located within the Constitutional Futures Division:
• 22nd November 2021
• 15th February 2022
• 17th May 2022
• 9th June 2022
• 30th June 2022
• 21st September 2022
• 13th October 2022
• 4th May 2023
• 1st June 2023
• 9th June 2023
• 15th June 2023
• 18th July 2023
Prior to the appointment of the Minister for Independence, meetings were held between CFD and Mr Greer to discuss the work of the Constitutional Futures Division, in line with the Bute House agreement. Due to an upgrade of our IT system, it is not possible to locate every date where a meeting occurred historically. The list above indicates where a diary invitation is still recorded but does not necessarily indicate that the meeting took place or that other discussions were not held.
As the meetings were informal sessions between Mr Greer and CFD to provide regular updates, there was no requirement for meeting papers to be prepared or formal minutes to be recorded. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.
Following the appointment of the Minister for Independence, fortnightly meetings were arranged between Mr Hepburn, Mr Greer and some staff from CFD.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (Personal Information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party 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.
Some of the materials relating to the above meetings are provided in Annex A.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption under Section 30(c) (Prejudice to the Effective Conduct of Public Affairs) of FOISA applies to the information you have requested. The reason why this exemption applies is because releasing previous drafts of Scottish Government publications and discussions about drafting, which do not reflect final decisions taken, would result in inaccurate information on the Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland being published, thereby undermining the Scottish Government’s ability to effectively and accurately engage and communicate with the public. This in turn would be likely to impair the Government’s ability to take forward its work on policy development for an independent Scotland. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.
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 enabling the Scottish Government to effectively and accurately engage and communicate with the public on its proposals for an independent Scotland without the risk of these proposals being prejudiced by inaccurate information, which doesn’t reflect final decisions taken, being released while the Scottish Government’s work was still under development on a matter of significant political relevance and controversy.
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
- 14 page PDF
- File size
- 209.6 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback