Internal discussions on Zero Waste Scotland transition: FOI release

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

Information requested

A copy of internal correspondence and documents between ministers and advisers, covering the period from 1st October 2022 to 31st January 2023 regarding the transition of Zero Waste Scotland to a public organisation.


Alongside this letter, I attach all of the documentation we hold on this subject. Personal data is contained in document 1 which has been redacted. Additional information has been redacted in documents 1 and 2 because exemptions Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy and Section 30(b)(i) – free and frank provision of advice – of FOISA apply to this information.

Exemption Section 29(1)(a) applies because some of the information contained relates to government policy which is still under development, namely the Circular Economy Bill. The Commissioner has interpreted “formulation or development of policy” as the consideration or development of options and priorities for Scottish Ministers, who will subsequently determine which of these should be translated into political action and/or legislation and when.

Exemption Section 30(b)(i) applies because some of the information relates to the provision of advice on Zero Waste Scotland’s (ZWS) transition to become a public body; a process which is very much live with a wide range of decisions still to be taken on the most appropriate structure and governance arrangements for ZWS. Decisions must be based on the best advice available in order that SG and ZWS reach an informed settled position which best reflects the operations and functions of the body in the public sector.

Exemptions Section 29(1)(a) and Section 30(b)(i) are subject to the ‘public interest test.’ Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this request, 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 withholding information which is likely to undermine a final policy position which is still to be reached and could compromise the transition process which seeks to determine the most appropriate structure and long-term governance arrangements for ZWS in the public sector.

Furthermore, the disclosure of advice shared on ZWS’s transition poses significant risk to ZWS’s internal communications and consultations with staff; the outcomes of which will form a critical role in shaping future decisions on the organisation’s structure and functions.

We do not regard that either of these scenarios would be in the interests of the public.

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 202300371447 - 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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