Organisational functions and purpose of Zero Waste Scotland: FOI release

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

Information requested

“I would like to request a copy of two documents both referenced under point 2 in the minutes of the Biannual Meeting between the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, the Zero Waste Scotland Chair and CEO held on 23rd May 2023.

Document One:
A one page document prepared by Zero Waste Scotland on the organisational functions and purpose of Zero Waste Scotland.

Document Two:
The initial suggestions made the year prior by Zero Waste Scotland on its organisational functions and purpose.”


Alongside this letter, I attach a copy of document one. Some of the content in this document has been redacted where Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation – of FOISA applies to this information.

In relation to document two, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because exemption Section 30(b)(ii) – free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation – of FOISA applies to this information.

In both cases, this exemption applies because disclosure would, or be likely to substantially inhibit the free and frank exchange of views between the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), during the current period of transitioning Zero Waste Scotland to a public sector controlled organisation, following the classification decision by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 28 April 2023, officially recognising ZWS as a public sector organisation.

The exemption recognises the need for Scottish Government and ZWS officials to have a private space within which to share and exchange views, before both organisations reach a settled view on the most appropriate shape and structure of ZWS, as a public sector organisation. This includes consideration of Zero Waste Scotland’s existing functions as an organisation and the required public body structure to support its organisational purpose. Disclosing the content of views shared as part of this live process would inhibit the exchange of information between the parties [SG and ZWS] and risks undermining 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.

The Section 30(b) exemption is 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 allowing a private space within which officials from the Scottish Government and ZWS can exchange views, as part of the process of exploring and reaching an agreed position on the organisational shape and structure of ZWS. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, and open communication exchanges, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Scottish Government and ZWS 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 202300371455 - Information Released - Document 1


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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