The Promise Board Review of its Chair: FOI release

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

Information requested

At the first meeting of the Promise Board there was a reference to item 4 of that meeting about the responsibilities of the chair which said "The Scottish Government intends to review the current responsibilities of the Chair of The Promise Scotland and ‘take a decision on the future of the role’ before the secondment agreement reaches an end on 6 July 2022”.

Can you please provide details of this review which they say you were doing, what decision was reached and why, and a copy of any and all document(s) re this review?


I enclose a copy of some 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 section 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

An exemption under section section 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on policy and Ministerial decisions relating to Keeping the Promises will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because it was sensitive advice ahead of decisions being made.

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 a private space within which officials can exchange views and provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy position on Keeping the Promise, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy 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. 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 policy and decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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