Hepatitis C commitment, June to August 2022: FOI release

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

Information requested

All correspondence including emails, letters, memos, minutes and briefings relating to the Scottish Government's commitment to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2024 for the last three months.


We enclose a copy of some of the information you requested which includes two documents relating to the Hepatitis C commitment.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide most of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) 29(1)(a) formulation/development of government policy and 30(b)(I) substantial inhibition of free and frank provision of advice. The reasons why exemptions have been applied are outlined in the section below.

Exemption reasoning

An exemption(s) under section(s) (29)(1)(a) and 30(b)(I) of FOISA applies to some of information you have requested. An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested as it relates to the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on eliminating Hepatitis C by 2024.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) also applies to the information 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 senior officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view.

A further exemption under 29 (1)(b) of FOISA (Ministerial communications) would also apply to the information requested.

I 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 a private space within which policy positions can be explored and refined, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy position that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken.

The above three exemptions are 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.

A further 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, ie names and contact details have been redacted, 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.

About FOI

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.

FOI - 202200313660 - information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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