Readout from the meetings related to the visit by Ms Slater to the National Nature Reserve and meeting with Rum residents on 12 May 2023.
A copy of the information you requested is attached.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section 38(1)(b) - Personal Information - of FOISA applies to that information. This applies to some of the correspondence requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. named individuals, 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.
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(s) under section 30 (b -Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs - of FOISA applies to that information. 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 and other officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on governance matters relating to the Isle of Rum and its resources and the possible actions of third parties will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because these discussions relate to sensitive handling of Ministerial responsibilities and information provided by third parties which is not in the public domain.
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 provide full and frank advice to Ministers and other officials, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position, until the Government as a whole can adopt a position 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 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 decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.
Where these exemptions were applied partially to the information being released you will note redactions within the documents at the relevant sections deemed not for disclosure i.e. exempt information as outlined above.
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.
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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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