SQA equalities judgement: FOI release

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

Information requested

Any correspondence relating to the SQA equalities judgement.


I enclose a copy 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 of exemptions under sections 25, 30(b)(i), 30c and 38(1)(b) of FOISA.

Under section 25 of FOISA, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you. Part of the information you have requested is published under FOI 202100244075 and is available online here: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/foi-eir-release/2022/08/foi-202100244075/documents/foi---202100244075---information-released---annex-a/foi---202100244075---information-released---annex-a/govscot%3Adocument/FOI%2B-%2B202100244075%2B-%2BInformation%2BReleased%2B-%2BAnnex%2BA.pdf

Exemptions under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to seek advice and discuss options before reaching a settled public view. When applying the public interest test we noted that while information is in the public interest as public bodies must show they are meeting the needs of all Scotland’s people and their legal obligations, disclosing the content of advice, particularly when decisions have not been taken, and/or if those discussions relate to sensitive or controversial issues, will substantially inhibit the free and frank provision of advice in the future.

Exemptions under section 30c of FOISA (effective conduct of public affairs) apply to some of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ability to progress a section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2010 by sharing information on delivery of that agreement while it is in ongoing. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption. 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. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the ability of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to enforce the Equality Act 2010.

An 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, i.e. names and contact details, 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.

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 202100246964 Index of Enclosures


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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