FOI reference: FOI/18/00053
Date received: 9 October 2017
Date responded: 31 January 2018
Any advice or other material (whether internal or external) regarding the role of the GTCS and/or proposed replacement of the GTCS
Any communication (whether internal or external) regarding the role of the GTCSand/or the proposed replacement of the GTCS
Details - including all supporting documents - of any meetings at which the role of the GTCS and/or proposed replacement of the GTCS was discussed.
I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance some information has been redacted from the enclosed documents exemptions 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy), 29(1)(c) (Law Officers' advice), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice), 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA apply to that information. The reason for these exemptions is explained below. Some other information has been redacted as it does not relate directly to your request.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the redacted information because it is the personal data of third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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.
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) and 29(1)(c) (Law Officers' advice) of FOISA.
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank provision of views) applies to some of the redacted information. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to; inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and views. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice/views to Ministers on key discussion points in pre-meeting briefings. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice on such key points will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly when these discussions relate to a policy matter, such as the Governance Review which is still on-going and where decisions have not been taken.
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, before they meet key stakeholders.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House