FOI reference: FOI/17/01179
Date received: 19 May 2017
Date responded: 29 June 2017
All agendas, board papers and minutes from the British Transport Police Integration Joint Programme Board(s).
Please see the attached documents which refer to the information 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 exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy), 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) and 38(1)(b) (personal information of a third party) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex below.
You may also find the Department of Transport's written submission to the Justice Committee on the BTP Integration Programme Joint Programme Board of interest. This is available from:
- Agenda - 6 April 2016
- Agenda - 9 June 2016
- Agenda - 19 July 2016
- Agenda - 20 September 2016
- Agenda - 21 January 2016
- Agenda - 23 November 2016
- Agenda - 27 March 2017
- Agenda - 30 January 2017
- Agenda - 30 May 2017
- Consultation update - JPB 04-03
- Dashboard template
- Legislation update - JPB 03-05
- Legislation update - JPB 04-04
- Legislation update - JPB 06-03
- Legislation update - JPB 07-03
- Legislation update - JPB 08-03
- Meeting minutes - 6 April 2016
- Meeting minutes - 9 June 2016
- Meeting minutes - 18 November 2015
- Meeting minutes - 21 January 2016
- Meeting minutes - 23 November 2016
- Note - JPB 05-02
- Note - JPB 06-02
- Note - JPB -8-02
- Programme update - JPB 02-05
- Programme update - JPB 03-06
- Programme update - JPB 04-05
- Programme update - JPB 05-05
- Project 3-7 - JPB 02
An exemption applies
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information of a third party) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. 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.
Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test
Exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.
Exemption 29(1)(a) relates to information regarding the formation and development of Scottish Government policy.
Exemption 30(b)(ii) recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options internally and with external stakeholders before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions on the integration of the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, particularly because these discussions are still on-going and form part of a continuing programme of work. Stakeholders will also be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public.
Both of these 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 exemptions. 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 Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government's policy on the integration of the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers, officials and stakeholders which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy making process, which would not be in the public interest.
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