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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Cabinet Secretary meeting with Royal Scottish Geographical Society: FOI release

Published: 20 Jul 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01392
Date received: 19 June 2017
Date responded: 14 July 2017

Information requested

A copy of all background notes and/or briefing/s provided to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution for meeting with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society held on 16.03.2017.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

  • Ministerial briefing notes for meeting with the Chief Executive Royal Scottish Geographical Society

  • Minutes from the meeting with the Chief Executive Royal Scottish Geographical Society

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 36(2) (actionable breach of confidence) and 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 36(2) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it was obtained from Mr Robinson's correspondence and disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. This is because the information is confidential, was provided in circumstances which imposed an obligation on the Scottish Government to maintain that confidentiality, and unauthorised disclosure would be to the detriment of the Mr Mike Robinson, who provided the information.

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 under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government's policy on the overall 50% reduction of Air Departure Tax.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested.

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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the Scottish Government's policy on the overall 50% reduction of Air Departure Tax will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.

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

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
20 Jul 2017
Cabinet Secretary meeting with Royal Scottish Geographical Society: FOI release