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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Names of special advisers involved in FOI responses: FOI release

Published: 25 Aug 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01769
Date received: 26 July 2017
Date responded: 24 August 2017

Information requested

  1. The name and role (preferably job title + department) of all senior civil servants, special advisers, press/communication officers, ministers and parliamentary liaison officers involved in answering the following FOI requests: FOI/15/01557, FOI/15/01791, FOI/15/01977, FOI/16/01644, FOI/16/02008, FOI/16/02132, FOI/17/00070, FOI/17/01203, FOI/17/01247, FOI/17/01337.

  2. Confirmation of the role these individuals had in the production of the FOI responses (researching, drafting, checking, signing off etc).

  3. Confirmation of whether changes were made to the FOI responses following the intervention of individuals listed in response to Q1 (including a description of the nature and timing of any changes)

Response

It may help if I explain that, in most cases, FOI requests are not handled or cleared by senior civil servants. I should also note that I have only been able to provide information which has been recorded and saved on our Electronic Records and Data Management System.

FOI/15/01557
Special Advisers commented on the proposed response (the name of the Special Adviser is not recorded). The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning confirmed she was content with the response.

FOI/15/01791
No information held.

FOI/15/01977
No information held.

FOI/16/01644
Colin McAllister (Special Adviser) commented on the proposed response. The Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills confirmed he was content with the response. Chris Mackie (Comms) issued the response.

FOI/16/02008
No information held.

FOI/16/02132
Information withheld under section 30(c) due to ongoing appeal Chris Mackie (Comms) issued the response.

FOI/17/00070
Clare Hicks (Deputy Director) cleared the proposed response. Colin McAllister (Special Adviser) commented on the proposed response. Chris Mackie (Comms) issued the response. The Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills confirmed he was content with the response.

FOI/17/01203
No information held.

FOI/17/01247
Special Advisers reviewed documents for release (the name of the Special Adviser is not recorded).

The Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills generally content but queried for the grounds for release of certain information.

Kate Higgins (Special Adviser) commented in response to DFM, referred to previous requests for similar information.

Catherine Brown (Comms) issued the response.

FOI/17/01337
Clare Hicks (Deputy Director) commented on initial draft, cleared revised draft.

Colin McAllister (Special Adviser) commented on the response and said it was correct to release without further Ministerial approval.

Jenny Scott (Comms) noted some typos, issued the final response.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

In addition, 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 under section 30(c) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because four of the specified request casefiles did not contain any information falling within the scope of your request.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. As this information relates to a case which is currently the subject of an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner, disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to provide submissions on the handling of the case as part of the Commissioner's investigation. 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 process of the Scottish Information Commissioner's investigation and ensuring the ongoing appeal is not prejudiced by the release of information on the handling of the case.

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:
25 Aug 2017
Names of special advisers involved in FOI responses: FOI release