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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Roseanna Cunningham meetings relating to tail docking: EIR release

Published: 15 Nov 2017

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01967
Date received: 28 August 2017
Date responded: 10 October 2017

Information requested

(a) Any ministerial briefing papers prepared in advance of meetings of Roseanna Cunningham, then Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, relating to 'tail docking/tail shortening/the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006/Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017' held between February 12, 2009, and May 24, 2011, both dates inclusive, and May 18, 2016 and August 16, 2017, both dates inclusive.

(b) Minutes, notes and action plans from meetings of Roseanna Cunningham, then Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, relating to 'tail docking/ tail shortening/the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006/Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017' held between February 12, 2009, and May 24, 2011, both dates inclusive, and May 18, 2016 and August 16, 2017, both dates inclusive.

(c) Any correspondence of Roseanna Cunningham, then Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, relating to 'tail docking/ tail shortening/the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006/Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017' held between February 12, 2009, and May 24, 2011, both dates inclusive, and May 18, 2016 and August 16, 2017, both dates inclusive.

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

I enclose a copy of most 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 because exemptions under sections 11(2) "personal data relating to third party", 10(4)(e) "internal communications" and 6(1)(b) "information publicly available" of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.

In addition, a number of redactions of materials outwith the scope of your request have been carried out.

Reasons for not providing information

An exception applies.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal data) applies to information that has been redacted from the documents which are being released to you. This exception applies because the information is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.

An exception under 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to information that has been redacted from the documents which are being released to you. This exception 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 this information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which policy positions on a matter of such vital importance to animal welfare can be explored and refined, until the Scottish Government can adopt a policy that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good policy decisions can be taken based on the best advice available.

An exception under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs (information publicly available) also applies to information that has been redacted from the documents which are being released to you. Under regulation 6(1)(b) we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another format. This information can be found at the following URLs:

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:
15 Nov 2017
Roseanna Cunningham meetings relating to tail docking: EIR release