FOI reference: FOI/17/02229
Date received: 2 October 2017
Date responded: 30 October 2017
1. All communications between the office of the First Minister and the Catalonian regional government from 1st January 2016 to date.
2. All communications between ministers of the Scottish Cabinet and the Catalonian regional government from 1st January 2016 to date.
On 18 October 2017 we contacted you to seek clarification on the scope of point 2 above. You advised us that your request covered all Scottish Cabinet Secretaries.
In the two files attached separately, you will find a copy of the information you requested. Please be also advised that, in line with section 38(1)(b) of FOISA some personal data have been withheld in order not to contravene data protection principles.
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 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy) of FOISA applies to that information. The reason why this exemption applies is explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some the information requested because it relates to the develolpment of the Scottish Government's policy on agrifood and rural activities.
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 agrifood and rural activities 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.
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