FOI reference: FOI/17/02264
Date received: 5 October 2017
Date responded: 2 November 2017
Any analysis considered by the Scottish Government of the possible costs of implementing the proposal to 'arrange a south of Scotland enterprise agency' mentioned in the Programme for Government. The information should include – but not be limited to - briefings, data, discussion with experts and costings documents. I would only like to receive information considered specifically in relation to the Programme for Government announcement prior to September 5, 2017.
I enclose a copy of some 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 you have requested because an exemption under section 29(1)(a) (policy formulation) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.
Please note that information which does not fall within the scope of your request has also been redacted.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test.
An exemption under section 29 (1) (a) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 29 (1) (a) exempts information that relates to the formulation of government policy. Analysis of the possible costs of implementing the proposal to arrange a south of Scotland enterprise agency is on-going development of government policy.
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 analysis of costs of implementing the proposal to arrange a south of Scotland enterprise agency 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