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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Angela Constance meeting survivors of historical child abuse: FOI release

Published: 23 Nov 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/02456
Date received: 19 October 2017
Date responded: 22 November 2017

Information requested

  • Any correspondence and documents (minutes of meetings, emails, letters, phone calls, briefs or otherwise) surrounding Angela Constance's meeting with survivors of historical child abuse on March 21, 2016.

  • Any correspondence and documents (minutes of meetings, emails, letters, phone calls, briefs or otherwise) surrounding Angela Constance's meeting with Susan O'Brien QC on March 15, 2016.

  • Any correspondence and documents (minutes of meetings, emails, letters, phone calls, briefs or otherwise) surrounding Angela Constance's meeting with survivors of historic child abuse on February 11, 2016

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in at Annex B. However, some names and contact details have been redacted because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal data) applies to that information. This exemption 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. 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.

For some of your request I have identified that we hold other pieces of correspondence which would fall within the scope of your request, however while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information because exemptions under Section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views), Section 37(b)(i) (lodged with a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration) and 37(b)(ii) (created by a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration) of FOISA applies to the information requested. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

Section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views).

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to discuss and explore options before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank discussions on the information requested would substantially inhibit such discussions in the future.

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 allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to explore and refine the Government's position.

37 (1) (b) (i) (lodged with a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration) and 37 (1) (b) (ii) (created by a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration).

Exemptions under sections 37 (1) (b) (i) (lodged with a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration) and 37 (1) (b) (ii) (created by a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of that inquiry or arbitration) of FOISA applies to the information requested.

This exemption applies because the information you have requested was either created by or lodged with a person conducting an inquiry, and was created or lodged for the sole purpose of that inquiry. In addition, it is held by the Scottish Government solely because it is contained in such a document and not for any other Scottish Government business purpose. 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.

Section 37 of FOISA ensures that where authorities hold information solely because of their involvement in court proceedings, an inquiry or arbitration, they are not required to disclose the information out with those proceedings.

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

FoI-17-02456 - related correspondence.pdf

5 page PDF
376.3kB

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:
23 Nov 2017
Angela Constance meeting survivors of historical child abuse: FOI release