FOI reference: FOI/17/03035
Date received: 6 October 2017
Date responded: 26 January 2018
For information contained in documents, meetings, communications & discussions between the Scottish Government and representatives of the Scottish Police Federation (and the identities of those present at these meetings, including any legal representation of the SPF) from December 2016 to the date of this FOI request.
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 exemptions under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies, subject to public interest test:
An exemption under section 30(b)(i) and section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) and (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and free and frank exchange of views for the purposed of deliberation. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to discuss and provide free and frank advice to Ministers. Also, disclosing the content of free and frank exchanges of views between officials, Ministers and the Scottish Police federation would substantially inhibit the provision of such views in the future.
These exemptions are 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 exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. 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 a private space within which officials and Ministers can discuss issues freely and have a free and frank discussion with stakeholders. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.
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