FOI reference: FOI/18/00322
Date received: 2 February 2018
Date responded: 2 March 2018
Information on what the Scottish Government expects the cost to be for providing sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities, and for information relating to communications about access to free sanitary products between SG officials and local authority, college and university representatives between August 2017 and 2 February 2018.
It should be noted that, due to the number of documents within the scope of the request, the cost of responding has breached the upper cost limit of £600. However in order to be open and transparent we have provided all of the information within scope rather than ask you to limit the scope of your request.
I can advise that Scottish Government has contacted, in some cases via the relevant intermediary bodies, all Local Authorities, Universities and publicly funded Colleges in Scotland. I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in the format you asked for. A list of the documents released is contained in Annex A to this letter and a list of meetings and telephone calls that we can identify is in document 196.
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 s.29(1)(a) of FOISA applies to that information. The information exempted relates to "what the Scottish Government expects the cost to be for providing free sanitary [products] in (a) Schools and (b) Colleges and Universities", and also "details of the costings work which has been carried out in arriving at these figures". The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.
We are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information. The information exempted relates to names and contact details of individuals. The reasons why that exemption applies are 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 of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government's policy on access to free sanitary products.
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 access to free sanitary products 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.
Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of individuals, 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.
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