FOI reference: FOI/18/00694
Date received: 6 March 2018
Date responded: 27 March 2018
Any business cases submitted by local authorities to the Scottish Government for funding for Citizen's Income Pilots; for documentation provided to councils that were approved for funding including any targets that were expected to be met; I would also ask for any briefings or research undertaken by or for the Scottish Government on Citizen's Basic Income since September 2017 including any internal communications and for any briefings specifically on the funding of the pilots.
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. Documentation includes correspondence sent to the four pilot authorities and corresponding application form. Internal communications are also included.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.
In this instance we are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under the following sections of FOISA apply to that information:
Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy
Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have asked for. As at 6 March 2018 no business cases have been received from the Local Authorities selected to bid into the £250,000 fund. The closing date for applications is 29 March 2018, after which point bids will be assessed and successful applicants notified.
No briefings or research has been undertaken by or for the Scottish Government on Citizens Basic Income during the period of your request. As has already been confirmed, in addition to the fund, government analysts will assist the pilot authorities by using tax and benefit models held within the government to help them assess the cost and feasibility of their plans.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy.
An exemption under section Section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the formulation of the Scottish Government's policy on Citizens Basic Income.
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 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 Citizens Basic Income will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that and related policies.
Given that the funding is provided for the periods 2018-19 and 2019-20, it is pertinent that the Local Authority areas selected to participate are able to conduct the feasibility studies as defined in their grant terms. To release information on the development of this fund may lead to results from the pilots being skewed, therefore giving an untrue account of their findings, or may lead the authorities to focus on particular areas. This would undermine the integrity of any findings and therefore devalue the evidence base established.
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 some of the information requested because it is the personal data of a third party, ie the names and contact information for officials are their own personal details, and disclosing this information 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