FOI reference: FOI/18/01769
Date received: 23 July 2017
Date responded: 6 February 2018
1. The name and role (preferably job title + department) of all senior civil servants, special advisers, press/communication officers, ministers and parliamentary liaison officers involved in answering the following FOI requests: FOI/15/01557, FOI/15/01791, FOI/15/01977, FOI/16/01644, FOI/16/02008, FOI/16/02132, FOI/17/00070, FOI/17/01203, FOI/17/01247, FOI/17/01337.
2. Confirmation of the role these individuals had in the production of the FOI responses (researching, drafting, checking, signing off etc).
3. Confirmation of whether changes were made to the FOI responses following the intervention of individuals listed in response to Q1 (including a description of the nature and timing of any changes)
Further to our previous letters about your request for information and your subsequent application for a decision from the Scottish Information Commissioner, we have now given further consideration to the information held relating to your original request and the further points you raised in your application for a decision.
I have concluded that the information previously considered to be exempt from disclosure can now be released. This information is provided at annex A. You may wish to note that information which does not demonstrate the considerations of senior civil servants, special advisers, press/communication officers and Ministers in preparing your responses has been redacted as we do not consider this information to fall within the scope of your request. You may also wish to note that parliamentary liaison officers have no role in considering FOI requests as they are not members of the Scottish Government.
You may find it helpful to note that Special Advisers are employed by the Scottish Government as temporary civil servants to provide advice to the First Minister, Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers across all portfolio areas in the Scottish Government. Special Advisers and other officials who have relevant knowledge are sometimes asked to comment on draft responses. In checking the accuracy of a response this can, where appropriate extend to giving consideration to the correct application of exemptions. For example in this case you will note that Special Advisers queried whether material that it was proposed should be redacted, should, in fact be released.
We accept that the handling of your request, received on 23 June 2017 fell short of the standard expected. The Scottish Government takes our responsibility for FOI seriously. We will continue to work with the Scottish Information Commissioner in order to continue to improve our performance when responding to requests for information.
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