User Advisory Group Meeting Minutes

FOI request reference: CAS-67983-C1J9S2
Publication date: April 2021

Request
User Advisory Group minutes for March 2021: I would like to see a copy of the minutes which are not available on your website.

Outcome
Information withheld.

Response
We are unable to provide you with the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 22 of the FOI Act, which exempts information if it is intended for future publication. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

Further advice and assistance
I can confirm that I have been advised that the minutes from User Advisory Group meetings are reviewed and approved by the Chair(s) and delegates at the following meeting and are then published on the website. An explanatory note has been added to the webpage to this effect. The next scheduled User Advisory Group meeting is due to be conducted in June 2021.
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/get-involved/have-your-say/user-advisory-group/user-advisory-group-meeting-papers/

EXPLANATORY ANNEX
Exemptions applied

Section 22: Information intended for future publication
Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) Information intended for future publication
(1) Information is exempt information if—
(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and
(c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

Section 22 is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and must be release. In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it
We have considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to provide you with the information ahead of publication, despite the exemption being applicable.

Arguments in favour of disclosure:
•There are public interest arguments in favour of disclosure of this information at the present time. Disclosure would for example improve transparency in the operations of Government.

Arguments against disclosure:
•There are public interest arguments against disclosure of this information at the present time. These arguments include that it is in the public interest to adhere to the existing publication process for official statistics, which includes time for the data to be collated and properly verified before placed in the public domain.
•It is also in the public interest to ensure that the information is available to all members of the public at the same time, and premature publication could undermine the principle of making the information available to all at the same time through the official publication process.

On this occasion, we have concluded that the balance of the public interest test falls in favour of withholding this information.

Further guidance can be found at:
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom_of_information/guide/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/section_22_information_intended_for_future_publication.ashx