We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Aled Powell please sign in and let everyone know.

Gohebiaeth am S4C rhwng gweinidogion Llywodraeth San Steffan

We're waiting for Aled Powell to read a recent response and update the status.

Annwyl Adran Digidol, Diwylliant, Cyfryngau a Chwaraeon,

I write to request sight of all correspondence between any of the DDCMS, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Minister of State for Digital, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, and Guto Bebb MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales) between 1st January 2017 and 14th September 2017 inclusive where there is reference in the correspondence to the Welsh television channel S4C.

Yn gywir,

Aled Powell

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Mr Powell,

Thank you for your information request of 14^th September as outlined
below. We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (the Act).

We can confirm that DCMS holds information within the scope of your
request. However, we have determined that some of this information may be
exempt from release under section 36 (Conduct of public affairs) of the
Act. This is a qualified exemption and, as such, it is necessary to carry
out a public interest test to consider whether, in all the circumstances
of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
the public interest in disclosing the information.

By virtue of section 10(3) of the Act, where public authorities have to
carry out a public interest test, they do not have to comply with the
request until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances. Due to the
need to consider where the balance of the public interest lies in relation
to the information that you have requested, the Department will not be
able to respond to your request immediately. However, we hope to let you
have a substantive response to your request by 10^th November.

Yours sincerely

The FOI Team.

no-reply@dcms.ecase.co.uk on behalf of FOI Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Powell,

Thank you for your information request of 14 September 2017, in which you
requested the following:

I write to request sight of all correspondence between any of the DDCMS,
the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Minister
of State for Digital, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, and
Guto Bebb MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales) between
1st January 2017 and 14th September 2017 inclusive where there is
reference in the correspondence to the Welsh television channel S4C

We have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act). We can confirm that the Department holds information within
scope of your request. However, we have determined that some of this
information is exempt from disclosure under section 35.1(b) (ministerial
communications) of the Act. Section 35 is a 'qualified exemption' and
requires us to carry out a public interest test to consider whether the
balance of interest lies in releasing or withholding the information. In
considering this, we have paid particular regard to the arguments in
favour of disclosure, including that disclosure may be of benefit because:

* greater transparency makes government more accountable to the
electorate and increases trust;
* the desirability of citizens being confident that decisions are taken
on the basis of the best available information;
* knowledge that the arguments relating to a debate will be released
will in fact improve the quality of those arguments. Far from
inhibiting the frank provision of advice, there might be circumstances
where the prospect of disclosure would enhance the quality of advice.

However, while acknowledging these benefits we consider that on this
occasion the arguments for upholding the exemption and withholding the
information outweigh those in favour of disclosure. In particular,
consideration of the following factors has led us to the conclusion that
the public interest requires the exemption in section 35 to be upheld
because:

* Ministers and their officials need space in which to develop their
thinking and explore different options in communications and
discussions. We are continuing to use the information at issue here to
inform the development of our ongoing policy;
* Ministers and their officials need to be able to think through all the
implications of different options. In particular, they need to be able
to undertake rigorous and candid assessments of the risks to
particular programmes and projects;
* good government depends on good decision making and this needs to be
based on the best advice available and a full consideration of all the
options - there may be a deterrent effect on external experts or
stakeholders who might be reluctant to provide advice because it might
be disclosed;

The Department also considers this information to be exempt from
disclosure under section 28 (relations within the UK) of the Act. Section
28 is a 'qualified exemption' which requires us to carry out a public
interest test to consider whether the balance of interest lies in
releasing or withholding the information. This exemption recognises the
need to protect information that would be likely to damage the
relationships within the United Kingdom.

In carrying out the public interest test, we consider that the balance of
interest in releasing the information includes the following:

* furthering the understanding of, and participation in, the debate of
issues of the day, in this case this might be participation in debate
about a decision due to be taken by an administration or in debate
about relations between administrations; and
* promoting accountability and transparency of the administrations for
decisions taken by them;

However, we have also considered that the public interest in withholding
the information under this exemption is likely to be strong when the
disclosure of information would result in, for example:

* release of information concerning another administration's spending
plans or unannounced policy proposals.
* providing a thumbnail sketch of the strength and weaknesses of the
individual members of an executive.
* the release of a report which is critical of another administration
before that administration had the opportunity to consider and make
representations and preparations before publication.
* release of comments within the UK government on a devolved
administration's policy proposal or legislation.
* release of information whose release could prejudice confidential and
diplomatic negotiations.
* release of information relating to reserved or excepted matters held
by departments in the devolved administrations relating to reserved or
excepted matters where disclosure might be to harm the interests of
the UK government.

In this case, we consider that the arguments for upholding the exemption
and withholding the information outweigh those in favour of disclosure. We
have therefore decided the balance of interest lies in withholding the
information.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

www.gov.uk/dcms

Complaints and comments

As is customary in our replies, I would like to explain that if you are
dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request for
information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld from
you please send full details within two calendar months of the date of
this email to: [DCMS request email]

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning an investigation.

Annwyl Adran Digidol, Diwylliant, Cyfryngau a Chwaraeon,

I appreciate there are reasons for not disclosing the content of some correspondence, however I am not satisfied with the response and write to request a review, please.

Although the entirety of its content has been redacted, you have disclosed the heading of a letter that was sent on 31 March 2017 from the Wales Office to the DCMS with regards S4C board appointments. The basis of my request for review is my belief that at least that same level of disclosure - all headers up to and including the subject of the letter or email - is possible for all other correspondence which falls under my original request.

Yn gywir,

Aled Powell

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Aled Powell please sign in and let everyone know.

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