Publication - FOI/EIR release

Various questions concerning the Citizens’ Assembly: FOI release

Published: 26 Nov 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
26 Nov 2019
Various questions concerning the Citizens’ Assembly: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900005919
Date received: 30 Oct 2019
Date responded: 22 Nov 2019
Information requested

Provide the following information (all information provided in this section must be pre-existing at the date of this request):
1. A copy of any / all documentation required to be signed by the citizens.
2. All instructions and guidance provided to Mark Diffley or his company regarding the selection of citizens.
3. All information held setting out how selection bias was to be identified and overcome in the selection of citizens.
4. All information held setting out how the Scottish Government have independently verified the selection of citizens (so as to prevent the selection of friends and family or other irregularities).

Please answer the following questions:
5. Describe the contractual basis the convenors are engaged (such as employed, self-employed, employed by third party)
6. Describe the contractual basis the citizens are engaged and paid.
7. How much are the convenors being paid for their work with the assembly?
8. Do FOI requests relating to the Citizens Assembly follow the same clearance process as Scottish Government FOI requests in that they may be sent for clearance to specials advisors and approved for release by Ministers?
9. Does the Citizens Assembly have a register of interests in which all third parties / contractors who participate (other than citizens) can record political party affiliation or other matters relevant to the Citizens’ Assembly’s business.

Response

Before I address the individual questions you have raised, it may be helpful if I explain that the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland operates independently from the Scottish Government. Further details of this can be read in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Scottish Ministers and the Convenors of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland. For this reason, the Scottish Government does not hold some of the information you have requested. However, that information may be held by the Secretariat to the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland which can be contacted by email at info@citizensassembly.scot or by post at Citizens' Assembly of Scotland, PO Box 24147, Edinburgh, EH3 1GS.

1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The reason for this is any documentation which may have been required to be signed by members of the Citizens’ Assembly prior to their appointment to the Assembly would be held by the Citizens’ Assembly, which operates independently of the Scottish Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

2. The Specification of Requirements regarding the selection of members of the Citizens’ Assembly was published as part of an Invitation to Tender on the Public Contracts Scotland website on 14 June 2019. A revised version of the specification was then put on the website on 3 July 2019. The document is no longer available on the website as the Tender Return Date has passed. However, I enclose a copy of the final specification which was published in Annex A of this letter.

3. The information you have requested is enclosed in Annex B of this letter.

4. The Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested. The reason for this is decisions about verification of the selection of members of the Citizens’ Assembly are a matter for the Citizens’ Assembly, which operates independently of the Scottish Government. Information about Assembly members and their identities was passed directly from Mark Diffley Research and Consultancy Ltd. to the Citizens’ Assembly Secretariat, and has never been held by the Scottish Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

5. The convenors of the Citizens’ Assembly are Ministerial appointees.

6. Scottish Ministers agreed that Assembly members will receive a gift of thanks of £200 per weekend for their time and contribution. Members’ travel and accommodation and other reasonable expenses, such as child care, will also be reimbursed. Aside from this, decisions about all other terms and conditions of the appointment of members to the Citizens’ Assembly are a matter for the Citizens’ Assembly, which operates independently of the Scottish Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

7. Scottish Ministers have agreed a daily fee of £300 for each day a Convenor dedicates to working on the Assembly. In addition to attending Assembly meetings, a Convener can work on the Assembly for up to 8 days per month.

8. Decisions about all FOI requests received by the Scottish Government are taken on a case-by-case basis. Information about the criteria for decision making which the Scottish Government agreed with the Scottish Information Commissioner can be read online at: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/factsheet/2019/02/foi-improvement-project/documents/scottish-information-commissioner-recommendation-1-criteria-for-decision-making/scottish-information-commissioner-recommendation-1-criteria-for-decision-making/govscot%3Adocument
Additionally, you can find details of the FOI training and guidance materials for Scottish Government staff at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/freedom-of-information-document-collection/
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

9. The Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested. The reason for this is decisions about a register of interests for the Citizens’ Assembly is a matter for the Citizens’ Assembly, which operates independently of the Scottish Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

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.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG