Publication - FOI/EIR release

Various questions concerning the Citizens’ Assembly: FOI review

Published: 30 Dec 2019
Part of:
Public sector

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

Published:
30 Dec 2019
Various questions concerning the Citizens’ Assembly: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/201900007669
Date received: 25 Nov 2019
Date responded: 23 Dec 2019
Information requested

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

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modifications.

However, before turning to the individual points you raise in your request for internal review, I would wish to reiterate that the Citizens' Assembly Scotland ('the Assembly') operates independently of - and is separate from - the Scottish Government. The principles under which the Assembly operates, including its independence from government, are clearly set out in its remit and terms of reference.

Additional information on the operation of the CAS, including the arrangements in place between the Scottish Minister and the Convenors, is set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the respective parties.

The Assembly has not been made subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). However, the Assembly is committed to being open and transparent across all its activities
and, as set out in its Information Handling Policy, responds to all written requests as if it were designated as a Scottish public authority under FOISA.

For additional information on the Assembly (as well as for inquiries about any other information you many want to request and which is not available from the Scottish Government) you may wish to contact the Assembly itself - by email at info@citizensassembly.scot or by post at Citizens' Assembly of Scotland, PO Box 24147, Edinburgh EH3 1GS.

To take the specific points you raise in turn:

On question 2 you consider the information to be incomplete with other information being withheld. Having undertaken comprehensive searches no further information has been identified falling within scope of this question. I would also note that the information previously provided to you in response to this question was publicly available to all potential applicants as part of the Invitation to Tender.

Similarly, in respect of question 3 and 4 you consider the information provided to be incomplete. The further searches referred to above have identified some additional information within scope of question 3 concerning information relating to selection bias. This includes the recruitment questionnaire (provided as an attachment) information relating to Mark Diffley's tender (also as an attachment) in addition to other relevant material (in the attached Annex).

I apologise this was not provided as part of the reply to your initial request.

With regard to question 4, I confirm the Scottish Government holds no information regarding the verification of the selection of members of the Assembly - section 17 of FOISA therefore applies.

In respect of question 5 you consider that the Scottish Government has not stated the basis of employment of the (then) co-convenors of the Assembly. Further information is included in the Annex.

In addition, in respect of all other questions, you ask that consideration be given to whether other information has been withheld.

On question 1 I confirm that the Scottish Government does not hold information to be signed by members of the Assembly. Section 17 of FOISA has therefore been correctly applied.

In respect of question 6, information on the contractual basis on which members of the Assembly are engaged and paid is not held by the Scottish Government - section 17 of FOISA therefore applies.However, as previously informed, along with reasonable travel expenses and support with childcare, all participants will receive a gift of £200 per weekend as a thank you for their participation.

With regard to question 7, I confirm that the two co-convenors are paid £300 for each day they spend on the work of the Assembly.

In confirming the previous response in terms of question 8, all information requests received by the Scottish Government - whether relating to the Assembly or not - follow the decision-making process as set out in the publicly available guidance. Section 25(1) of FOISA has therefore been correctly applied.

Finally, in respect of question 9, I confirm that the Scottish Government does not hold information in respect of a citizens' Assembly risk register. Section 17(1) of FOISA was therefore correctly applied.

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.

FOI/201900007669 - Annex

11 page PDF
115.5 kB

FOI/201900007669 - Tender Proposal

8 page PDF
496.7 kB

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