Cost of maintaining the Scottish Government estate: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/02500
Date received: 23 October 2017
Date responded: 24 November 2017

Information requested

The cost of maintaining the Scottish Government estate in 2006, 2011 and 2016; for the number of buildings on the Scottish Government estate for each of the three previously mentioned years; for the total civil service pay bill and number of civil servants for each of the three years; for the names of the three most costly buildings for the Scottish Government to maintain and costs of doing so for the past three years and for any briefing or correspondence between Ministers and civil servants on rationalizing the Scottish Government estate since April 2016.


The cost of maintaining the Scottish Government estate, and the number of buildings that comprise that estate, are shown in the table below for the years you specified:

Financial Year Maintenance Costs Number of Buildings
2006-07 £3,508,000 37
2011-12 £5,858,000 75
2016-17 £5,919,197 73

The Scottish Government estate increased significantly over 2008 and 2009 as a result of the absorption of the buildings of Communities Scotland (2008), Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (2009) and Fisheries Research Services (2009).

Some of the information you have requested in relation to the total cost of the Scottish Government Civil Service pay bill is available from:

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(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

The information you requested regarding the number of civil servants employed by the Scottish Government for the years that you specified (2006, 2011, 2016) is contained within our previous response to you (FoI/17/01397) which has been published: /publications/foi-17-01397/

Over the last year the Scottish Government has recruited additional staff to fill specialist roles associated with work to strengthen our digital capability and to create a social security agency following the devolution of new powers to Scotland.

The names of the three most costly buildings for the Scottish Government to maintain and costs of doing so for the past three years are:

Financial Year Maintenance Costs
2014/15 St Andrews House (Edinburgh) £179,556.55
Victoria Quay (Edinburgh) £301,456.72
Marine Laboratory (Aberdeen) £226,454.76
2015/16 St Andrews House (Edinburgh) £184,516.14
Victoria Quay (Edinburgh) £295,649.70
Marine Laboratory (Aberdeen) £332,883.62
2016/17 St Andrews House (Edinburgh) £189,889.84
Victoria Quay (Edinburgh) £304,012.74
Marine Laboratory (Aberdeen) £336,524.86

Scottish Government is running a significant programme of change across its estate, both for its core buildings and its wider network of arm's length bodies. With a baseline of 2012/13, it is on target to achieve a 25% reduction in its offices footprint, with a recurring annual saving of £28m by 2017/18. Adopting a new approach to how our people get the best use of their workplaces and of enabling technologies is an important part of this.

A programme of work was created to champion a more corporate and collaborative approach to property asset management across the public sector. This is known as the Smarter Workplaces Programme. Targets were set around a five year plan to reduce the size and cost of the central government office estate.

The central estate covers buildings owned or leased by Scottish Government, NDPBs, Agencies, non-Ministerial Departments and NHS Special Health Boards.

The Cabinet Secretary wrote to public bodies in October 2016 outlining progress with the programme (see letter attachment).

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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