The upkeep and condition of Bute House: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/02543
Date received: 26 October 2017
Date responded: 19 April 2018

Information requested

Details all communication the Scottish Government has had regarding the upkeep and condition of Bute House, the First Minister's official residence, over the past three years. This may include copies of emails and other correspondence with Historic Environment Scotland the National Trust, as well as any building reports relating to Bute House.


Bute House is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and Historic Environment Scotland are responsible for the upkeep and condition of the fabric of the building. Our response to your request is attached as three pdfs.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in relation to some sections of the information requested, redactions have been made because an exemption under section 39(1) (health and safety) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained below.

In addition, in relation to current works, changes to the Bute House Drawing Room ceiling were identified as part of routine monitoring during the first half of October. Further investigations into the repair requirements took place - the ceiling as a whole was investigated and repairs commenced in October. The repair work was coordinated by Historic Environment Scotland. More information and costs relating to the repairs are available on the Scottish Government website – see link

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 39(1) of FOISA applies to the information you have requested in relation to the First Minister's accommodation. This exemption applies because we consider that release would be likely to endanger the safety of the First Minister.

This exemption is also subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. While we recognise that there is some public interest in release of this information in order to promote openness, there is a much greater public interest in avoiding significant risks to the safety of Ministers.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 17-02543 - related email correspondence.pdf
FOI 17-02543 - Trustees meeting report 2016.pdf


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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