Flag flying instructions for 2018: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/00262
Date received: 24 January 2018
Date responded: 22 February 2018

Information requested

Flag flying instructions Scotland altered for 2018 re Union Flag

In view of the recent press coverage of the above subject, and the apparent difference between 2017 and 2018 instructions, I would like to be advised of the following details:

1. When and where was the decision taken to have a new arrangement for 2018?

2. Who attended and took the decision?

3. When did Ms Sturgeon ratify it?

4. Where is the minuted record of the meeting?

5. Where and how long has it been written that the First Minister must be consulted for permission on any request for an alternative flag to be flown?

6. Why is there no clarification for flag protocol for other than government buildings?

7. Who decided the importance of 4 days for the Rainbow flag?

8. When, if ever, was the Scottish Parliament consulted for all of the above?


I will answer your request for details in the order in which they were asked.

1. There was no change to the flag flying policy that has been in place since 2010.

2. There was no change to the policy. Publication of the operational guidance regarding the flag flying policy is the responsibility of the Protocol and Honours Team.

3. See 2. Publication of the guidance was dealt with by the Protocol and Honours Team.

4. There is no information held as there was no meeting.

5. The guidance says that any requests to fly an alternative flag on exceptional occasions must be cleared in advance by the First Minister. This has been the case since at least 2007.

6. The guidance applies to the Scottish Government, its related Agencies and associated Departments only. The UK and other devolved governments each have their own flag flying guidance. Other public institutions and public buildings are notrequired to follow the guidance. It is, for example up to each individual Local Authority in Scotland as well as businesses and organisations to determine their own policies.

7. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, made the decision to fly the Rainbow flag on the four dates.

8. There is no requirement for the Scottish Government to consult the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament has its own flag flying protocol.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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