Publication - FOI/EIR release

Funding and correspondence in relation to Oxfam projects: FOI review

Published: 22 Jun 2018

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

Published:
22 Jun 2018
Funding and correspondence in relation to Oxfam projects: FOI review

FOI reference: FOI/18/00490
Date received: 6 June 2018
Date responded: 22 June 2018

Information requested

  • Details of all funding provided by the Scottish Government to Oxfam (including Oxfam Scotland, Oxfam UK and Oxfam worldwide). Details should include the amount and the purpose it was given.

  • Details of correspondence (including letters, emails and records of any phone calls) between Scottish Government Ministers and officials and Oxfam Scotland relating to funding above or to any other discussions about funding Oxfam's services in the UK or abroad.

  • Details of any correspondence, documents or meeting notes where Scottish Government Ministers or officials sought assurances around Oxfam's child protection or safeguarding procedures prior to agreeing to fund services. Any record that confirmations were sought or received by the Scottish Government would suffice.

  • Details of briefings, emails or notes of meetings by Scottish Government Ministers or officials relating to Oxfam, including correspondence with Oxfam by Scottish Government Ministers or officials, since the investigation into Oxfam's project in Haiti was published in the Times newspaper on 9th February 2018.

You subsequently clarified that you would like:

  • Details of funding given to Oxfam for international development work going back to programmes in and around 2006 - grant confirmations, or letters with details of grants would suffice.

  • With regards to the last point specifically information relating to the Scottish Government's response to the current Oxfam sexual abuse situation.

Response

Further to my email of 6 June 2018, I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) for the Scottish Government's correspondence with Oxfam regarding safeguarding and the protection of vulnerable groups.

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications. I can confirm that at the time of your request, the Scottish Government did not hold correspondence between the Scottish Government and Oxfam regarding safeguarding and the protection of vulnerable groups. However I note that by the time of your clarification of the request, the Minister for International Development Dr Alasdair Allan had written to all Scottish Government partner organisations asking them to confirm that they have robust safeguarding policies in place to protect vulnerable groups; and, if they had become aware of specific incidents, that they had been referred to the relevant authorities where necessary. I apologise that this was omitted from our original response to you. The letter to Oxfam is attached at Annex A.

I also note that the amount of information originally requested was too large to email, and that my colleague requested a postal address to send all the information to you which was not received. Please get in touch with a postal address if you would like the remainder of this information posted out to you. Part of the information which was available for release (as outlined in the Schedule of Documents related to this case and available https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-00490/ ) included confirmation that a telephone call took place between the Minister and Oxfam. This is attached at Annex B.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs applies to a small amount of the information in Annexes A and B because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Although not within scope of your request, I can provide some further information on the Scottish Government's approach to safeguarding. The Scottish Government's position on "Safeguarding the beneficiaries of our international development work" and Safeguarding Policy are available at the following webpages:

https://beta.gov.scot/policies/international-development/

and

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/safeguarding-policy/

Furthermore, the Scottish Government's grant conditions make it explicit that partner organisations must have robust safeguarding policies in place and have carried out due diligence on their in-country partner in that regard too. Any new funding will be subject to these conditions, available on our website:

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/international-development-fund-grant-management-stages/

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 Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG