Shared services provision across public sector: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/00579
Date received: 16 February 2018
Date responded: 7 March 2018

Information requested

a) How the Scottish Government offer a 'shared service' offering to public bodies eg procurement support/training etc - why do you think this is not displacement of the private market?

b) How much money do SG make from this service?

c) Why is the service not delivered by private sector who can deliver this and frankly the market is saturated with such companies?

d) What is you legal advice/guidance to explain why you can offer these services without a procurement process by public bodies using them?

e) What is the SG core directorate PCIP score?

f) What is the SG maverick spend percentage of total spend?

g) The reform Act was implemented to the government made process easier for SMEs.

i) Confirm what the SG spend with SMEs was before between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

ii) Also confirm how many micro SMEs have won SG contracts in the last 12 months.


Regarding question (a), we collaborate with public bodies, based on the foundations established by the Christie Commission report 2011 on "The Future Delivery of Public Services" – empowering individuals and communities, integrating service provision, preventing negative outcomes and increasing efficiency.

Regarding question (b), I wish to refer you to the section on Fees and Expenses in the Scottish Public Finance Manual, which states "The standard approach to setting charges for public services is full cost recovery." I can confirm that all of the SG Shared Service providers operate on a non-profit making basis and aim to cover their costs for the provision of the service.

Regarding question c), there is no obligation on public bodies to use any of the SG Shared Service offerings and it is for the public bodies concerned, to decide on the most effective method of delivery for these services.

Regarding question d), while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a response to the information you have requested because of an exemption(s) under section(s) s.36(1) (confidentiality in legal proceedings) of FOISA applies. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

Regarding question e), the PCIP assessment for Scottish Government was F2.

Regarding question f), the Scottish Government does not centrally maintain a comprehensive figure for out of contract spend. We are working with our finance team to improve procurement management information and this will allow us to record a comprehensive figure for out of contract spend in the future. Through adaptation of our finance systems and more proactive contract management we plan, in the future, to reduce any out of contract spend.

Regarding question g), some of the information you have requested (Scottish Government, SME spend for and prior to 2015/16) is available from

The FOI reference is FOI16-01395. 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 listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy. In addition to the information published previously, the Scottish Government spend with SMEs for the period 2016/17 is £89.58m.

With reference to the second part of question g) In the previous 12 month period (31/1/17 – 1/2/18) 165 micro contractors (between 1-9 employees) have been awarded contracts.

Reasons for not providing information

Section 36(1) – legal advice.

An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to some of the information requested because it is legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

This exemption is 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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

About FOI

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


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top