Publication - FOI/EIR release

Gender Recognition consultation and responsibilities of Review Panel: FOI release

Published: 9 Aug 2018

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

Published:
9 Aug 2018
Gender Recognition consultation and responsibilities of Review Panel: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01981
Date received: 23 July 2018
Date responded: 6 August 2018

Information requested

The Scottish Government's consultation on reforming the General Recognition Act 2004 (the GRA), which closed on 1 March 2018.

You asked for information in response to your questions:

1.

A) What is [the writer's] position and what are [the writer's] responsibilities on the GRA Review Panel?

B) What was [the writer's] position, and what were [the writer's] responsibilities, on the recent GRA consultation?

C) To whom [does the writer] report?

2.

A) Who is in charge of the GRA Review Panel?

B) And, to whom do they report? And to what Minister?

3.

A) Who was responsible, i.e. who had overall responsibility within the civil service, for the delivery of the GRA Consultation documentation?

B) And to whom do they report? And, to what Minister?

C) Who was responsible for the identification of stakeholders and the 'development of the list'? And to whom do they report?

D) And who had overall responsibility for all legal facets? And to whom do they report?

E) And who was the decision maker with overall responsibility for the scientific and medical facets; inputs (consultations inter alia) and empirical data, and most particularly medical evidence? And to whom do they report?

4.

A) Who in the Scottish government's civil service has accountability (financial/cost/benefit) for all consultations?

B) And to whom do they report? And, to what Minister?

C) Who in the Scottish Government has highest level responsibility for civil service Quality and Professional Standards? And, for professional standards of service vis-a-vis the public?

5.

You also asked, with reference to your letter of 13 May 2018 addressed to the First Minister, who in the Scottish Government is the chief scientific officer/official with accountability for evidence and scientific method; data quality and integrity, review and acceptance of statistics, methodologies and analyses; i.e. ensuring a solid peer reviewed and substantive empiric base of supporting evidence? And who is the Chief Analyst with oversight of analytical quality and standards?

Your letter asks us to provide full names, titles, position, main qualifications and names of superiors along with accurate organisation relationships and addresses.

Response

I enclose some of the information you requested in response to your questions.

In this instance the Scottish Government does not hold some of the information you have requested. This is because there is no GRA Review Panel and because there is no person with the title Chief Analyst.

In this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

Some of the information you have requested is available from the www.gov.scot and the www.beta.gov.scot websites. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed in this response, then please contact me again and I will send you paper copies.

General

Before I respond to your specific questions, it may help to provide some background on the civil service.

The role of civil servants in the Scottish administration is to assist the Scottish Ministers in the development and implementation of their policies, as well as the delivery of public services. There is information on the role of civil servants, and the structure of the Scottish Government at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/civil-service/. Civil Service standards are set out in the Civil Service Code at https://beta.gov.scot/publications/civil-service-code/.

Some civil servants work in roles which do not require specific professional qualifications, whereas other civil service roles do require professional qualifications.

Your questions

1. A), B), C) The writer's position and responsibilities on the GRA Review Panel and in relation to the GRA consultation, and to whom does the writer report

There is no GRA Review Panel. The Gender Recognition Panel handle applications for legal gender recognition under the GRA. There is information about the Gender Recognition Panel at https://www.gov.uk/apply-gender-recognition-certificate. The Gender Recognition Panel were not responsible for the development of the consultation, which was the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

In respect of the development of the consultation, I am a policy official in the Family Law team in the Civil Law and Legal System Division of the Justice Directorate. The Scottish Government FOI release at https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-01647/ includes an organisational chart for the Justice Directorate. My line manager is Simon Stockwell, Head of Family Law.

The Justice Directorate forms part of the Directorate General for Education, Communities and Justice. You can find more information about the Directorate General structure of the Scottish Government at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/. There is a list of directorates at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/.

There is information about the Justice Directorate at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/justice/. You can access information about the Director-General Education Communities and Justice at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/civil-service/director-general-education-communities-justice/ and about the Director of Justice at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/justice/neil-rennick/.

The Family Law Team worked with other colleagues in Scottish Government and public sector organisations in preparing the consultation. You can find information about the consultation preparation process and those involved in the Scottish Government FOI Release at: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-02964/.

The content of the consultation was approved by the Scottish Ministers.

2. A) & B) Who is in charge of the GRA Review Panel? To whom do they report and to what Minister?

There is no GRA Review Panel.

The Cabinet Secretary with portfolio responsibility for legal gender recognition and the GRA is now Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People. You can find information about her and her portfolio of responsibilities at https://beta.gov.scot/about/who-runs-government/cabinet-and-ministers/cabinet-secretary-for-social-security-and-older-people/.

3. A)& B) Who was responsible… within the civil service for the delivery of the GRA consultation document, to whom do they report and to what Minister?

The Family Law Team worked with other teams in the Scottish Government in preparing the consultation document.

The Cabinet Secretary with portfolio responsibility for the Gender Recognition Act 2004 at the time the consultation was prepared and published was Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities. You can see her Ministerial Foreword to the consultation at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/11/5459/347284.

The Scottish Ministers approved the content of the consultation.

C) Who was responsible for the identification of stakeholders and the development of the list and to whom do they report?

By "the list", I understand that you are referring to the list of organisations to whom we highlighted the consultation's publication by email or letter listed in Annex K of the consultation at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/11/5459/347304.

As stated, the Family Law Team worked with other teams in preparing the consultation.

The Scottish Ministers approved the content of the consultation.

D) Who had overall responsibility for all legal facets and to whom do they report?

The Scottish Government Legal Directorate (SGLD) provides legal services and advice to the Scottish Government and its agencies. You can find further information on the work of this Directorate at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/legal-services/.

E) And who was the decision maker with overall responsibility for the scientific and medical facets; inputs (consultations inter alia) and empirical data and most particularly medical evidence? And to whom do they report?

Information provided in the Scottish Government FOI Release at: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-02964/, contains information about the teams in Scottish Government who supported the Family Law Team in the preparation of the consultation. This includes assistance from the Communities Analysis Division. The Communities Analysis Division forms part of the Housing and Social Justice Directorate in the Directorate General Education, Communities and Justice. Information on the Housing and Social Justice Directorate is at: https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/housing-and-social-justice/lesley-fraser/.

4. A) and B) Who in the Scottish Government's civil service has accountability (financial/cost/benefit) for all consultations? To whom do they report and to what Minister?

The Director General Education, Communities and Justice has responsibility for consultations which are coordinated by officials within the Justice Directorate. You can also access information about the Director-General Education, Communities and Justice at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/civil-service/director-general-education-communities-justice/.

C) Who in the Scottish Government has highest level responsibility for civil service Quality and Professional Standards? And for professional standards of service vis-à-vis the public?

Leslie Evans is the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government. You can access more information about the Permanent Secretary's role at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/civil-service/permanent-secretary/

  1. Who in the Scottish Government is the chief scientific officer/official with accountability for evidence and scientific method ….? And who is the Chief Analyst with oversight of analytical quality and standards?

Professor Sheila Rowan MBE was appointed as Chief Scientific Adviser in 2016. There is more information about this role at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/advanced-learning-and-science/sheila-rowan/.

There is no official in the Scottish Government with the title of Chief Analyst.

The Chief Statistician is Roger Halliday. There is information about them and their role at: https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About/ChiefStatistician.

There is also a Chief Social Researcher, Audrey MacDougall, who is a Deputy Director in the Communities Analysis Division. There is information about this role and social research at https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Research/About/Social-Research/about.

The Chief Economic Adviser, Gary Gillespie, is responsible for providing analytical support for Ministers. There is further information about them and the role of the Chief Economic Adviser at https://beta.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/chief-economist-office/gary-gillespie/.

The Scottish Government FOI Release at: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-02964/ sets out the various teams in the Scottish Government who assisted the Family Law Team in preparing the consultation. In particular in relation to the identification of the available evidence, colleagues in the Communities Analysis Division assisted in the preparation of the consultation. Professor Rowan, Roger Halliday, Audrey MacDougall and Gary Gillespie were not directly involved in the preparation of the consultation.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption applies.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal data) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because it is personal data of third parties. In your request you ask for the personal data of Scottish Government officials, in particular for their names and qualifications. We have applied the exemption to the names of officials (other than those in the senior civil service and that of the writer's line manager). As regards the qualifications of officials, we have withheld this information except to the extent that this information forms part of published information on the www.gov.scot website or the http://www.beta.gov.scot/ website. Disclosing this personal data would contravene Article 21 of the General Data Protection Regulation (right to object to processing).

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.

About FOI

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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