- 28 May 2019
Date received: 1 May 2019
Date responded: 23 May 2019
Questions relating to allegations of bullying in NHS Highland, John Sturrock’s review of cultural issues in the board, and his subsequent report.
For ease I have responded to each question in the order that you asked them.
When did the Cabinet Secretary receive John Sturrock’s first draft of the report into bullying?
Mr Sturrock’s interim findings were presented to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on 5 February 2019. The Cabinet Secretary subsequently met with John Sturrock QC on 14 February 2019 to discuss those interim findings. The initial draft report was submitted to the Scottish Government on 27 March 2019 followed by a final report on 3 May 2019.
Did either the former Clinical Director and/or the former Chairman of the Board of NHS Highland see the Report in draft form before they stepped down?
No. Neither had sight of the report in its draft form as far as we know.
What meetings and/or conversations and/or communications did the Cabinet Secretary have with the former Clinical Director and/or the former Chairman of the Board of NHS Highland before they stepped down, regarding the bullying inquiry?
The Cabinet Secretary had no form of communication regarding Mr Sturrock’s review with either before they stepped down from their posts. The Cabinet Secretary did, however, ask for a meeting with David Alston. This took place on 27 February 2019 where he tendered his resignation.
When were the former Chairman and/or the former Chief Executive and/or the former Clinical Director informed of any issues directly related to them, regarding the Inquiry, and by whom?
The scope of the review was published by the Scottish Government when it was announced on 23 November 2018. Excerpts from the draft report were issued to those who were either directly or indirectly identified to allow them the opportunity to comment. Letters outlining the representation process were issued on 12 April 2019 by the Scottish Government.
How many people were given a copy of the draft report, final report or any extracts from the draft or final report, or made aware of any of the Inquiry’s findings, prior to it being made public, which mentioned them and when?
39 people were issued with excerpts from the final draft report on 12 April 2019.
Did any non-Executive Board members see a copy of the draft report, final report or any extracts from the draft or final report, or made aware of any of the Inquiry’s findings, prior to it being made public, if so, when?
Yes. Excerpts from the draft report were issued to those directly or indirectly identified within the draft report prior to it being made public. These were issued on 12 April 2019. The final report was not made available in advance of publication.
Did Professor Boyd Robertson and/or Iain Stewart see the draft report, final report or any extracts from the draft or final report, or made aware of any of the Inquiry’s findings report, before the Annual Meeting held on 26th April? And if so, when? Yes. Professor Boyd Robertson and Iain Stewart saw the draft report before the Annual Review meeting on 26 April 2019. Iain Stewart met with John Sturrock on 10 April 2019 where he first had sight of the draft report and findings; Professor Boyd Roberson subsequently had sight of the draft report in advance of 26 April 2019. We are not aware of the exact date this was made available to Professor Robertson.
What changes to the report have been made post any non-Executive Directors/ Executive Directors/Chairman or Chief Executive seeing the draft report or any extracts from the draft or final report, or being made aware of any of the Inquiry’s findings?
This is a fully independent report. Any comments received as part of the representation process were forwarded to John Sturrock QC, as author of the report, for consideration. Mr Sturrock undertook to make adjustments to his draft report to take account of points made, where he felt it was appropriate and necessary to do so. The Scottish Government were not provided with the specific detail of what changes were made due to the independent nature of the report.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
When did the Cabinet Secretary meet with John Sturrock between January and May 2019?
The Cabinet Secretary met with Mr Sturrock on 14 February 2019.
What communication has the Cabinet Secretary and/or her office had with John Sturrock and/or his office between January and May 2019?
John Sturrock wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on 11 January 2019.
Ms Freeman’s office responded on 22 January.
Ms Freeman received John Sturrock’s interim report on 5 February 2019.
Ms Freeman met with him on 14 February 2019.
Mr Sturrock wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on 20 February.
The Cabinet Secretary responded to Mr Sturrock on 22 February
Mr Sturrock sent a draft report to Scottish Government officials on 27 March 2019.
A letter and final report for publication was sent to the Cabinet Secretary on 3 May 2019, copying in Scottish Government officials
The Cabinet Secretary spoke to Mr Sturrock on 9 May ahead of her Ministerial statement
When was the Scottish Government first made aware of any bullying allegations at NHS Highland? Given the indefinite scope of the timescale for this question we requested clarification on the date from which you were looking for this information. It was confirmed that the timescale you were looking for was from 1st January 2011. We have conducted a search of our records and the earliest correspondence on file within the time period that mentions the term bullying was received on 16 March 2014.
When and to whom did the Scottish Government send letters to, advising them that they may wish to seek legal advice prior to the publication of the report?
Letters outlining the representation process were issued to those directly or indirectly identified within the draft report prior to it being made public. These were issued by the Scottish Government on 12 April 2019.
Due to the confidential nature of those letters it would not be appropriate to disclose who they were issued to.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House