Scottish Learning Festival 2019 Keynote speakers pay: FOI release

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

Information requested

How much each keynote speaker (not working for Education Scotland) will be paid at the Scottish Learning Festival 2019?


The Scottish Learning Festival 2019 will have five key speakers this year as follows:

  • Mr John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
  • Pak Tee Ng, Associate Professor National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Gayle Gorman, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Chief Executive of Education Scotland
  • Claire Lavelle, The Hive of Wellbeing
  • Jaz Ampaw Farr, Inspirational speaker and Author

There is no fee incurred for the Deputy First Minister or Gayle Gorman.

The contract process is ongoing, and on the date of your request, one contract was fully in place, for Jaz Ampaw Farr.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information for the one keynote speaker who has a contract in place because an exemption under section 33(1)(b) commercial interests of FOISA applies to the information requested. 

The reason why this exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.


Section 33(1)(b) - commercial interests
An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the keynote speakers. Generally, we will provide the total value of a contract if requested however we do not provide a breakdown of the total value, i.e. the daily rate or the number of days the work is to take as this could give a competitor an unfair advantage in a bidding process. Given the contract detail requested is for a one hour keynote speech including travel to the venue, a competitor will get an understanding of the fee the speaker charges for this service, and disclosing this information would put them at disadvantage and risk of being undercut in future similar tendering exercises. It may also impact the ability of the Scottish Government to negotiate preferential rates in future.
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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of individuals who enter into Scottish Government contracts to ensure that there is a healthy and competitive market for speakers and that we are able to obtain competitive rates and achieve the best value for public money.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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