Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts - losses, special payments and gifts disclosures: FOI release

Published: 28 Oct 2019

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

Published:
28 Oct 2019
Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts - losses, special payments and gifts disclosures: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/02231
Date received: 27 Sep 2019
Date responded: 25 Oct 2019
Information requested

You asked for details regarding the 2018-19 losses, special payments and gifts disclosures on pages 57 and 58 of the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019.

Response

These Consolidated Accounts contain information collated from a number of Scottish Public Bodies, and a full description of these bodies and links to their individual accounts are provided on page 14 of the Consolidated Accounts you referenced in your questions (short link: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839601996).

The information I have provided below has been gathered from a number of separate organisations, as identified in each separate answer.

1. Request: Further details of the loss of £1.76m in the Finance, Economy and Fair Work portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB)
£1,759k - 1,085 cases.

The total sum is in regard to fees and outlays incurred over the life of bankruptcy cases.  Fees and outlays incurred in a case are only able to be recovered if there are sufficient funds gathered.  In many cases, costs will only be partially recovered or not at all.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

2. Request: Further details of the loss of £3.66m in the Health and Sport portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: NHS Boards and *Scottish Government (Core)

NHS Boards
Category Total cases Total £
Theft / Arson / Wilful Damage 171 182,068
Fraud, Embezzlement & other irregularities (inc. attempted fraud) 105 58,689
Nugatory & Fruitless Payments  57 10,232
Claims Abandoned 2,001 1,629,611
Stores Losses 919 1,152,284
Losses of Furniture & Equipment and Bedding & Linen in circulation 623 178,654
Damage to Buildings and Fixtures 5 1,711
Extra-Statutory & Extra-regulationary Payments 1 25,000
Other Losses 228 198,670
Total 4,110 3,436,919

*Scottish Government – Health and Social Care Directorates

Category Total cases Total £
Nursing bursary 142 219,361

Notes:

  • Categories above set out the reasons for losses.
  • Nugatory and fruitless payments are payments for which liability should not have been incurred.
  • Claims abandoned are sums deemed irrecoverable, following exhaustion of standard debt collection processes.
  • Extra-statutory and extra-regulationary payments, irrespective of value, can only be paid following approval by the Scottish Government. Payments of this nature are only due following a) receipt of instructions to an NHS Board from Scottish Government to pay or b) approval for payment by Scottish Government as a result of proposals formally submitted by an NHS Board.
  • The nursing bursary loss relates to the value of student nursing bursaries written off or cancelled by SAAS in-year.
  • Losses relate to the value of money or property belonging to an NHS Board or Scottish Government Directorate which has been lost, damaged or otherwise deemed irrecoverable.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.  However, you may wish to contact each NHS board who may be able to help you.  The reasons why we do not have the information are explained in the Annex to this letter.

3. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.05m in the Education and Skills portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer, part 1: Disclosure Scotland
£52,543 - losses arose from debts that DS has written-off that are greater than 90 days old.  These debts relate to applications processed but not paid, involving 706 customers with an average debt of £74.

Answer, part 2: Education Scotland
£88 - Thirteen individual write-offs relating to exchange rate differences, postage charges and miscellaneous.

4. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.13m in the Justice portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Scottish Prison Service

No. Cases Amount £ Expenditure Type Reason for Loss
18 73,000 Debtor Write-off No expected benefit in pursuing further
58 1,000 Losses and gains relating
to prisoner balances
No expected benefit in pursuing further
68 2,000 Losses and gains resulting
from cash shortages etc.
Missing cash
100 9,000 Losses and gains relating
to physical stock
Damages/obsolete stock and differences
found during physical stock counts
195 11,000 Losses and gains relating to
prisoner's canteen
Damages/obsolete stock etc.
19 36,000 Payments made where no
goods/service was received
Cancellation of events and
other fruitless payments
458 132,000  

5. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.02m in the Rural Economy portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
£16,689 - relates to 41 invoices issued by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) for items including seed, soil and plant testing, sale of antibodies, labelling, rent receipt, DNA testing and meeting costs.  Cost recovery of amounts, between £0.20 and £6,597 per part or whole invoice, is deemed no longer possible or not cost effective.

6. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.33m in the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Transport Scotland
£333,420 loss relates to 27 damage to Crown property claims, within the trunk road network, which have been written off due to being unable to identify the culprit or no chance of recovering the costs.  This information was recently disclosed in Transport Scotland’s annual accounts - https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/45827/transport-scotland-annual-report-and-account-2018-19.pdf

Although categorised as Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform portfolio in the published accounts, this £0.33m should have been categorised as Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity portfolio.

7. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.004m in the Social Security and Older People portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Social Security Scotland
The losses for Social Security Scotland per the consolidated accounts are detailed below:

  • overpayments of benefits – Agency errors £4,000

Further background, including errors information, was previously disclosed on page 43 of Social Security Scotland's annual accounts: https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/what-we-do/corporate-publications/annual-report-and-accounts

8. Request: Further details of the loss of £0.05m in the Administration portfolio mentioned on page 57.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount lost and as much information as possible describing the loss including what the money was spent on and how it came to be classed as lost.

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
42,078 - 11 cases of bad debt write-offs/adjustments
£1,433 - 6 cases of overpayments of pay related items written-off.
£6,578 - 18 cases of lost property involving loss of a fixed assets (e.g. scrapped, stolen, misplaced, etc.)

9. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Finance, Economy and Fair Work portfolio of £0.37m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: Scottish Public Pensions Agency
£367,000 - Reinstatement of an individual’s membership of the National Health Service Pension Scheme (Scotland).
£7,139 - 14 cases of compensation following internal dispute resolution procedure.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Answer: Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA)
£7,139 – 14 cases of compensation following internal dispute resolution procedure.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

£367,000 - As reported in the SPPA Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19 (https://pensions.gov.scot/corporate-publications/annual-report-and-accounts) this is a provision for the reinstatement of an individual’s membership of the National Health Service Pension Scheme (Scotland). And no material losses or special payments should have been reported for this case.

10. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Health and Sport portfolio of £44.9m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: NHS Boards

Amounts Paid:

Category Total cases Total £
Compensation Payments - legal obligation 578 42,385,910
Ex-gratia payments    
· Extra-contractual payments 1 25,000
· Compensation payments (ex-gratia) 390 2,468,972
· Other payments 110 30,899
Total 1,079 44,910,781

Notes:

  • Compensation payments – legal obligation: payments fall under this category where a liability to pay has been established by way of Court Order or other legally binding arbitration award. Payments of this nature include amounts awarded under the Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme (CNORIS) for compensation for injuries to persons, damage to property and unfair dismissal.
  • Ex-gratia payments: payments are ex-gratia where there is no statutory cover or legal liability for an NHS Board or Scottish Government Directorate to pay. This includes:
    • out-of-court settlements for compensation for injuries to persons, damage to property and unfair dismissal;
    • extra-contractual payments to contractors (not including arbitration); and
    • other payments for maladministration or loss of personal effects.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.  However, you may wish to contact each NHS board who may be able to help you.  The reasons why we don’t have the information are explained in the Annex to this letter.

11. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Education and Skills portfolio of £0.01m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: Disclosure Scotland
£7,950 – 2 cases.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

12. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Justice portfolio of £3.61m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: Scottish Prison Service

No. Cases Amount £ Expenditure Type Reason for Special Payment
47 487,000 Payments to staff relating
to Injury at work
Compensation through
Civil Service Pension Scheme
10 183,000 Payments to staff relating
to Accidents at work
Claims from staff
56 2,372,000 Payments to staff relating
to Absence Management*
Compensation through
Civil Service Pension Scheme
5 124,000 Payments to staff relating
to Employment Tribunals
Claims from staff
7 6,000 Payments to third parties for loss  Claims from third parties
24 405,000 Compensation payments to prisoners relating
to injury/human rights actions
Claims from prisoners
133 9,000 Compensation payments to prisoners
for loss/damage to property
Claims from prisoners
3 1,000 Late payment interest paid to suppliers Statutory charge for late payment
20 11,000 Compensation payments to staff
for loss/damage to property
Claims from staff
17 9,000 Repairs to vehicles damaged in accidents Damaged caused by motor accidents
322 3,607,000    

13. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Rural Economy portfolio of £0.06m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
£36,840 - Compensation to outgoing tenant of Scottish Ministers crofting estates for permanent improvements made to a croft following the crofting tenancy termination under the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993.
£25,000 - An application to the New Entrants Capital Grant Scheme was approved by the Area Office, however, customer was ineligible to apply and the application should have been rejected. The Scottish Government has made an ex-gratia payment to the customer on the basis that they have incurred expenses after receiving permission from Scottish Government to proceed with their proposal.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

14. Request: Further details of the special payments in the Administration portfolio of £0.83m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid, why it was paid and if permissible, who it was paid to.

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
Payment to Former First Minister:

£512,250 was paid in accordance with a decision of the Court of Session to award expenses to Mr Salmond on a specified basis.  Established procedures were followed to agree the final sum.  As agreement was reached, there was no need to incur the additional expense of having the account taxed by the Auditor of Court.  This was previously noted on page 58 of the Accounts in question.

Relocations:

  • A total of £276,454.86 was paid which was made up of 3 payments of £115,618.45, £51,416.69 and £109,419.72.
  • These payments were the shortfall on the Guaranteed Sales Price figure following the sale of 3 properties through the Permanent Transfer scheme.  The 3 properties eventually were sold at auction as a result of no interest when on the open market despite reducing the asking price.
  • The three payments were made to TEAM Relocation, the Scottish Government’s Relocation Contractor, to reimburse the shortfall on the Guaranteed Sales Price figure which TEAM Relocation released to the individuals to purchase at their new workplace, as per the Permanent Transfer Scheme.

15. Request: Further details of the gifts in the Culture, Tourism and External Affairs portfolio of £0.12m mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid for the gift, who it was provided to, and any occasion it was designed to mark (if permissible).

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
£87 - Two bottles of Harris Gin gifts presented to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Ed Llewellyn, British Ambassador to France, by the First Minister on her trip to open the Scottish Government’s Innovation and Investment Hub in Paris.
£114,000 - Donation to UN Women for a Programme in Malawi.  Given in recognition and celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
£4,000 - Three cash gifts to prize-winners of the first Global Voices Competition, developed as part of Year of Young People 2018.

16. Request: Further details of the gifts in the Administration portfolio of £0.002 mentioned on page 58.  The information should include, but not be limited to, a breakdown of the amount paid for the gift, who it was provided to, and any occasion it was designed to mark (if permissible).

Answer: Scottish Government (Core)
£1,869 - 61 cases tabled further below.

Gift exchanges are undertaken as a courtesy or an expression of gratitude during Ministerial engagements or meetings, in particular with overseas guests or host  governments/organisations, and in line with different countries’ gift traditions.  Scottish Ministers present gifts which relate directly to Scotland: showcasing our country and the best of our nation’s talent, produce and contribution to the wider world.

There may be instances where Ministers have presented gifts which have not been recorded, e.g. because they did not come from central stock, or where provided by agencies of the Scottish Government.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the detailed information you have requested.  The reasons why we do not hold the information are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Recipient by Gift Cost per Gift £
Carrie Paxton Thistle Glass Curve Ornament  
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon 38
Sir Dominic Asquith, High Commissioner 38
Carrie Paxton Thistle Dish  
Dominic McAllister, Deputy High Commisioner, Bangalore 28
Dr Akhil Kumar, Hinduja Global Solutions 28
Mr Adam Foster, Aurigene Technologies 28
Mr Anand Dureja, OYO Hotels 28
Mr Anthony Joseph, Aurigene Technologies 28
Mr Bhanumurthy BM, Wipro Ltd 28
Mr Deven Khanna, Bharti Enterprises 28
Mr Nagarjuna, Wipro Ltd 28
Mr Narendra Chirmule, Biocon 28
Mr Partha DeSarkar 28
Mr Sanjeev Nikore, Tech Mahindra 28
Mr Siddhartha Das Gupta 28
Ms Anjaili Singh, Genpact 28
Robert Burns in Your Pocket Book  
Alzheimer's Society, Charity Auction 7.99
Brain Tumour Research, Charity Auction 7.99
Caitlin Paterson, Broughton High School, Charity Auction 7.99
Loretto School, Charity Auction 7.99
MND Charity Auction 7.99
Robert Burns Poems and Songs - bound book  
Andrew Grant - Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh 24
Angie Heise, President, Civil Group, Leidos (USA) 36
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International (USA) 36
Austrian Ambassador 36
CFA President Li Xiaolin 36
Chen Baoshen, Education Minister, Beijing 36
Dean Joel Hellman, Georgetown University (USA) 36
Dr James Cantor, Chief Technology Officer, Leidos (USA) 36
Dr Usha Srinivasan, VP, MaRS Discovery Centre and Vector Institute 36
Ellen Wong, US Consul General 36
HE Mr Rudolf Huygelen, Ambasador to Belgium 36
Irish Ambassador to the UK, Adrian O'Neill 36
James Waddell, Toronto Stock Exchange 36
Jan De Silva, Toronto Region Board of Trade 36
Jane Sun, Shanghai, Ctrip 36
Jen Easterly, MD &  Global Head, Cybersecurity Fusion Centre,
Morgan Stanley (USA)
36
John Banigan, CEO, Verdant Power (USA) 36
Mayor Kurz of Mannheim, Germany 36
Minister Lu Shugang 36
Mr LIU Xin, Deputy Director of Tianjin Municipal Education Commission 36
Mr Michael Muller, Mayor of Berlin and President of the Bundesrat 36
Mr Wei LOU, Deputy Director of The Palace Museum Beijing 36
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
36
Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey (USA) 36
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director for UN Women (USA) 36
President HONG, COES, Shanghai 36
President ZHANG 36
Raffaele Trombetta, Italian Ambassador 36
Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to China 36
Stephen Leonard, General Manager, North America IBM (USA) 36
Susan Jane le Jeune d'Allegeershecque, CMG,
British High Commissioner to Canada
36
Trey Taylor, Co-Founder, Verdant Power (USA) 36
UK Ambassador to Germany, Sir Sebastian Wood 36
Vice Mayor Weng Tiehui, Shanghai 36
Vice Premier Hu Chunhua 36
Yung Wu, CEO, MaRS Discovery Centre and Vector Institute, Toronto 36
Scottish Government Quaich 4.5"   
Yves Lemarchand, Belgian Consul 42
Mr YUAN Yafei, Chairman, SanPower 42
Tartan Scotty Dog (Greyfriars) decoration/cushion  
Child 10.42
Cody McManus Fundraiser 10.42
Children's books (Gifted)  
Children's Charity Auction and Cody McManus Fundraiser nil
Grand Total 1,868.79

Annex - Reasons for not providing information
In regards to requests 1, 9, 11 and 13, the following exemption applies

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 bankruptcy cases; pension cases, crofter tenancy termination and grant scheme applicant, so 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.

In regards to requests 2 and 10, the Scottish Government does not have the information

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested.  The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the NHS Boards would each hold the further breakdown of information you are looking for.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

In regards to request 16, the Scottish Government does not have the information

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested.  The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because we do not record occasions that gifts are designed to mark so it is not possible to provide that information.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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 Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG