You asked for the following:
1. Please can you provide information relating to the tendering process (including invitation to tender documentation, number of bid submitted and a copy of the successful bid) and details of the decision-making process preceding the award of a contract to analyse consultation responses, as noted in email correspondence between Philip Canavan, Ian Welsh and 'panel members', dated 11 September 2018:
"...an independent analyst has submitted a bid to carry out the analysis of responses for the Panel’s consultation. Analytical colleagues and myself have had an initial look at the bid and see no reason why the contract shouldn’t be awarded. I have attached the bid for your consideration. If you are happy then I can make the necessary arrangements and organise an inception meeting next week to get things rolling."
2. Please can you provide all information relating to the subsequent meeting between Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd and the panel chair and members, e.g. correspondence and minutes of meetings referenced in the same email correspondence:
"I am writing to inform you that an independent analyst has been awarded the contract for the analysis of the consultation responses, as approved by the Chair. Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd will be completing the analysis and have confirmed they are ready to begin their work once the consultation commences. [redacted text] and his colleague [redacted text] are hoping to meet with the Chair on his return from leave and have expressed their interest in meeting the Panel to provide information on their research methodology and answer any question members may have."
3. When did the contract commence and how much has been paid to the consultant to date, given that no public consultation has yet been undertaken?
4. With reference to the 'GIRFEC Leadership Offer - Project Initiation Document PID - 25 September 2018', also outlined in the above FOI response, was the 'offer' initiated by Children in Scotland or by an associated individual; or was it invited by the Scottish government and subject to a transparent tendering process? And what steps were taken to ensure fair competition and equality of opportunity in recruitment of an 'associate' by Children in Scotland for a publicly funded role? Please provide relevant documentation.
"It is proposed that this project is funded through a grant payment to Children in Scotland - Year 1 - £24,960 (VAT not payable) Year 2 - £49,920 (VAT not payable) – indicative."
5. Please also provide actual costs for the above project from inception to date, broken down by staff costs and non-staff costs, and details of who was appointed project leader.
To answer your first question, I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. 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 and contact details, 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.
I have enclosed a copy of the invitation to tender which you requested. I have further attached a copy of an email dated 5 September 2018 between the Chair and Secretariat of the Panel in which the Chair is informed that a bid has been received.
We have not provided a copy of the successful tender, however, as it is protected under s33(1)(b) of FOISA in that disclosure would (or would be likely to) prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation.
On your second question, I can confirm that this meeting between the consultancy company and members of the Panel did not go ahead as the consultation was delayed, until it was decided not to continue with a consultation but to hold a period of engagement with key stakeholders.
In response to the third question you raised, I can confirm that, as explained in the above reply, the consultation did not take place. Some of the information you have requested is available from: https://www.gov.scot/publications/girfec-practice-development-panel-minutes-december-2018/
This link refers you to minutes of the meeting between Panel members on 13 December 2018 explaining the Panel's intention to hold a targeted engagement session instead of commencing with the consultation.
The Panel commissioned a contractor to carry out analysis of the Panel's consultation which was to cost £15, 000. The Panel then decided that a more targeted engagement, with the intention of seeking feedback from key stakeholders, was a more appropriate way of proceeding. As a result, the consultation did not go ahead but the contractor was paid 25% of the initial fee, to a value of £3750, as a nominal fee because the consultants services were engaged and, as such, may have lost business while the consultation was delayed.
On the topic of the GIRFEC Leadership Offer, it came about because of a report drafted by Jackie Brock, head of Children in Scotland. This report contained a review of children’s services, which led to a recommendation that Scottish Government should consider a project on collaborative leadership within children's services. As this was a joint project, the agreement was made that Scottish Government and Children in Scotland would take the offer forward together.
Lastly, to answer your final question, I can confirm that the leader of this project is Bill Alexander, who is seconded to Scottish Government by Children in Scotland. He was recommended by Children in Scotland as being uniquely positioned to take this work forward and was appointed, in agreement with Scottish Government, on a temporary appointment which is for both a fixed term and a fixed purpose.
With regards to costs of the project, I can confirm that the overall value which has been spent on the project to date is £52, 725. This cost is approximate as it contains projections for the current quarter, including the remainder of the month of August. I am unable to break the costs down further as this could make it possible to identify staff costs, which would be in contravention of the exemption protecting personal information under s38(1)(b) of FOISA.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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