Publication - FOI/EIR release

GIRFEC internal team cost and external legal costs: FOI release

Published: 21 Oct 2019

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

Published:
21 Oct 2019
GIRFEC internal team cost and external legal costs: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900004761
Date received: 1 Oct 2019
Date responded: 18 Oct 2019
Information requested

You asked for the following:

1) The total external legal costs the Government has spent since it started the scheme/act

2) The total cost of equivalent civil service lawyers’ time spent

3) The total cost of the GIRFEC internal team:
a) Salaries
b) Office costs
c) PR costs

4) The total time of teachers, nurses, social workers – diverted from important duties and training for this scheme

5) The total cost of external consultants to prepare the voluminous materials used to inform named person

Response

1. Legal Costs

I can provide some of the information which you have requested, as it is available from the following webpage, which houses a previous FOI response in relation to the legal costs incurred by the Scottish Government when defending Parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-02462/.

2. Civil Service Legal Costs

This is a notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that we do not hold some of the information which you have requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in relation to your second request.

I cannot provide information in relation to time spent by Scottish Government solicitors working on named person as the Scottish Government Legal Department does not record the amount of time spent working on any particular subject.

3. GIRFEC Team Costs

To answer your query on salaries within the GIRFEC team, I have provided information below which details a total monthly figure. This covers the core GIRFEC staff, and the fluctuations reflect the fact that people have joined and left the team at various points in the year. 

Month (2019) Salaries (£)
January 27,083.85
February 25,850.13
March 31,352.24
April 34,315.31
May 31,287.97
June 46,154.36
July 42,181.06
August 46,554.82
September 42,175.63

An exemption(s) under section S.17 of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This is in relation to your requests regarding office costs and PR costs. Office costs are measured by divisional level, which covers multiple teams and not simply the GIRFEC team so we could not provide an accurate estimate of how much was spent on GIRFEC work.

On the PR costs, I can confirm that no external PR work has been undertaken so there has been no cost in relation to this, other than any cost which may have been incurred by internal staff working on communications. As I explained previously, we do not measure how long staff work on any particular project and, as such, I cannot provide an accurate representation of any PR costs.

4. Time spent by teachers, nurses and social workers

Under the 2014 Act, it was intended that a named person would usually be either a Health Visitor or promoted teacher who can work with families to provide advice, help and support. A teacher or Health Visitor already has an ongoing duty of care to every child under their care, however, under Part 4 of 2014 Act, it was anticipated that a named person would also have an additional function, to act as a point of contact should a child or their family ever need any additional help or support. The relevant statutory provisions in relation to the named person scheme were never commenced. This means that Part 4 of the 2014 has never been in force. In light of the Deputy First Minister’s statement of 19 September 2019, the mandatory named person scheme for every child – underpinned by law – will now not happen. The Scottish Government intends to repeal the relevant legislation. There is no evidence that the provision of named persons is diverting resources from vulnerable children. Under S.17 of FOISA, I am unable to provide you with any information regarding hours which teachers and Health Visitors spend on named person duties, however, as this is not information held by the Scottish Government.

5. External Consultants

I am unable to provide costs for you in relation to external consultants for two reasons. Firstly, the GIRFEC unit has had the benefit of external secondees working on named person but releasing their salaries would be exempt under s.38 of FOISA in order to protect their personal data. Any work which has been co-produced outside the scope of secondees, however, has been joint work between the Scottish Government and key stakeholders and any cost incurred for time spent would be covered by the host organisations and not by Scottish Government. The second reason is that as work on GIRFEC and named person was initiated over 10 years ago, and we are not required to keep financial records for longer than 6 years under guidance contained within the Scottish Public Finance Manual, so we do not hold information for the entirety of the GIRFEC programme of work.

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