- 10 Feb 2020
Date received: 31 Jan 2020
Date responded: 6 Feb 2020
On Monday 27th January 2020, the Scottish Government held an event involving the First Minister at the Doubletree by Hilton conference suite at Bread Street, Edinburgh. I would like to know the cost of this event to be broken down by (a) cost of venue (b) cost of any catering/refreshments provided (c) the cost of any audio visual support (sound/lights).
Additionally, I would request details of any previous use of these facilities, with costs split as above, by the Scottish Government during 2018 and 2019.
In answer to the first part of your request, the total amount paid was £2777.80 for the event at the conference suite at Doubletree by Hilton on Bread Street, Edinburgh. This is broken down as:
- Cost of venue = £1,050.00
- Cost of any catering/refreshments provided = £1,345.00
- Cost of any audio visual support (sound/lights) = £382.80
In answer to the second part of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve that information staff in the Scottish Government would need to conduct a search of all of the expense records in each Directorate for the period of 2018 and 2019. It may help if I explain that information breaking down expenditure in the detail you have described is not held centrally but sits with the purchasing Directorate. Each Directorate would need to check each invoice held for the period to identify whether it related to the specific venue to then breakdown by the cost of venue; catering and refreshments; and cost of AV. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.
You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could restrict your request to a specific business area of the Scottish Government, as this would allow us to limit the searches that would require to be conducted.
You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.
Though it does not answer your request in full, you can find expenditures above £500 made to Doubletree by Hilton organised by month in this document collection:
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