Publication - FOI/EIR release

Questions concerning the legal status of Zero Waste Scotland: FOI review

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

Published:
2 Mar 2020
Questions concerning the legal status of Zero Waste Scotland: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/202000015871
Date received: 9 Feb 2020
Date responded: 24 Feb 2020
Information requested

Zero Waste Scotland is not listed under any of the categories detailed in the national public bodies directory. (https://www.gov.scot/publications/national-public-bodies-directory/pages/other-significantnational-bodies/)

1. Is this due to its particular legal status (please advise on what type of body Zero Waste Scotland is)?
2. Why is this type of legal entity not listed in the national public bodies directory?
3. Why was this type of legal structure chosen for Zero Waste Scotland and who made the decision?
4. Are there other bodies of the same legal status or other legal status funded by the tax payer and not listed in the above mentioned directory?
5. If the answer to 4. above is yes then please provide the annual budget(s), title(s) and address(es) of the body(ies), the chief executive(s) and his/her/their salary(ies).

Response

In accordance with section 21(4) of FOISA, I have also reached a decision on your request.

I can now provide our response to your original request (202000015865).

1. Is this due to its particular legal status (please advise on what type of body Zero Waste Scotland is)?
Yes. Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) Ltd is not listed on the national public bodies directory because it is not a public body. It is a not for profit company limited by guarantee.

2. Why is this type of legal entity not listed in the national public bodies directory ?
The National Public Bodies Directory sets out a list of the 125 public bodies. Each category of public body displays particular characteristics which in turn help define the relationship with Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament. ZWS does not appear on the directory as it is not a public body.

You may find the following link to the Public Bodies in Scotland guide helpful as it provides classification guidance on all the types of public bodies in Scotland as well as information on their respective characteristics and accountability - https://www.gov.scot/publications/public-bodies-inscotland-guide/.

3. Why was this type of legal structure chosen for Zero Waste Scotland and who made the decision ?
Originally, ZWS was managed by the UK-wide organisation, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

WRAP is a private company limited by guarantee and operates on a UK-wide basis undertaking work for all UK governments. It had operated in Scotland since 2010 under the name Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), for the purposes of the Scottish Government’s single zero waste delivery programme. In 2012 Ministerial approval was given to change ZWS’s status by incorporating it as a wholly owned subsidiary of WRAP. Establishing ZWS as a subsidiary company retained links with WRAP and created a separate funding arrangement which allowed ZWS to pay Scotland’s share of UK-wide activity to WRAP.

In 2014, Scottish Ministers decided that ZWS should be established as an independent company. ZWS Ltd became a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (similar to WRAP). The separation from WRAP was to enable ZWS to deliver more effectively on Scotland’s distinct resource efficiency and circular economy ambitions, and enable it to work more closely with Scotland based organisations and businesses.

In order to strengthen accountability, in 2017 Scottish Ministers agreed to create a new sponsorship relationship with ZWS. Consequently, ZWS’s Articles of Association were changed to reflect this change. This development enabled ZWS to fall within the same operating framework as Environment and Forestry Directorate’s public bodies around budget planning, finance and procurement, and meeting statutory duties such as reporting on climate change. Board appointments are also now subject to Ministerial approval.

4. Are there other bodies of the same legal status or other legal status funded by the tax payer and not listed in the above mentioned directory?
Yes. As noted in our response to question 2, there are a number of organisations which are funded wholly or partly through grants from Scottish Government in Scotland which are not listed in the National Public Bodies Directory as they are not regarded as public bodies.

5. If the answer to 4. above is yes then please provide the annual budget(s), title(s) and address(es) of the body(ies), the chief executive(s) and his/her/their salary(ies).
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 we would need to conduct a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government. It may be helpful if I explain that we do not maintain a central list of bodies that receive public funding and their legal statuses. This information would be held by individual business areas across the functions of the Scottish Government.

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. Further information on structure of the Scottish Government can be found here.

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.

Further Information
Whilst we are unable to provide information on other bodies, you can access financial details from ZWS’s last published Report & Financial Statements (31 March 2018) which appears on its website – see the attached link. Financial information on its employees is on page 20 of this report. https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/sites/default/files/Signed%20Financial%20Statements.pdf

You may also find it helpful to note that the Office for National Statistics maintains a list of all significant public bodies in the UK, which is available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/classificationsandstandards/economicstatisticsclassifications/introductiontoeconomicstatisticsclassifications

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
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