Official residence of First Minister Bute House: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked (additional lettering inserted for ease of reference):
"FOI 1:
(a) please specify whether Bute House had a visitors log at any point between 1 May 2007 and 30 November 2014.
(b) please specify if the visitors log was removed for any period of time between 1 May 2007 and 30 November 2014.
(c) please provide any correspondence regarding the Bute House visitors log between 1 May 2007 and 30 November 2014.
(d) if applicable, please provide the dates the visitors log was removed.
(e) if applicable, please specify the reason for the removal of any visitors log.
(f) if applicable, under whose instruction was the visitors log removed from Bute House?

FOI 2: 
(a) please provide details of the current floor plan and room description of Bute House (i.e. bedrooms, work spaces, etc).
(b) please provide details of the same for Bute House between May 2007 and November 2014."


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested under FOI 1(a) to (f). This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

An exemption under section 39(1) of FOISA applies the information you have requested under FOI 2(a) and (b). Section 39(1) states that information may be withheld if disclosure "would, or would be likely to, endanger the physical or mental health or safety of an individual". This exemption applies in this case because Bute House remains the official residence of the First Minister and publication of these details could pose a security risk to the current or any future First Minister.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in avoiding significant risks to the safety of Ministers.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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