Publication - FOI/EIR release

Former First Minister complaints: FOI release

Published: 19 Jun 2020
Part of:
Public sector

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

Published:
19 Jun 2020
Former First Minister complaints: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000022790
Date received: 24 Mar 2020
Date responded: 19 Jun 2020
Information requested

1. Dates, times and locations of the three publicly stated meetings at which the First Minister met Mr Alex Salmond in relation to complaints against him of inappropriate behaviour towards Scottish Government staff.

2. At whose request or initiative each of those meetings referred to above were arranged and if Scottish Government staff were involved in any way in their arrangement, during them or in their followup. 

3. The capacity Ms Sturgeon met Mr Salmond in the three meetings referred to above and the name and role of anyone else present on each occasion.

4. If any minutes or other notes were taken at the meetings referred to above and if so, information contained in those documents except for any information which compromises the privacy of alleged victims or ongoing legal proceedings.

5. Information contained in any correspondence (including to or from the First Minister and Mr Salmond) arising from the meetings referred to above except for any information which compromises the privacy of alleged victims or ongoing legal proceedings.

6. Whether the meetings referred to above involved any departure from normal policy or procedure in terms of minuting or presence of Scottish Government staff and if so, at whose direction this was. 

7. If there have been any recorded meetings besides the three referred to above between the First Minister and Mr Salmond during 2018 on any subject and if so their dates, times, locations, matters discussed and information contained in any minutes, associated notes or correspondence.

8. Information contained in any other correspondence between the First Minister and Mr Salmond or issued to Mr Salmond on the First Minister's behalf during 2018.

9. Information contained in correspondence minutes, meeting notes or any record of contact including meeting locations where known between Mr Geoff Aberdein and the current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on or around 29th March 2018 concerning inappropriate behaviour by Alex Salmond towards Scottish Government staff or any other women removing names of any alleged complainers or victims where applicable.

10. Information contained in correspondence, minutes, meeting notes or any record of contact including meeting locations where known between Mr Geoff Aberdein and Scottish Government Ministers or staff concerning inappropriate behaviour by Alex Salmond towards Scottish Government staff or any other women removing names of any alleged complainers or victims where applicable.

11. Information contained in correspondence, minutes, meeting notes or any record of contact including meeting locations where known between Mr Chris Birt and Scottish Government Ministers or staff concerning inappropriate behaviour by Alex Salmond towards Scottish Government staff or any other women removing names of any alleged complainers or victims where applicable.

12. Information contained in correspondence or any record concerning a change of policy or practice whereby female members of Scottish Government staff were not to be alone with Alex Salmond and who would have been privy to this information.

Response

In response to your first request, some of the information you have requested is available from
http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11871.

In response to your second and third requests, some of the information you have requested is available from http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11875&i=107399

For clarity, the name of the First Minister's Chief of Staff is Liz Lloyd.

In relation to your fifth request, for information contained in correspondence arising from particular meetings, the parliamentary business reports linked above also includes that information.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

In relation to the first part of your twelfth request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section 26(c) of FOISA (prohibitions on disclosure: contempt of court) applies to that information. The disclosure of information in this record might identify complainers who are subject to an order under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. The order was made by the court during the criminal proceedings to which the Scottish Government was not a party.
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.

With regard to the second part of your twelfth request in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies.
That exemption applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, 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. 

In relation to the rest of the information 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.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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