Covid-19 pandemic media advertising and public information spend: FOI release

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

Information requested

Precisely how much has been spent to date on the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 media advertising & public information of all types within all media, such as Television, Radio, All Social Media, You Tube, Newspaper, Magazine, Online etc. and:
1. What proportion by way of percentage and total amounts have come from the Scottish Government’s own budget, in comparison to that which has been spent from United Kingdom Government funding.
2. What the expected spend will be from both Scottish Government and UK Government funds until 2020 financial year-end.

This would include amounts of licence payments to other companies either in the UK or overseas (if any) for their animations and/or artwork (if any) and payments to outside contractors/acting professionals for their artwork, design, animations and/or voice-overs.


I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the attached Excel spreadsheet.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below:
We can confirm that the Scottish Government has received no funding from the UK Government for Covid-19 marketing or public information activity. All activity run by the Scottish Government is funded by the Scottish Government.
Furthermore, an exemption under section 33(2)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This applies where disclosure would, or would likely, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of a UK Administration.

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 public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government.

However, this is outweighed by the fact that the Scottish Government and its agencies use media planning and buying data to inform the shape of future communication plans and to negotiate effective rates for advertising space. This approach is used when planning and buying media activity. Disclosure of how much we propose to spend would compromise the Scottish Government’s ability to plan and buy media effectively going forward. This would significantly harm the Scottish Government’s ability to carry out aspects of its work which relate to public engagement and delivering value for money. There is a greater public interest in the delivery of effective communication in a cost effective way.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI-202000043285 Information released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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