Operation Cygnus details from UK Pandemic Influenza Readiness Board (PFRB): FOI release

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

Information requested

“Any correspondence between the Scottish Government and UK Government in relation to Operation Cygnus and the Provision of PPE / Protecting those in Care Homes during the months of October 2016 – October 2017.”


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested in relation to Exercise Cygnus because an exemption under section (29) (1)(a) (policy formulation),of FOISA applies to that information. An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) also applies to a small amount of the information requested and this has been redacted. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in Annex A.

I have enclosed a copy of some of the information you requested which is provided as an attachment. This information is in the form of relevant minutes and papers from the UK Pandemic Influenza Readiness Board (PFRB) which took place within the stipulated period. Some of these papers contain details which are out with the scope of the information requested and this information has therefore been redacted.

Additional information provided outwith FOISA
The additional information provided below falls out with your FOISA request but has been included in in order to be as helpful as possible.

The UK Government published a redacted version of the Exercise Cygnus report on 20 October 2021, which can be accessed through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-pandemic-preparedness.

The Scottish Government also rehearsed for an influenza pandemic in 2015 through Exercise Silver Swan, which was designed to assess the preparedness and response of Scotland’s local and national arrangements to a pandemic influenza outbreak over a prolonged period. The Exercise report, published in April 2016, and Exercise Progress Review, published in December 2016 are available to view through the Scottish Government website: Exercise Silver Swan: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

We have provided you with a link to some information that is now available on the Scottish Parliament website which may be of interest to you as it relates to wider activity around pandemic planning which extends beyond the period stipulated in your original request. This information is presented as a contextual summary of the key decisions and actions that were taken as part of the Scottish Government’s approach to pandemic planning.

Information on the Scottish Parliaments Health & Sport Committee’s work in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport from the Convener of the Health & Sport Committee seeking further information following the evidence session on 17 June on resilience:

Cabinet Secretary’s Response to Health & Sport Committee on Resilience and Forward Planning (28 July 2020)

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.

FOI - 202000061354 - Information Released - Annex A
FOI - 202000061354 - Information Released - Annex B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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