Data Protection Impact Assessment of the Protect Scotland App: FOI release

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

Information requested

1a) Confirmation regarding whether a DPIA (Data Protection Impact Assessment) was conductedand, if a DPIA was carried out,

1b) Full copy of the DPIA (unabridged).

If no DPIA was conducted, please could details be given as to why no DPIA was conducted.

2) The implemented risk assessment undertaken/framework created regarding data processing of adults who lack capacity (as of the MCA (Mental Capacity Act) 2005).

3) Details regarding available language options for the app (if any other than English), with respect access to/for Scottish Residents whose native language (spoken and/or written) is not English.

If no provision has been implemented with respect point 3, please could this be addressed in relation to the Equality Act 2010 (4).


1a. Yes a Data Protection Impact Assessment was conducted for the Protect Scotland App.

1b. The Data Protection Impact Assessment you have requested is available from the Protect Scotland website, see link:

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.

2. The Protect Scotland Website page titled, Transparency – Evidence, Ethics and Impact provides more detail and background regarding the ethical approach taken in providing the Protect Scotland App , see link:

The app adheres to the core principles of the Mental Health Act:

  • a person must be assumed to have capacity unless established otherwise individuals should be helped to make their own decisions as far as practicable
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision
  • all decisions and actions must be in the best interests of the person lacking capacity
  • all decisions and actions must be the least restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action

A risk assessment has been undertaken as part of the DPIA and the interim EQIA, and risks to the rights and freedoms of individuals are considered, whether the person lacks capacity or not; there are some specific countermeasures taken to ensure the impact to people who lack capacity, including data minimisation, anonymisation and encryption. The app is voluntary and people are assumed to have capacity but other measures were put in place for those who might need it, including a helpline,
simplicity of use and the possibility to have the app running only in the background if needed.

Engagement and consultation with various groups, including, the Equalities and Digital inclusion group, and direct citizen engagement has been crucial. Feedback provided insights for people with dementia and learning disabilities, as well as the acknowledgment that some users need to be supported by their existing support network to download and set up the app. At present an interim EQIA is published which will be added to form a more detailed EQIA in due course. See link: 

This interim EQIA offers additional information on the risk assessments undertaken to date.

3 and 4. Regarding alternative languages, some provision is being provided. At present the Scottish Government is working on producing marketing materials in the languages listed below. At present there are no plans to produce alternate language versions of the app itself because the majority of the residents in Scotland either speak English or have access to somebody that does who can assist if necessary. As the app has been designed to be simple and sit in the background with little interaction this is deemed to be adequate for the initial launch. With limited resources it’s inevitable that not everything can be done and it’s necessary to balance available resources where they will be of most benefit to the populace. Following advice from national Ethnic Minorities led umbrella body ( BEMIS ) and Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project (MECOPP) , we have translated the explainer video into the following 5 languages:

  • Arabic
  • British Sign Language
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu

The situation is under constant review and alternate language instructions and guidance may be added to in coming months.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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