- 16 Nov 2020
Date received: 18 Sep 2020
Date responded: 14 Oct 2020
You asked for a copy of the hospitality log showing the record of invitations and gifts offered and accepted by all employees of Transport Scotland from 2000 to present.
Scottish Government staff are occasionally offered gifts or hospitality while carrying out normal official business. Although these items were recorded as gifts to officials, these are mainly in respect of events, working lunches or dinners, which officials attend on behalf of the Scottish Government as part of their jobs. There are clear guidelines and procedures in place, balancing accepted business practice and social convention while avoiding impropriety and conflict of interest. The Scottish Government enforces a clear, consistent policy regarding gifts and hospitality. Due to their forward facing nature, some posts will attract a higher number of offers of gifts and hospitality than others, such as posts involving diplomatic relations or cultural promotion. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because the information is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would breach the principles of Data Protection Legislation.
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. A further exemption under section 17(1) of FOISA applies in that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because information you requested is not available since 2000. This is because Transport Scotland was only created on 1 January 2006 as an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government. Furthermore, our records are only held from 2007 onwards as this is when our electronic HR system came into effect.
I have enclosed most of the information you requested and a guide to interpreting it is below.
Where all data within a cell are withheld as a result of exemption 38(1)(b) (personal data), the cells have marked with the asterisk symbol *. Names of staff graded below Senior Civil Servant (SCS) have also been withheld as the combination of name, grade and gift/hospitality context presents a significant risk of personal identification. In line with General Data Protection Regulation, the names of 3rd party individuals have been redacted. If given, their organisation is released.
Where an individual employee has since left Transport Scotland, gifts or hospitality offered during their employment have been provided.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House