Publication - FOI/EIR release

Funding of hygiene products and provision of PPE to businesses: FOI release

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

Published:
11 Nov 2020
Funding of hygiene products and provision of PPE to businesses: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000098815
Date received: 15 Oct 2020
Date responded: 11 Nov 2020
Information requested

1. Has the Scottish Government provided any additional financial support to help businesses purchase hygiene products in order to ensure they can operate safely?

a. If so, what has been the total cost to the Scottish Government in supplying these products to businesses?

2. Has the Scottish Government provided any PPE to Scottish businesses?

a. If so, what has been the total cost to the Scottish Government in supplying PPE to businesses?

Response

1. The Scottish Government provide a number of funds where organisations can obtain grants or financial support to meet a range of needs. Hand sanitiser and hygiene products have been referred to in some applications as an element of their project or activity. We do provide funding for provider sustainability payments which can include cleaning costs. No specific fund or support has been set up to enable businesses to purchase hygiene products.

1 (a). While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However, you may wish to contact organisations including NHS Health Boards/Health and Social Care Partnerships at an individual level who may be able to help you.

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
The Scottish Government does not have the information
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because we provide overarching funding to bodies such as NHS and local authorities to enable the delivery of various services e.g. Care Homes. Each body is responsible for determining the risks associated with the delivery of those services and determines the level of hygiene products required at any given time.

Through the Emergency Measures Agreements, Transport Scotland, an arm of the Scottish Government, has provided financial support to ScotRail to minimise disruption to passengers and rail employees during the COVID-19 outbreak and allow rail passenger services to continue to operate during this period. Part of this financial support has been to purchase hand sanitiser units, hand sanitiser gel and other safety critical and cleaning products. Estimated costs specifically for hand sanitiser (staff and customers) and disposable face-coverings for distribution free of charge to customers are £470,000 to date.

2. The Scottish Government does not itself directly buy PPE, unless required to do so for its own employees. The PPE Action Plan provides information about the support the Scottish Government has provided to Scottish businesses.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-covid-19-scotlands-action-plan/

Social Care
Due to the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak, and the demand it has placed on resources, the Scottish Government agreed to provide PPE to social care settings where business as usual supply routes failed.

Whilst Care Providers have responsibility to source their own PPE this agreement ensured the most vulnerable in our society were not disadvantaged during the Covid-19 crisis. Therefore for example private care homes (private businesses) were given access to the same top-up supply routes.

Our approach was to ensure supply so a decision was taken at the time not to put in place systems to separate formal orders from individual organisations would have been time consuming and led to further delays that would have put more lives at risk. It is not possible for us to quantify the volume of PPE accessed specifically by private companies through this route.

Scottish Businesses
In response to requests for help in securing PPE supplies from organisations delivering essential public services in community settings, the Scottish Government established a framework in May 2020 with a third party supplier for the supply of PPE. This does not constitute the Scottish Government providing PPE directly to Scottish businesses.

Organisations that are eligible to purchase from the framework include all Scottish public bodies out with the NHS and regulated adult care sector; registered Scottish charities and voluntary organisations; and authorised private-sector organisations employing staff who provide essential public services where there is a risk to health. Where an organisation is experiencing challenges in securing PPE through their existing supply chains, they can purchase PPE directly from the third party supplier through this framework. To date, there are 1176 registered user on the framework, with 364 having purchased PPE out of their own budgets.

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