First Minister recuse from Harassment Complaints Committee interaction : FOI release

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

Information requested

1. On what date did the First Minister recuse herself from any decision making in terms of the Scottish Government’s interaction with the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints?

2. Where was the decision first recorded and when was it first made public?

3. Please provide me with copies of all documents recording the making of the decision and its first publication. If these are already in the public domain, please direct me to where I can view them.


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 and exemptions under section 38(1) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested. I have set out more detail below. 

As background in relation to your requests not provided under the Freedom of Information regime, on 17 January 2019, during First Minister’s questions, the First Minister made reference to a Scottish Government review of its first application of the procedure for handling complaints against current and former ministers. She referred to her decision that she had asked the Deputy First Minister to perform any role that she would have performed in the establishment of that review. Details of this can be viewed via the attached link;

In relation to your first request for information, the Deputy First Minister’s lead role was extended to include other matters including the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints on 1 May 2019.

In relation to the first part of your second and third requests regarding where this decision was first recorded and for a copy of documents relating to this decision, the attachment to this letter is information from Scottish Government files.

An exemption under section 38(1) of FOISA (personal information), applies to some parts of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, for example names of individuals or other personal data, and that information has been redacted or not disclosed. Disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

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. 

In relation to the second part of your second and third requests, regarding publication of this decision and relevant documents, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because, having conducted adequate and proportionate searches, we have found no records relating to publication of this decision. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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-202000099260 - 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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