Publication - FOI/EIR release

Questions regarding @ScotGovFM and First Minister Twitter accounts: FOI release

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

Published:
27 Jan 2021
Questions regarding @ScotGovFM and First Minister Twitter accounts: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000108984
Date received: 9 Nov 2020
Date responded: 4 Dec 2020
Information requested
  • A copy of any guidance and/or instructions issued to Scottish Government ministers for their use of both official government and personal social media accounts.
  • If 1. does not answer this point, why the @ScotGovFM account is used so infrequently (during the month preceding this request, October 7 – November 7 it posted only three original tweets).
  • Confirmation of whether the First Minister’s @NicolaSturgeon Twitter account is an official Scottish Government account or not.
  • Confirmation of whether any publicly paid employees, including civil servants and special advisors, contribute to the operation of the @NicolaSturgeon account.
  • If the answer to 4. is yes, the extent of that contribution – the number and grade of the staff involved, the amount of time involved, and the breakdown between civil servants and special advisors.
  • Again, if the answer to 4. is yes, the nature of the contribution, for example – clerical/administrative work in inputting text/images/links provided by the first minister or other employees, research or information gathering to allow individual tweets to be posted, and any wider support, for example devising or supporting a programme or strategy for the account.
  • Finally, also if the answer to 4. is yes, whether the work concerned involves employees in any contact with officials or employees of the Scottish National Party who do not hold public elected office, and if so the nature and extent of that contact.
Response

Some of the information you have requested is available from https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-ministerial-code-2018-edition/pages/11/.

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 listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

For clarity this links to the Scottish Ministerial code which includes guidance for Scottish Government Ministers for use of both official government and personal social media accounts.

You further asked "why the @ScotGovFM account is used so infrequently (during the month preceding this request, October 7 – November 7 it posted only three original tweets)". 

The reason why the @ScotGovFM account has been used less frequently during the specified dates is that, due to COVID-19, the First Minister's priority has been tackling the pandemic and important public messaging has been channelled through the main @scotgov Twitter account.

The First Minister’s @NicolaSturgeon Twitter account is a personal account, not an official Scottish Government account, and no publicly paid employees, including civil servants and special advisors, contribute to its operation or have access to it.

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