Publication - FOI/EIR release

Transport Scotland legal services structure: FOI release

Published: 16 Feb 2021

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

Published:
16 Feb 2021
Transport Scotland legal services structure: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000119519
Date received: 4 Dec 2020
Date responded: 7 Jan 2021
Information requested

1. Please provide a copy of legal services structure showing service structure, position in the organisation, reporting structure, team structure and number of solicitors and non-qualified officers (ie paralegals, legal assistants and other support officers).

2. Please provide details of professional staff numbers and their grades.

3. Please provide a copy of your grading scale.

4. Please confirm your legal services staffing budget.

5. What are the main areas of business undertaken by legal services?

6. Do you make use of or have subscriptions to legal research tools eg Linets, WestLaw, Practical Law and, if so, which ones?

7. Do you have a budget to meet the costs of solicitors annual CPD requirements? If so, what has the budget been for each of the last 3 financial years?

8. Do you meet the costs of solicitors practising certificates?

9. Do you issue customer satisfaction surveys? If so, how often, what do they measure and what are your results for each of the last 3 financial years – or calendar years if that is how you manage them?

10. Do you record and monitor complaints from third parties and/or from internal clients? If so, how do you record them, how many internal complaints in each of last 3 years and likewise for complaints from third parties in each of last 3 years?

11. Do you regularly externalise specific areas of legal business? If so, what areas? What was the expenditure on external legal advice from private practice legal firms for each of the last 3 years?

12. Do you externalise legal business on an ad hoc basis? If so, what types of business have the externalised and what was the cost associated with that for private practice legal firms for each of the last 3 years?

13. Do you have a data protection officer in post and does that post sit within or report to an officer in legal services?

14. Do you have a team within your organisation which deals specifically with FOI requests and/or SARs? Does that team sit within or is it supported by legal services?

15. Do you issue employee satisfaction surveys – WLC issue an annual employee satisfaction survey which seeks feedback on employee views on matters such as leadership, professional development, access to tools and training required to undertake their role? If such a survey is issued. what are the criterion measured and what were the results over the last 3 year?. Is the employee survey issued to all employees within the organisation? If so, how do the legal services results compare to the average results corporately?

16. Do you have structured engagement/communication methods with customers and partners? If so, what are they?

Response

1. Transport Scotland Legal Advisers are a wholly seconded Unit which is fully paid for and colocates within Transport Scotland in Buchanan House in Glasgow. The Unit comprises two Branches of five C1 lawyers each with a C2 Branch Head a single Legal Trainee and an overall C3 Unit Head who reports to the Transport Scotland Directors.

The Unit remains part of a Victoria Quay-based Division of the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, namely, Maritime, Transport and Natural Resources so the Unit Head is line-managed and also reports to the Deputy Director Head of MTNR. Further, the Unit also comprises (currently) two dedicated Land Searchers (recruitment of a third is currently on hold).

2. Five C1s, Two C2s, One C3, One Legal Trainee.

3. Scottish Government Latest Pay Scales are available online here - 
https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-00145/

SG Pay Scales (including Legal Trainee Scales) are available online here -
https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-02083/

4. There is no annual budget as such for TSLA staffing, rather costs applicable to the TSLA Team are agreed by and recovered from Transport Scotland by Scottish Government Legal Directorate based on quarterly figures provided during the financial year. The latest two quarters amount in total to approximately £486,000 for all staff (including Trainee and search staff).

5. TSLA provides (and via Outsourcing partners) manages legal support to Transport Scotland in relation to all aspects of its portfolio, including aviation, ports and harbours, roads, canals, rail, bus, concessionary travel and active travel and the low carbon economy. It is also responsible for providing drafting support for secondary legislation applicable to any of the foregoing areas and provides legal and drafting support allied to the implementation of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

6. TSLA has access to SGLD licensed LINETS subscriptions which, in turn, provides access to Westlaw.

7. No – These costs are met by a budget held by Scottish Government Legal Directorate.

8. No - These costs are met by Scottish Government Legal Directorate.

9. No – TSLA do not issue customer satisfaction surveys.

10. No – TSLA does not monitor complaints – this would be a central Scottish Government Legal Directorate complaints process.

11. Transport Scotland Outsources Legal Advice work through the latest Scottish Government Legal Services Framework which is in effect from 2019 – 2023
https://www.gov.scot/publications/legal-services-framework-2019-to-2023/.

There are two methods whereby Transport Scotland engages with the Legal Services Framework:-

(1) By making use of general contracts awarded by the wider Scottish Government examples of which would be:-
(a) Reparation and Litigation,
(b) Contract and Commercial
(c) Debt Recovery
(d) General Property

(2) By running a specific mini competition to retain legal services bespoke to TS Specifications, examples of which would be:-
(a) Property
(b) Public Local Inquiries
(c) A9 Dualling Procurement Strategy
(d) Searching (elapsed without re-competing 18/12/2020)

Expenditure for the last 3 years is as noted below (NB the account code beginning 401 accounts for general legal costs and the account code beginning 601 accounts for counsel's fees):-

Period

Account

Code

Description

Balance

2017-18

40100750

Legal Costs

909,672.19

2018-19

40100750

Legal Costs

436,915.00

2019-20

40100750

Legal Costs

212,851.29

Account Total

 

1,559,438.48

 

 

 

 

2017-18

60170177

Sols Office Ext Legal

Expenses

49,860.36

2018-19

60170177

Sols Office Ext Legal

Expenses

97,826.49

2019-20

60170177

Sols Office Ext Legal

Expenses

105,944.33

Account Total

 

253,631.18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total 17-18

959,532.55

 

 

Total 18-19

534,741.49

 

 

Total 19-20

318,795.62

 

 

 

1,813,069.66


12. All legal services are outsourced under the Scottish Government Framework as specified in the response to 11 above and the TS particular contracts are specified at (2) above.

13. Yes Transport Scotland has a data protection officer but that post does not sit within nor report to an officer in the Transport Scotland Legal Advisers Unit.

14. FOI/EIR requests are handled by the relevant subject areas of the organisation with no support from the legal team. Transport Scotland does have a standalone Data Protection Team which does not sit within the TSLA Unit. Although TSLA may be consulted on particular areas of DPA, they do not support the DPA team who work independently.

15. The Scottish Government as a whole issues an annual “People Survey” and the results are published online Scottish Government People Survey - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). Transport Scotland does not have access to the results applicable to the Scottish Government Legal Directorate.

16. TSLA provides a General Counsel Legal Service and although it does not have a formal structured engagement or communication methods with customers and partners it has in practice established via reporting at a strategic level and by engaging appropriately as need requires at all levels of the Transport Scotland Structure and within the various areas of TS Operational responsibility.

About FOI

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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