Publication - FOI/EIR release

Civil Servants preparation in giving evidence to Committee for Former First Minister inquiry: FOI release

Published: 9 Feb 2021

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

Published:
9 Feb 2021
Civil Servants preparation in giving evidence to Committee for Former First Minister inquiry: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100137646
Date received: 14 Jan 2021
Date responded: 8 Feb 2021
Information requested

Provide me with the current figure for the cost of providing external assistance for civil servants ahead of evidence sessions of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

A previous FOI put the figure at £54,378 as of November 3, so please provide an updated figure as of today (Jan 14).

You have refused to provide the name of the individual/organisation hired to provide external assistance. However, can you please provide a breakdown of what services were acquired to assist witnesses and how much was spent on each.

i.e was the full total spent on legal advice? Or were their other services used (i.e PR specialists, specialists in responding to interrogation/questioning, lawyers used to prepare witnesses for questioning rather than just offering legal advice, etc). Please provide a separate figure for how much was spent for each separate service/purpose. This should still be able to be provided without naming a specific company/individual.

Response

The answer to your question is that the current figure (as at 14 January 2021) for the cost of providing external assistance for civil servants ahead of evidence sessions of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints is £76,408. For the avoidance of doubt, this is inclusive of the previous sum of £54,378 which was disclosed to you in our response to your previous request (202000106713).

In relation to your request for a breakdown of the services acquired, I can advise that the sum (as at 14 January 2021) has been spent in obtaining individual legal advice for civil servants in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Management Code published by the Cabinet Office. 

Accordingly, 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 (a separate figure for each separate service or purpose). We do not have this information because the sum expended was for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, and not for obtaining any other services or for any other purpose, including the ones you mention in your request. 
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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