Table top exercises regarding management of pandemic outbreak: FOI release

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

Information requested

a) How many table top exercises were undertaken by the Scottish Government or any of its Agencies into the management and control of a pandemic outbreak in each of the years 2005, onwards?

b) What “lessons” were learned from those exercises, and will it publish the findings?

c) Which Government Ministers had oversight of these exercises and “lessons learned”, and what actions did they take?


The Scottish Government – organised a pandemic flu exercise in 2015 called Exercise Silver Swan to assess the preparedness and response of Scotland’s local and national arrangements to a pandemic influenza outbreak over a prolonged period. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and the Deputy First Minister had oversight of the exercise and the report.

Scottish Government Agencies - have conducted a range of exercises and training events on operational preparedness for an incident, not necessarily focussing on a pandemic. The results of these exercises are used to support and further improve the organisation’s organisational planning but are not reported externally.

Some of the information you have requested is available online:

The Exercise Silver Swan Overall Exercise report April 2016 and Exercise Silver Swan Progress Review (6th December 2016) are available to view on the Scottish Government website here, and actions taken is available as a written response to a Parliamentary Question from the Scottish Parliament website.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) conducted a COVID specific pandemic exercise in 2020. SPS have published a pandemic plan, which is updated in light of changes in advice and guidance. The plan would reflect any relevant lessons learned from the 2020 exercise. SPS Incident Command exercises are not reported to the Scottish Government. Throughout the pandemic, SPS are in regular communication with the Scottish Government in terms of managing and responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic. This includes provision of data and business intelligence on a daily basis which contributes to the daily Covid report(s) provided to Ministers. Additionally, the interim Chief Executive has regularly met with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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