Redeployment of Freedom of Information Unit staff due to COVID-19: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. For each month commencing January 2020 to date, please provide the total number of FTE staff working in the FOI unit.

2. All correspondence discussing and enacting the decision to redeploy FOI Unit staff to Covid critical roles. The correspondence should be specifically between the following two groups (A) Ministers or Special Advisers and (B) senior civil servants.


Please see table below containing all of the information you requested in the first part of your request. The totals represent the FTE of staff for each month you requested between January 2020 to February 2021, based on the changes within the team. It should be noted that these figures are estimates that have been compiled by our team, as some of the appointments to other business areas were made on an informal basis.

  FTE Equivalent
Name Jan-20 Feb-20 Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20 Jun-20 Jul-20 Aug-20 Sep-20 Oct-20 Nov-20 Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
FTE Total 14 13.75 13 7.7 7.7 7.7 7.8 8.08 8.2 10 10.1 10 11.01 13

Regarding the second part of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. We have carried out searches of our electronic Records and Document Management system and have sought the input of relevant colleagues to ascertain whether there was any specific correspondence between either Ministers or Special Advisers and Senior Civil Servants regarding the redeployment of FOI Unit staff to Covid critical roles. No such correspondence took place.

It may be helpful if I explain that during the early stages of the coronavirus response in March and April 2020 there was widespread redeployment of staff to Covid critical roles across the Scottish Government. Non Covid-critical business areas were asked to make every effort to release staff to assist in Covid critical roles when requested. The FOI Unit complied with that request in the same way as many other business areas within the Scottish Government. Decisions about the redeployment of staff members were often made at speed and were generally agreed at official level, rather than requiring the input of Ministers of their Special Adviser.

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


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top