Publication - FOI/EIR release

European Union (EU) flags on Scottish Government buildings: FOI release

Published: 19 Apr 2021

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

Published:
19 Apr 2021
European Union (EU) flags on Scottish Government buildings: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100160401
Date received: 19 Feb 2021
Date responded: 8 Mar 2021
Information requested

"Any information you hold on the recent reports that the Scottish Government will fly EU flags on Scottish Government buildings.

In particular,

i) any minutes of meetings with Ministers or officials where the above was discussed.

ii) any emails relating to the issue above.

iii) all advice to Ministers on the above issue.

iv) details of any costs incurred in developing or implementing this policy, or estimates of expected costs.

v) any consultation with UK Government or other bodies on the above issue.

vi) any records of engagement with the EU on the above issue.

vii) advice to Ministers on whether this policy is an appropriate use of official resources.

viii) confirmation that legal advice was sought by Ministers in relation to the above issue.

ix) any written consideration of whether officials' work on this issue constituted a breach of the Civil Service code, or may be inappropriate.

x) any guidance or documentation setting out policy on the flying of flags on Government premises.

xi) any other information pertinent to the above decision."

Response

I attach a copy of some of the information you have requested.

You will see that personal data has been redacted. This is because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e names/contact details of individuals and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Please see the below answers to your questions.

i) any minutes of meetings with Ministers or officials where the above was discussed.
There were no minutes with Ministers or officials where the above was discussed.

ii) any emails relating to the issue above.
As above.

iii) all advice to Ministers on the above issue.
There was no advice to Ministers on the above issue.

iv) details of any costs incurred in developing or implementing this policy, or estimates of expected costs.
There were no costs incurred.

v) any consultation with UK Government or other bodies on the above issue.
There was no consultation with UK Government on the above issue.

vi) any records of engagement with the EU on the above issue.
There was no records of engagement with the EU on the above issue.

vii) advice to Ministers on whether this policy is an appropriate use of official resources.
No advice given. It is a long standing practice for officials to update the Scottish Government Flag flying Guidance each year.

viii) confirmation that legal advice was sought by Ministers in relation to the above issue.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

ix) any written consideration of whether officials' work on this issue constituted a breach of the Civil Service code, or may be inappropriate.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

x) any guidance or documentation setting out policy on the flying of flags on Government premises.
Please find attached the two most recent versions of the Scottish Government Flag flying Guidance.

xi) any other information pertinent to the above decision.
Not applicable.

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