Civil servants who hold external roles with external firms: FOI release

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

Information requested

1) The number of civil servants currently (as of 14 April, 2021) employed by the Scottish Government who hold or held within the last five years, external roles with external firms.
1a) Please break this down by directorate, and provide details of the external roles held by each civil servant if they hold one, the date on which the role was approved or the dates the role was held.
2) Please provide the internal process for approving these roles. 


I attach a copy of most of the information you requested .

Senior Civil Service servants are required to register all relevant outside occupations and activities on our electronic register of interest held on our HR system. Those below senior service grade are required to register any outside occupation or activity where there is the potential for a conflict of interest to arise.

The purpose of recording is to ensure that any potential conflict of interest is identified, discussed and managed as required within the line management chain. Information extracted centrally from the electronic system does not allow for different types of interest, including whether it is paid or unpaid, to be readily distinguished. As a result, the entries shared include a wide range of activities, predominantly of a community or voluntary service nature and as such they go beyond the scope of your request external roles with external firms.

In other respects we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested. Employees in grades below senior civil service are only required to register outside roles and employment if they may cause a conflict of interest with their duties within the Scottish Government.

Accordingly, the information released at Annex A regarding the nature of outside roles and numbers of staff involved may not be complete. This information has been extracted from the central collation of the register of interest as it stood at the date of your request and it may include entries that are more than
five years old and which are no longer current.  

Senior Civil Service servants are required to register all outside occupations and activities (as defined in the attached copy of our corporate internal guidance at Annex A on our register of interest. Our corporate internal guidance also includes details of our approval process. Senior management in business areas may also issue additional guidance tailored to their specific business area.

In addition, an exemption under section s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to column B as such information concerns the private lives of officials and it is important that the Scottish Government as an employer considers the balance of public interest against the rights of these individuals and a duty of care to minimise the potential for harm or distress

Our response to your request covers staff employed on Scottish Government Main and Scottish Government Marine terms and conditions of employment, Senior Civil Servants and contractors carrying out work on behalf of the Scottish Government in the organisations listed in Annex B.

Please note for publishing purposes the information embedded within Annex A have been attached as seperate documents. 

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI - 202100194247 - Annex A & B
FOI - 202100194247 - Register of Interest Extract
FOI - 202100194247 - Copy of Internal Guidance


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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