Publication - FOI/EIR release

Cost to Scottish Government of its participation of recent inquiry’s: FOI release

Published: 7 Oct 2021

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

Published:
7 Oct 2021
Cost to Scottish Government of its participation of recent inquiry’s: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100209285
Date received: 3 Jun 2021
Date responded: 16 Sep 2021
Information requested

1. Any estimate and breakdown of the cost to the Scottish Government of its participation in the Scottish Parliament Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

2. Any estimate and breakdown of the cost to the Scottish Government of the James Hamilton inquiry.

3. Any estimate and breakdown of the cost to the Scottish Government of the externally led review by Laura Dunlop QC.

Response

1. The Scottish Government has covered the following costs in relation to its participation in the Scottish Parliament Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints:

  • Legal advice provided to civil servants under section 12 of the Civil Service Management Code in relation to matters arising from the Parliamentary Committee: £151,811.17.
  • Legal advice: £72,000.

These costs are exclusive of VAT.

You may be aware of the following FOI response issued by the Scottish Government which includes the costs of Civil Servants preparation in giving evidence to the Committee: Civil Servants preparation in giving evidence to Committee for Former First Minister inquiry: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) The reason that the figure contained in this response differs from that previously released is that the figure has now been updated to include costs incurred after 14 January 2021 (the date of the previous FOI response). The figure provided in relation to the cost of external legal advice provided to civil servants under section 12 of the Civil Service Management Code published by the Cabinet Office is the total cost of that advice.

In accordance with the Civil Service Management Code, civil servants involved in a formal inquiry as a consequence of their employment may be entitled to receive individual legal advice, and a number of staff did as part of their preparation.

The figure provided in relation to legal advice is an estimated cost of external legal advice sought by the Scottish Government in the context of its participation in the Scottish Parliament's Inquiry. Some of the costs cannot be identified definitively as the level of breakdown in invoices does not always allow for this. The Scottish Government does not have any business need to require invoices to be broken down to such a level of detail and therefore it is not held.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have asked for because, in relation to staff costs, Scottish Government staff involved in these matters are civil servants employed by the Scottish Ministers. Dealing with the matters you are interested in are part of the normal range of duties undertaken by a number of different civil servants across the Scottish Government. Civil servants receive a salary rather than being separately remunerated for dealing with particular matters. In addition, they do not record the proportion of their time that they spend working on particular matters as a matter of course. It is therefore not possible to say how much was paid to staff employed by the Scottish Government for dealing with this matter. The Scottish Government does not have any business need to hold that information and therefore it is not held.

This is formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

2. The total costs of the investigation were published in response to an earlier FOI. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. However, in the interests of being helpful, a link to the FOI response is provided below.

Expenditure of James Hamilton QC inquiry: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Due to the pandemic, no travel or subsistence expenses were incurred. You may wish to be aware that the costs referred to in the FOI response to which the link is provided are inclusive of VAT.

As set out in the remit (which can be found at the following link Motions, Questions and Answers Search - Parliamentary Business : Scottish Parliament), the Scottish Government provided secretariat support to Mr Hamilton as required. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you asked for because this support was provided from existing staff resource and did not result in extra expenditure by the Scottish
Government. Staff undertaking this role have also continued to undertake work on other matters. Civil servants receive a salary rather than being separately remunerated for dealing with particular matters. In addition, they do not record the proportion of their time that they spend working on particular matters as a matter of course. It is therefore not possible to say how much was paid to staff employed by the Scottish Government for dealing with this matter. The Scottish Government does not have any
business need to hold that information and therefore it is not held.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3. The Scottish Government has covered the following costs required for the externally led review:

  • Fees for Ms Dunlop, Junior Counsel and Secretariat: £91, 278
  • Legal and procurement advice taken in establishing the review: £7,780.

These costs are exclusive of VAT.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have asked for because, in relation to staff costs, Scottish Government staff involved in these matters are civil servants employed by the Scottish Ministers Time was spent by SG staff in setting up the review and engaging with the review team (Ms Dunlop and junior counsel). This support was provided from existing staff resource and did not result in extra expenditure
by the Scottish Government. Staff undertaking this role have also continued to undertake work on other matters. Civil servants receive a salary rather than being separately remunerated for dealing with particular matters. In addition, they do not record the proportion of their time that they spend working on particular matters as a matter of course. It is therefore not possible to say how much was paid to staff employed by the Scottish Government for dealing with this matter. The Scottish Government does not
have any business need to hold that information and therefore it is not held.

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 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