Intranet poll regarding pronouns in email signatures: FOI release

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

Information requested

I understand that a recent poll on the Scottish Government’s intranet asked users about the use of pronouns in their email signature. Can I ask for the question used, and results of this poll, and all other data collected.

Can I also ask for any correspondence relating to this poll.


During the week commencing Monday 7 June 2021, the following question was asked on the Scottish Government’s intranet:

Do you include your pronouns (for example she/her, they/them) in your email signature?

  • Yes
  • No – but I might in the future
  • No and I probably won’t

A total of 3278 people responded to the poll, the results were as follows:

  • Yes – 17% (534)
  • No – but I might in the future – 25% (834)
  • No and I probably won’t – 58% (1910)

The results from this poll are the only data collected regarding pronoun use in email signatures. I attach a copy of the correspondence that you requested in pdf format.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies
are explained below.

An exemption(s) under section(s) s.38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This information relates to personal data relating to a third party and applied in the following cases:

  • Scottish Government officials below the Senior Civil Service
  • Names of individuals who did not give permission for release

It would not be the expectation of these individuals that their personal information would be released 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.

I am satisfied that the information that has been withheld constitutes the ‘personal data’ of the individuals concerned, as defined in section 1(1) of the DPA.

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.

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FOI - 202100210730 - Information released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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