Publication - FOI/EIR release

Various questions surrounding Scottish Government antisemitism policy: FOI release

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

Published:
7 Oct 2021
Various questions surrounding Scottish Government antisemitism policy: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100233372
Date received: 25 Aug 2021
Date responded: 16 Sep 2021
Information requested

Q1. Definition of antisemitism

Q1a. You informed us on 31st October 2019 that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Antisemitism (‘IHRA Definition’) was adopted including all of its examples by Scottish Government on 13th June 2017. Unfortunately the link you had supplied in your email of 31st October 2019 is broken. Would you please supply a new link. See antisemitism.org/definition for more information about the IHRA Definition and the IHRA statement on the integrality of the examples.

Q1b. Since adoption by the Council on 13th June 2017, please confirm if any motions amending or rejecting adoption have been passed or defeated by the Council?

Q1c If your answer to Q1b is yes, kindly confirm what was amended the date of amendment/rejection and a copy/working link to the motion/minutes amending or rejecting adoption.

Q2. Codes of Conduct

Q2a. Has the IHRA Definition been incorporated into the members’ code of conduct?

Q2b. Has the IHRA Definition been incorporated into the officers’ and employees’ code of conduct and conditions of employment?

Q2c. Who is the person responsible for investigating or monitoring alleged breaches of the council’s codes of conduct? Please provide their name, job title, e-mail address and direct telephone number.

Q3. Complaints

Q3a Is the IHRA Definition used to define antisemitism for disciplinary purposes?

Q3b If not, how is antisemitism defined for disciplinary purposes?

Q3c. How many formal complaints of antisemitic conduct has the Council considered between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020 against members, officers or council employees?

Q3d. How many complaints resulted in disciplinary action?

Q3e. How many complaints resulted in no disciplinary action?

Q4. Equality, diversity & training

Q4a. Who is responsible for complying with Scottish Government’s legal obligations in relation to equality and diversity? Please provide their name, job title, e-mail address and direct telephone number.

Q4b. What training does Scottish Government provide to its members, officers and employees specifically on antisemitism as opposed to generally against all forms of discrimination prohibited under the Equality Act 2010?


Q4c. If such specific training on antisemitism is provided, is it conducted by the Council in-house or is it outsourced to a training provider?

Q4d. If such specific training on antisemitism is outsourced, which organisation(s) provide the training?

Q5. Prevent coordinator

Q5a. Who is Scottish Government’s Prevent Coordinator? Please provide their name, job title, e-mail address and direct telephone number.

Response

Q1. Definition of antisemitism

Q1a. The former Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Equalities, Ms Angela Constance MSP, announced the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Antisemitism (including the examples which accompany the definition) in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 13 June 2017.

Q1b. I note in this question you refer to the Council. While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, if your request for information relates to a local authority, as stated under section 17(1) of FOISA, the information you have asked for is not held by the Scottish Government. You may wish to contact your local authority for the information you have requested.

However, if interpreting your request to mean the Scottish Government, I can confirm that there have been no motions in terms of amending or rejecting the IHRA definition since its adoption by the Scottish Government on 13 June 2017.

Q1c. See response to Q1b above.

Q2. Codes of Conduct

Q2a. I note in this question you refer to the members. I have interpreted your request to mean Scottish Government members of staff.

All Scottish Government members of staff are subject to the Civil Service Code, to the SG’s Fairness at Work policy and to the SG’s Expected Standards of Behaviour. The IHRA definition is not specifically mentioned in these codes of conduct but the Scottish Government is clear about our commitment to providing a workplace that is free from discrimination. All staff can therefore expect to be treated equally irrespective of their sex, marital/civil partnership status, maternity/paternity status, age, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, working pattern, employment status, gender identity (transgender), caring responsibility, or trade union membership.

Furthermore, the Civil Service Code sets out the core values of the Civil Service and the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants – including behaviour outside of work and in dealings with one another. One of our core values is impartiality which states that:

“We must carry out our responsibilities in a way that is fair, just and equitable and reflects the Civil Service commitment to equality and diversity; and we must not act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests.”

Q2b. See response to Q2a above

Q2c. note in this question you refer to the Council. While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, if your request for information relates to a local authority, as stated under section 17(1) of FOISA, the information you have asked for is not held by the Scottish Government. You may wish to contact your local authority for the information you have requested.

However, if interpreting your request to mean the Scottish Government, there are various routes that Scottish Government employees can take to report any breaches. This could include reporting concerns to their manager, to the HR People Advice and Wellbeing Team or to the Nominated Officers which may include breaches of the Civil Service Code and any qualifying disclosures as fully set out in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA).

The Scottish Government has internal pool of staff who are trained to investigate allegations of misconduct.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to the second part of the information you have 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.

Q3. Complaints

Q3a. The Scottish Government’s discipline policy provides a list of examples of misconduct and includes ‘discrimination on any grounds’. The discipline policy does not include specific definitions.

Q3b. See Q3a

Q3c. I note in this question you refer to the Council. While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, if your request for information relates to a local authority, as stated under section 17(1) of FOISA, the information you have asked for is not held by the Scottish Government. You may wish to contact your local authority for the information you have requested.

However, I have interpreted your request to mean the Scottish Government and this response therefore covers permanent staff employed in the Scottish Government Core Directorates. Between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 there were no formal complaints of antisemitic conduct against Scottish Government employees.

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

Q3d. See Q3c above. 

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

Q3e. See Q3c above. 

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

Q4. Equality, diversity & training

Q4a. All employees have a responsibility to comply with our legal obligations and, as the Principal Accountable Officer, the Permanent Secretary has responsibility for the day to day operation of the Scottish Government civil service. These responsibilities are supported centrally through the work of the Diversity and Inclusion Team in People Directorate (email Diversityteam@gov.scot).

Q4b. While the Scottish Government does not provide training to its staff specifically on antisemitism, it does provide a range of learning options for staff on topics such as inclusive leadership and culture, inclusive communication, mainstreaming equality and race, religion and belief. The learning options also include a specific resource about legal duties which covers discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Q4c. I note in this question you refer to the Council. While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, if your request for information relates to a local authority, as stated under section 17(1) of FOISA, the information you have asked for is not held by the Scottish Government. You may wish to contact your local authority for the information you have requested.

Q4d. See Q4b above.

Q5. Prevent coordinator

Q5a. We do not have a Scottish Government Prevent Coordinator in Scotland. The work in relation to safeguarding those vulnerable to terrorism sits within the Connected Communities Division in the Equalities, Inclusion and Human Rights Directorate. The Scottish Government’s Safeguarding and Vulnerability team plays a key role in safeguarding vulnerable individuals from being drawn into terrorism through its work supporting the delivery of this strategy in Scotland. National Security, including the Counter-Terrorism Prevent programme, is reserved to the UK Government and the way we deliver the Prevent strategy in Scotland reflects our unique needs and communities.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to the second part of the information you have 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.

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