Publication - FOI/EIR release

Engagements and total cost incurred by Scottish Funding Council: FOI release

Published: 2 Dec 2021

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

Published:
2 Dec 2021
Engagements and total cost incurred by Scottish Funding Council: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100244810
Date received: 13 Oct 2021
Date responded: 10 Nov 2021
Information requested

1. The total costs incurred by Scottish Funding Council from 2014 to the present day. This includes all secretariat staffing costs, daily board member fees and expenses, events, publications and office-running costs.

Your subsequent clarification determined that “I can confirm that I am solely asking for the cost of the board itself, including secretariat staffing costs etc.”

2. A record of all engagement between board members and Scottish Government ministers and Cabinet Secretaries from 2014 to the present day. 

Your subsequent clarification determined that “As for engagement, this includes the minutes of any meetings where a Scottish minister was in attendance or any written correspondence with a Scottish minister”.

Response

Response to your request part one
1. The answer to your question for the period of 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2021 is £3,341,000. A copy of the breakdown for each year is provided in Annex B.

2. This information is also available in the Scottish Funding Council’s annual accounts in the “Note to accounts”, published annually on their website www.sfc.ac.uk.

3. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested, relating to the current financial year. The reasons why we don’t have the information are explained in Annex A.

Response to your request: part two
Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Funding Council website, relating to published Letters of Guidance issued by Ministers to the Scottish Funding Council.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing all the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve that information we would need to conduct a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government.

Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could restrict your request to a list of SFC Board meetings at which a Minister was present.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx

ANNEX A
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for relating to the financial year beginning 1 April 2021 because it relates to the current financial year. The Scottish Government only holds the final audited accounts of the Scottish Funding Council for each full financial year. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

An exemption applies
An exemption under section 12 of FOISA applies to all of the information you have requested. 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. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you in a publicly accessible place.

ANNEX B

Year ended 31 March

Council member remuneration

Hospitality council members

Publication costs

Travel & subsistence council members

Committee costs

TOTAL

 

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

2021

424

0

11

0

0

435

2020

384

2

25

12

2

425

2019

365

4

16

3

8

396

2018

365

4

24

8

6

407

2017

368

1

13

11

8

401

2016

360

4

31

9

14

418

2015

349

4

24

10

11

398

2014

413

2

25

10

11

461

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,341

The above figures are taken from "Other Operating Charges" in the annual accounts.

 

To note that 2014 figures will be from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 so are not fully in scope with FOI request. Also no costs from 1 April 2021 to present.

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