Publication - FOI/EIR release

Total cost associated with the International Office Network: FOI release

Published: 16 Dec 2021

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

Published:
16 Dec 2021
Total cost associated with the International Office Network: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100250152
Date received: 25 Oct 2021
Date responded: 22 Nov 2021
Information requested
  • Annual total operating costs for each international office
  • The number of staff who work at each office
  • What performance measures there are in each office to (a) monitor their effective, (b) ensure they are achieving their objectives and (c) provide value for money
  • Actions which have been carried out by each office that have led to measurable direct investment in Scotland including figures since the creation of each office, including action taken by the office and outcome achieved
  • A copy of the latest performance statistics for each office
Response

Annual total operating cost and number of staff for each office

The table below details staff headcount including the current annual budget allocation for the Scottish Government’s overseas offices, including salary costings, upkeep, day-today running and hospitality costs.

OFFICE

BUDGET FOR (2021-22)

STAFF HEADCOUNT

Beijing, China

550,000

4

Berlin, Germany

555,000

3

Brussels, Belgium

2,310,000

18*

Dublin, Ireland

596,000

3

London, England

2,197,000

16

Ottawa, Canada

570,000

4**

Paris, France

556,000

3

Washington DC, United States

805,000

4

* 2 of these posts are funded by a combination of Ministerial Portfolios due to the nature of their roles.
**2 of these posts are part time.

What performance measures there are in each office to (a) monitor their effective, (b) ensure they are achieving their objectives and (c) provide value for money. A copy of the latest performance statistics for each office.

Each Scottish Government External Office submits a monitoring and evaluation report for each financial year in order to monitor the offices’ effectiveness; to ensure they are achieving their objectives; and that they provide value for money. Five shared outcomes, as agreed by the International Board, inform the activity and evaluation of the network. The five outcomes, against which the External Network reports, are as follows: 1) Scotland’s international reputation is improved; 2) Scottish businesses are trading internationally more effectively; 3) Scottish research and innovation capability is promoted and further partnerships and funding secured; 4) Investment to Scotland has increased; and 5) Scotland’s interests in the EU and beyond are protected and enhanced. When reporting against these outcomes, offices use a range of both qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure their performance.

The monitoring and evaluation reports from 2019/2020 have been previously released as part of an FOI response. These can be accessed here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202100206555/ Reports for 2020/2021 are attached to this response.

Please note there are one or two minor inaccuracies in the document which have been amended below.

Page 7, under Washington should read the whisky tariff issue has been suspended not removed.

Page 8, the Berlin paragraph should read “Berlin helped to secure c.€600k funding over 4 years for German language assistant programme for Scottish schools in support of the statement of intent on higher education and research cooperation between Scotland and Rheinland-Pfalz.”

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a small amount of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. This is because it is personal data of a third party, specifically the names 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.

An exemption under section 29(1)(a) Formulation of government policy of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This is because policy options are being considered and consulted on.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to refine process and procedure. This private thinking space is essential to enable all information and options to be properly considered. Disclosure is likely to undermine the quality of this process, which would not be in the public interest.

Actions which have been carried out by each office that have led to measurable direct investment in Scotland including figures since the creation of each office, including action taken by the office and outcome achieved.

The Scottish Government does not specifically link trade and investment to each of our individual overseas offices. The Scottish Government overseas offices measure activities, output and successes using a range of qualitative data, such as feedback provided by stakeholders, media articles or case studies, and quantitative data such as social media performance and event statistics. In specific cases where the office was involved, investment data is captured as well. The offices engage with businesses and stakeholders through a range of activities and a direct impact is not always measurable or directly attributable to the offices as it is commonly the case in this type of engagement.

Colleagues both in Scotland and in our overseas offices across Scottish Government and Scottish Development International contribute together towards trade and investment measures for international sales and jobs. Our offices work across geographies and on a sectoral basis to engage in the wide range of activities which contribute to trade and inward investment successes.

Scottish Enterprise, of which Scottish Development International is part, is one of Scotland's three economic development agencies. It is a non-departmental public body and therefore not part of the Scottish Government.

It is focused on increasing the value of Scottish exports and stimulating Scottish companies to sell more goods and services to international markets. It also works with partners to attract new international investment to strengthen Scotland's communities, company base, and global competitiveness. Therefore, you may wish to contact Scottish Development International for further information.

About FOI
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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Regent Road
Edinburgh
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