In September, the First Minister announced that Scottish Government civil servants would start work on a detailed prospectus for independence (as reported here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-58478187).
On 4th November 2021, I submitted a Freedom of Information request which asked for information on this work (your reference 202100252928); on 3rd December 2021, I received a response which told me that the Scottish Government did not have the information I requested, because scoping work was under way.
Since then, the Scottish Government 2022-23 budget has been announced. I presume that the Scottish Government has based the amount of funding required for each portfolio on the activities planned for 2022-23, which I expect includes work on the detailed prospectus mentioned above.
1. Please could you let me know how much of the Scottish Government's 2022-23 budget has been allocated to the preparation of a detailed prospectus for independence?
2. Please could you let me know the breakdown of this budget allocation, including staff and non-staff costs. Please could you provide details of each of these categories, including estimated numbers of staff and grades within staff costs, and the specific estimates used for non-staff costs?
3. Please also provide me with the planned timescale for this work; if you are unable to provide planned dates, please provide me with the anticipated duration of the work.
4. Please could you also let me know how many Scottish Government staff are currently allocated to the scoping work for this prospectus (i.e. the ongoing work mentioned in the FOI response of 3rd December), and the grades of each staff member?
5. Finally, please provide me with copies of any Scottish Government documents which set out the draft or approved plan and budget for the scoping exercise; the draft or approved plan and budget for the prospectus itself; and the minutes of the relevant meetings which approved the plans and budgets related to the prospectus.
1. 2. & 4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, we are unable to provide you with figures on the basis you have requested.
As you are aware, the Scottish Government’s 2022-23 budget sets out the amount of funding allocated to each portfolio. The work to prepare an independence prospectus will be co-ordinated by a team in the Constitution and Cabinet Directorate, but will draw on other officials across a range of portfolios who will contribute to varying extents as part of their wider responsibilities in supporting the Scottish Government.
The co-ordinating team currently comprises one Senior Civil Servant and ten other officials (5 graded C2, 4 graded C1 and 1 graded B3).
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.
3. As set out in the 2021/22 Programme for Government (PfG), the Scottish Government will work to ensure that a legitimate and constitutional referendum can be held within this Parliament, and if the Covid crisis is over, within the first half of this Parliament. The prospectus will be published in advance of a referendum, in time to ensure the people of Scotland have the information they need to make an informed choice about their future.
5. Exemptions under Sections 29(1)(a) – Formulation or Development of Government Policy, 30(b)(i) Free and Frank Provision of Advice of FOISA apply to the information requested. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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