Preparations for referendum on Scottish independence: FOI release

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

Information requested

What level of resource is the Scottish Government providing for referendum and independence planning, communications and public engagement during 2022 and 2023?

Please include specific information on:

  • Number of Scottish Government officials (full-time equivalent), job grades and cost;
  • Freelance, Legal and Consultancy advice, support and management including scope of work and cost;
  • Media work, including advertising costs, paid content in print, audio-visual and digital media;
  • Public Engagement, including funding for interest groups.


The 2021/22 Programme for Government (PfG) set out that the Scottish Government will work to ensure that a legitimate and constitutional referendum can be held within this Parliamentary term, if the Covid crisis is over, and that a detailed prospectus for an independent Scotland will be prepared to allow the people of Scotland to make an informed choice over their future.

The work to prepare legislation for an independence referendum is being taken forward by the Referendums Scotland Bill Team and the work to prepare an independence prospectus is being coordinated by the Constitutional Futures Division. Both these teams are part of the Constitution and Cabinet Directorate.

At 3 February 2022, the Referendums Scotland Bill Team was a team of two civil servants (graded C2 and C1).

At 3 February 2022, Constitutional Futures Division comprised of twelve officials (5 graded C2, 6 graded C1 and 1 graded B3) and one Senior Civil Servant.

These numbers may change as the work programme evolves.

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 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 salaries 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.

As part of our commitment to be an open and transparent government we do disclose salary details of senior civil servants, the salary band for the post in Constitutional Futures Division is below.

  • Deputy Director – Constitutional Futures: £77,340 - £83,233

The work of the Referendums Scotland Bill Team and the Constitutional Futures Division will draw on other officials who will contribute to varying extents. The Scottish Government does not have a recorded number of other staff who will participate in this work because, in line with usual practice, the Scottish Government does not routinely record details of individual tasks carried out by civil servants, including the number of hours spent on them, as there is no business need to do so.

At 3 February, no final decisions have been taken on the use of public engagement, media work or the use of freelance or consultancy advice, support or management. 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.

About FOI

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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