Education Scotland safeguarding correspondence: FOI release

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

Information requested

The following information in relation to a recent FOI (202200287758):

In the second part of the response, it is stated: "The reason why we have no information is due to our Enterprise Vault permanently deleting any email exchanges we have had with Aberdeenshire Council."

In relation to that statement, I would like to request the following information on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act.

Since the beginning of 2020, which other correspondence from local authorities has been deleted on the issue of child protection and safeguarding concerns in Scotland? Is it general policy to automatically delete such messages, or was this a specific arrangement for Aberdeenshire Council?

In addition, in the absence of emails which have been deleted by the Enterprise Vault, could you please provide copies of all safeguarding forms completed and held on file from Aberdeenshire Council since the beginning of 2020 to now?


In order to answer your statement above “Is it general policy to automatically delete such messages, or was this a specific arrangement for Aberdeenshire Council”, I hope the following information is helpful.

Education Scotland aligns with the Scottish Government’s policies on the retention of data and information, Under that policy, emails that are considered part of the official record should be moved to our document management system (eRDM) so that these can be stored and retrieved as required in the future.

In order to ensure that our email system functions well, emails are automatically archived (to Enterprise Vault) after 60 days and permanently deleted (from the email system only) at the end of one year. These timelines are designed to allow time for officers to determine which correspondence is part of the official record, and should be retained on eRDM, and which is not. Archived emails can be re-opened at any time until the deletion date is reached.

The process for saving an archived email to eRDM is slightly different than that for saving one which is within the 60 days and not yet archived. It would appear that, in this instance, the archived emails were not moved correctly to eRDM. This meant that, while eRDM contains a reference to the emails, the full content was not moved.

I can confirm that this was an error and not part of our records management policy or technical processes.

We have asked our technical team to see if the archived emails could be retrieved but unfortunately this has not been possible.

Please find attached at Annex A, an extract from our safeguarding Data Record Sheet which lists all safeguarding correspondence that Education Scotland has received between the period from 1 January 2020 to 13 April 2022, please note that we do not use safeguarding forms. However, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information within the document because an exemption under section 38(1)(b), personal information of FOISA applies because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. 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.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202200294660 - Information Released - Annex A


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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