Spending on paper shredders: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. The number of shredders purchased by the Scottish Government in each of the last five years.
2. The amount of money spent on new shredders in each of the last five years.
3. The model(s) of new shredders purchased by the Scottish Government in the past year.
4. The number of shredders currently recorded as being owned by the Scottish Government.


Most of Scottish Government’s information (since 2004) is held digitally, including official records. These are held in our corporate records and document management system and subject to review, retention and disposal as set out in our Records Management Plan under the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011. A copy of the plan is available on the Scottish Government website (https://beta.gov.scot/publications/scottish-government-records-management-plan/).

This means that, apart from retained paper files created prior to 2004, paper versions of documents are usually printed convenience copies of items held digitally, for example, copies of papers for meetings or printed versions of emails. After usage, and with the master copy of a document or email being digital, it is normal practice to dispose of the printed copy.

In line with Government Data Handling Standard policy, all paper items are deemed to be classified as OFFICIAL unless marked as OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE or above. Paper items deemed to be OFFICIAL can be placed in our general mixed recycling containers and do not have to be physically shredded or destroyed before disposal. Paper items marked as OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE or above are placed in Confidential Waste bags for destruction and often shredded before being placed in these bags. Confidential Waste bags are then collected and destroyed.

Year Amount (£) Number of Shredders
2019 £4851.28 7
2020 £1601.43 12
2021 £812.30 6
2022* £484.81 3

*to end April 2022

Therefore, with regards to points 1 and 3 of your enquiry, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. 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, it is estimated that reducing the period of the review to 3 years and specifying any purchases made using the SG purchasing system and/or the SG Corporate ePC card would fall within the £600 threshold. 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.

With regards to point 4 of your enquiry, as explained above, the Scottish Government does not purchase shredders centrally and as a result does not hold any record of the total number of shredders that it owns.

Section 17(1) - information not held. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because no central record exists of the total number of shredders that it owns.

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.


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top