Non-disclosure agreements, agency staff and complaints procedures: FOI release

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

Information requested

Details of total spend by the Scottish Government broken down for the following since 2007:

a) Non-disclosure agreements

b) Agency staff (Temporary interim workers)

c) Complaints procedures (The internal grievance process)


In your request, you asked for information about the Scottish Government. Our response therefore covers the core directorates of the Scottish Government (see Annex A for details).

Non-Disclosure Agreements
In relation to Part A, 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. This is because there is no centrally held record of non-disclosure agreements, nor is there a definition of what constitutes a “non-disclosure agreement” and so information which relates to your request may be held across a number of different areas of government and in different formats. In the context of employment law, NDAs can be used in settlement agreements entered into on an agreed termination of a contract, so that neither party can speak about events that happened during the employment and the reasons for the termination. A confidentiality clause does not – under any circumstances – prevent an employee from making a protected disclosure under whistleblowing legislation. A confidentiality clause may be used following prescribed guidance on information sharing. This guidance is clear that the information sharing clause makes reference to the Scottish Government being entitled to use the fact that an Agreement has been entered into, to collate and publish information on the number of Settlement Agreements entered into across the Scottish Administration and the costs involved.

Data in relation to settlement and the number of confidentiality clauses in Scottish Government and Public bodies, NHS Scotland and Scottish Funding Council overseen bodies is held from 2014 and, since then, has been provided to parliament annually. Reports are available on the Scottish Parliament website.

Agency Staff
In relation to Part B, the details of total spend are shown at Annex B. The increase in Agency staffing costs reflects the demands of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the ongoing impact of EU exit and additional responsibilities taken on from the UK Government.

Complaints Procedure
In relation to Part C, within the grievance process, Investigating Officers, Deciding Officers and Appeal Officers are roles which are normally completed by Scottish Government members of staff. We do not hold information about the time spent on grievance work and therefore information about spend is not held. This is therefore a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested.

On a very small number of occasions (fewer than 5 instances), the role of the Investigating Officer has been completed by an external provider. The spend on external investigators for grievance work is £23,048.20.

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 202200304405 - Information released - Annex A & B


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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