Information

Questions regarding work on "Building a New Scotland" document: FOI release

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


Information requested

1. How many civil servants worked on these documents and for how long and what the total cost of this was?

2. How many special advisers worked on these papers and what exactly their role was. I would also like to know if any of the special advisers have authority over civil servants.

3. Has the advice of the Permanent Secretary and Lord Advocate been sought as to whether this work is a proper use of civil service resources?

4. Following the launch of the campaign a number of adverts appeared on social media. Can you tell me what the budget is for this campaign?

Response

Part 1
At 16 June 2022, the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Futures Division, which is co-ordinating the work on the independence prospectus series, was comprised of one Senior Civil Servant and nineteen other officials.

The work on Independence in the Modern World: Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? drew on some officials from the Constitutional Futures Division and also drew on other officials across a range of portfolios who contributed to varying extents as part of their wider responsibilities in supporting the Scottish Government.

I am unable to provide you with a figure for the total number of staff who contributed to the first paper because in line with usual practice, details of individual tasks carried out by civil servants, including the number of hours spent on them, are not routinely recorded because there is no business need to do this. 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.

Part 2
Special advisers provide advice to the First Minister and Scottish Cabinet across all portfolio areas. They do not have authority over civil servants who are not special advisers, but do work with them to support Ministers. Information on the roles of current special advisers is published on the Scottish Government website, and is accessible through the following link:

Special advisers - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

I am unable to provide you with a figure for the total number of Special Advisers who are contributing to the prospectus series because in line with usual practice, details of individual tasks carried out by Special Advisers, including the number of hours spent on them, are not routinely recorded because there is no business need to do this. 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.

Part 3
It is the role of civil servants to support the elected government of the day in developing and implementing its policies. The Permanent Secretary is satisfied that work on the prospectus is an appropriate use of civil service resources.

On 8 June 2022, the Scottish Government published some legal advice following an FOI appeal. The full publication can be found here, but you will wish to note the following extract from that publication -

“The Law Officers in their Opinion of 6 December 2019 confirmed Ministers can lawfully undertake policy development work preparing proposals for independence and in calling for a transfer of power.”

Part 4
No Scottish Government advertising or paid promotion was carried out in relation to the launch of the prospectus or the publication of Independence in the Modern World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland?

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.

Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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