1) How much has the Scottish Government spent exactly on creating an office in Copenhagen and an exact breakdown of these costs?
2) How much was the opening ceremony of the office in Copenhagen on 26 August 2022?
3) How many staff members accompanied the First Minister to Copenhagen, what was the cost of their trip (staff and the First Minister) and how long did they stay? Can this please be broken down by travel (first or standard class?), accommodation, food and drinks.
Each point of your request has been responded to in turn below.
1) The establishment costs for the Scottish Government’s Copenhagen office in Financial Year 2021-22 were £16,226; this was a payment to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as the office is based within the British Embassy. The total budget for the Copenhagen office in Financial Year 2022-2023 – the first year of operation – is £598,000, which covers all costs and activities of the office.
2) The Copenhagen office launch reception cost £10,339, which includes venue hire, catering, and entertainment, and came from the overall budget.
3) An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to the information requested because it is intended for future publication within 12 weeks of the date of your request. It is our intention to publish that information no later than 21 November 2022. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until it is published, rather than release this routinely published information before the planned publication date.
Details of all Ministerial engagements and expenses are proactively published by the Scottish Government, including the costs of travel and accommodation. The information can be accessed at the below link: https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/
Section 27(1) – information intended for future publication
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release in terms of providing transparency in the use of public funds and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.
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
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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