Proposed Independence Prospectus: FOI release

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

Information requested

Information on the number of civil servants currently working to develop the proposed Independence Prospectus, for their remit, and timetable for publication.


1. Number of civil servants currently working to develop the Independence Prospectus.

At 22 September 2022, staff in the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Futures Division, who are co-ordinating work on the prospectus and related work, comprised of one Senior Civil Servant and twenty-three other officials.

The work to develop the prospectus is also drawing on a range of other officials across the organisation who will contribute 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 contributing to the prospectus 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.

2. Remit

On 7 September 2021, the First Minister announced as part of the 2021-22 Programme for Government (PfG) that the Scottish Government will work to ensure that a legitimate and constitutional referendum can be held within this Parliamentary term and that it will start work on a detailed prospectus for an independent Scotland.

This work includes policy development, research, communications and preparation of legislation. As noted above, it involves civil servants in roles across the organisation contributing as part of their wider duties supporting Scottish Ministers in a range of policy areas and in respect of a range of administrative matters.

3. Timetable for publication

The plan is to complete publication of the prospectus in good time to inform the choice that people will make in the referendum. I am unable to provide a detailed timetable for the publication of the prospectus papers as the information is exempt under section 30(c) of FOISA as disclosure would otherwise prejudice substantially, or be likely to prejudice substantially, the effective conduct of public affairs.

This exemption applies in this case as releasing draft timetable information, which does not reflect final decisions, would result in out-of-date and inaccurate information being published, thereby undermining the Scottish Government’s ability to effectively and accurately engage and communicate with the public. Exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’. In addition to the reasons provided above, it should be noted that the information requested will be in the public domain following the publication of all the prospectus papers. We have therefore found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of the application of exemption 30(c).

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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