Money spent on staff bonuses and staff pay offs: FOI release

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

Information requested

  1. How much money has been spent on staff bonuses in the last five years, from the beginning of 2017 to the beginning of October 2022?
  2. How much money has been spent on paying off staff in the last five years, from the beginning of 2017 to the beginning of October 2022?
  3. I would like this information broken down into how much was paid to each individual and their job title/and or pay band.


Pay for staff below the Senior Civil Service (SCS) is delegated to Scottish Ministers and is subject to the Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy which does not permit the payment of staff bonuses. Therefore the pay systems of the Scottish Government Main and Marine pay bargaining units do not include any of the elements you have asked for.

Pay for staff in the SCS is reserved and operates within the UK Cabinet Office pay and performance management framework. The UK SCS pay and performance management framework allows for the payment of non-consolidated performance bonuses but, in line with the Scottish Public Sector Pay Policy, the Scottish Government has not made any such payments to SCS staff since 2010-11.

However, there is one exception where a performance payment has been paid. A payment was made in one of the years that you have requested information for to a single SCS member of staff under a contractual arrangement agreed at the time the individual commenced employment which pre-dated the current Scottish Government policy on performance bonus payments. An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to this information as it pertains to personal information and release may enable identification of this specific member of staff.

We have interpreted your use of the phrase ‘paying off staff’ to mean situations where settlement agreements have been used to resolve an employment dispute. Data in relation to settlement agreements in the Scottish Government and Public bodies, NHSScotland 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.

The annual report provides an anonymised breakdown of all settlement agreements entered into in cost order thereby respecting the confidentiality of settlement agreements and individuals general entitlement to privacy.

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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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