Information

Cost/benefit analysis of foreign offices: FOI release

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


Information requested

1. Could you supply a cost breakdown of each Scottish Government foreign office showing exactly what money has been spent on each year?

2. Could you supply the benefits each foreign office has given to Scots/Scotland in terms of money raised, deals being secured, etc?

3. Could you supply the cost/benefit analysis done by the Scottish Government of opening up the foreign offices over the last five years for each one opened in the last five years?

4. If this has not been done, can you explain how the government decides why they open a foreign office if not using the cost/benefit analysis way?

Response

1. Could you supply a cost breakdown of each Scottish Government foreign office showing exactly what money has been spent on each year?

1. The details of budget for each International Office is detailed below as requested. Salary costs equate to 29.6% of the overall international network budget. The remaining budget is spent on day to day running costs and supports a wider programme of programme of policy, trade and cultural engagements in respective locations.

 

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

 

000's

000's

000's

000's

000's

000's

000's

Beijing, China

395

395

395

553

554

550

567

Washington DC, United States

700

700

700

807

811

805

794

Ottawa, Canada

 

 

500

575

575

570

634

Paris, France

 

 

500

545

558

556

659

Dublin, Ireland

 

 

350

541

572

596

593

Berlin, Germany

 

 

300

549

549

555

572

Brussels, Belgium

 

1,139

1,639

2,079

2,088

2,310

2,467

London, England

 

 

1,650

1,995

2,041

2,197

2,180

Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

598

2. Could you supply the benefits each foreign office has given to Scots/Scotland in terms of money raised, deals being secured, etc?

3. Could you supply the cost/benefit analysis done by the Scottish Government of opening up the foreign offices over the last five years for each one opened in the last five years?


2&3. The Scottish Government tracks data annually on trade and investment across all countries where Scottish Government has a hub. Colleagues both in Scotland and in our international offices across Scottish Government and Scottish Development International contribute together to work across geographies and on a sectoral basis together with teams in Scotland and wider partners across industry, academia and beyond to engage in the wide range of activities which contribute to trade and inward successes.

In specific cases where an office was involved or leads on activity, investment data is captured as well. The offices engage with businesses and stakeholders through a range of activities however a direct impact is not always measurable or directly attributable to a specific office or a groups of offices as it is commonly the case in this type of engagement.

The Scottish Government international offices measure activities, output and successes using a range of qualitative data, such as feedback provided by stakeholders, media articles or case studies, and quantitative data such as social media performance, event statistics and investment data.

All of the Scottish Government international offices measure activities, output and successes on an ongoing basis to inform the focus, prioritisation and rationale for work in each location.

The M&E report for 2020/2021 has been previously released under FOISA. Please refer to the attachment to the FOI request in the link here for ease of reference. Total cost associated with the International Office Network: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). The M&E report for 2021/2022 is awaiting publication.

4. If this has not been done, can you explain how the government decides why they open a foreign office if not using the cost/benefit analysis way?

4. All Scottish Government offices are in countries which have been identified as priority in the publication “A Trading Nation” within the proposed export growth plan. In our most recently opened office in Copenhagen, factors considered together on choosing to locate the Scottish Government office there included but were not limited to:-

  • Whether there is an existing Scottish presence in a location
  • Potential for wider bilateral/multilateral engagement (including EU Engagement within relevant areas)
  • The strength and depth of existing policy, cultural and trade links between a location and Scotland
  • Logistics – for example the connections to, from and within a particular region
  • Operating costs – for example office costs and the costs of living


For Scottish Development International, trade and investment (T&I) specific locations and resources are aligned to evidence based opportunity, consistent with principles and relevant T&I polices set out in the respective Scottish Government publications - A Trading Nation, Inward Investment Plan, Vision for Trade and the Global Capital Investment Plan.

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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