Scottish Connections framework: FOI release

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

Information requested

  1. How much money has the Scottish Government and other bodies connected to the government spent in total on the Scottish Connections Framework and a breakdown of these costs?
  2. Who came up with the idea of the framework and the digital platforms ideas?
  3. What department of civil servants are working on these proposals?
  4. All correspondence regarding the Scottish Connections Framework received and sent out by Scottish Government officials, ministers and civil servants between April 1 and the date of this FOI?
  5. Supply the cost/benefit analysis for the Scottish Connections Framework.


The answers to your first three questions are:

1. The Scottish Government spent a net total of £37,309.55 on the Scottish Connections Framework.

Costs (and suppliers) are the following:

  • £5,731.36 Design and publication costs for the Scottish Connections Framework (published 11 April 2023) – to APS Group (Scotland) Limited
  • £19,812.50 Provision of Scottish Connections (diaspora) qualitative research (published 7 October 2022) – to University of the West of Scotland
  • £ 768.89 Publication of qualitative research – to APS Group (Scotland) Limited
  • £9,940.00 Provision of Scottish Connections (diaspora) literature review (published 20 December 2021) – payment made to ICR Research Ltd
  • £1056.80 Design and online publication of literature review – to APS Group (Scotland) Limited

2. The framework and digital platform were suggested by officials in our Directorate for External Affairs. These were proposed to address three recommendations within the Scottish Connections Qualitative Research (published 7 October 2022), respectively that:

  • “Diaspora engagement has increasingly been recognised in Scotland as an important area of policy. Agreeing such a policy is now a matter of greater urgency.”
  • “The requirement for a significant and easily accessible web presence, serving as a ‘gateway’ for people seeking information about Scotland and Scottish Government diaspora policy should be a priority.”
  • “The Scottish Government should create a digital database of Scottish diaspora organisations and this directory could be used to target different elements of diaspora engagement and encourage awareness of the depth and spread of the diaspora.””

This research, and a literature review, was commissioned to inform the delivery of the commitments set out in The Programme for Government 2021-22 to “engage with our Scottish Connections international community and expand on our work with Scottish diaspora networks across the world”. This commitment was reiterated in Scotland’s Global Affairs Framework (May 2022).

3. This policy is the responsibility of the Scottish Government's Directorate for External Affairs.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested under question 4 would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This covers a significant volume of correspondence held by a range of officials across the Scottish Government. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. In particular if there is a specific type of correspondence (for example ministerial correspondence, or correspondence with external stakeholders) that is of interest to you this may help bring this below the cost limit. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on his website at:

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested under question 5. This is because a cost benefit analysis for the Scottish Connections Framework has not been undertaken. It may be helpful to explain that the Framework is not a standalone policy and brings together opportunities from a range of policy areas and in different geographies.

You may also be interested to know that the Scottish Government' parliamentary motion S6M-09107 agreed to provide more details regarding the metrics upon which the delivery of the Scottish Connections Framework will be measured and how its impact will be monitored, measured and reported. The success or impact of each of the Framework commitments will be measured independently. You may also be interested to know that we have committed to reviewing our progress within the Scottish Connections Framework biennially.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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