The role of Director General (DG) Strategy and External Affairs: FOI release

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

Information requested

Your request was for:

  1. All emails, Whatsapp messages, Teams messages, notes pertaining to the redeployment of Joe Griffin to the role of DG Strategy and External Affairs
  2. Policies, guidance or otherwise in place pertaining to the redeployment, transfer, lateral move of an SCS individual in the Scottish Government to another role.
  3. All emails, Whatsapp messages, Teams messages, notes which discuss these such policies etc.

By redeployment, I mean to refer to any term that is used internally in SG concerning the move of a member of staff to another role.

I am requesting this due to my view of a lack of transparency of a Senior Civil Servant being moved to another role without following any protocols thus being given favoured treatment or a perception of such.


Joe Griffin will be assigned to the Director General (DG) Strategy & External Affairs role with effect from 1 September 2023. All DG appointments are approved by the Cabinet Office Senior Leadership Committee (SLC). Appointments may be made by recruitment competition, by managed move or on a temporary promotion basis.

Joe Griffin was already a substantive DG within Scottish Government so whilst the post he has moved into wasn’t advertised, the role he moved out of (DG Education and Justice) was advertised. This was filled  through a full external competition, chaired by a Civil Service Commissioner, therefore, no loss of opportunity to apply for a DG role arose from this managed move.

In response to Question 2, the policy and approach to appointments at senior service level is set by the UK Government Cabinet Office and follows the principles set out by the Civil Service Commission: Recruitment Principles - Civil Service Commission (

In response to your questions 1 and 3, I have attached copies of email correspondence that fall within scope of your request.Please note that while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we have redacted the names and contact details of all staff below Senior Civil Service (SCS) level. This is formal notification that we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested and an exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Further exemptions apply under section 30(b)(i) Free and frank provision of advice and section 30(b)(ii) Free and frank exchange of views. These are subject to the ‘public interest test’ and we have considered that it is not in the public interest to release the information covered by these exemptions. There are no WhatsApp messages, TEAMS messages or notes pertaining to Joe Griffin’s redeployment. I therefore provide you with formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because it does not exist.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300365506 - Information Released - Documents


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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