Mobile messaging apps – usage and policy guidance: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. Between February 1, 2020 and April 1, 2020, any advice or guidance or correspondence on the use of instant messaging platforms in the context of remote working.

2. During the same time period, any correspondence on the topic of policies relating to remote working and record keeping, including any policy documents.


1. The Scottish Government’s long-standing Records Management Policy has always been clear that regardless of the source medium, information relevant to the corporate record must be saved. This is complemented by the Scottish Government Mobile messaging apps – usage and policy guidance.

The following guidance was also posted on ‘Saltire’, the Scottish Government intranet, available to all SCOTS users, on 27 April 2020:

Non-SCOTS platforms

Keeping in touch with colleagues and having social and business contact during this time is vitally important. Apps like Zoom, Slack and WhatsApp can be downloaded on your SCOTS mobile but must be used in a responsible, professional manner. When using them remember:

  • apps are for official info only
  • messages are only encrypted when in transit - as soon as they arrive on your device it depends on your security settings
  • messages are subject to Freedom of Information (FOI)
  • messages should be transitory and not used as the official record
  • messages should be deleted as soon as they are no longer needed

2. All records management advice, guidance and policy applies to colleagues whether they are working remotely or working in an office.

About FOI

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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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