Scottish Government Office Space: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. Any minutes in which:

  • the reduction of office space
  • the reduction of the Scottish Government estate specifically in relation to the work of civil servants is discussed.

2.  The text, methodology, strategy or framework employed by the Scottish Government when deciding what parts of the estate are to be retained.
3.  Information on the proportion of the estate which have been disposed of in the last five years i) by year ii) by the department which occupies the space.


I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the format you requested. Your request has been interpreted to apply to the Scottish Governments administration core estate only.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information in part because I) of your request as an exemption(s) under section(s)12 of FOISA applies to that information.

In this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing all of the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve that information we would need to conduct a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government. It may help if I explain that we file our information according to the subject matter, and discussions on the reduction of office space specifically in relation to the work of civil servants could form part of a range of meetings and discussions across all of Scottish Governments Directorates and Units. 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. For example, you could specify a specific time period or location you are interested in or restrict your request to a specific business area of the Scottish Government, as this would allow us to limit the searches that would require to be conducted. 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:

In response to part 2) of your request - the Scottish Government follows the guidance within the Scottish Government Finance Manual (SPFM) in its decision making on what what parts of the estate are to be retained. The relevant text and methodology can be found under the Best Value, Appraisal and Valuation and Property, Acquisition and Disposals and Management Sections. The guidance specifically sets out:

  • property holdings should be kept to the minimum required to meet current and planned needs
  • the decision to acquire or dispose of property should be part of an overall strategic plan for the organisation’s needs in accordance with the Scottish Government’s “Estate Strategy – Central Estate" Central estate: strategy - (

Further details on Asset management guidance can be found on the following link: Management of assets property guidance - Scottish Public Finance Manual - (

In response to part 3) of your request on the proportion of the estate which have been disposed of in the last five years i) by year ii) by the department which occupies the space. This has been interpreted to relate to the SG Core estate and the proportion has been calculated as a percentage reduction of the total number of buildings, it includes buildings where the lease was surrendered. The name of the Directorate and Directorate General that predominantly occupied the building is provided in the table below along with the number and percentage reduction.


Number of buildings disposed/ lease surrendered.

Director General/ Directorate occupying

% reduction of buildings



DG Net Zero - Marine Directorate, DG Corporate - CT & Workplace Directorate




DG Corporate












DG Corporate, DG Net Zero - Agricultural & Rural Economy DG Communities - Local Government and Housing Directorate


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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