Scottish Covid Inquiry cost: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. How much money has the Scottish Covid Inquiry cost so far, with a breakdown of these costs?

2. How much of the £10m Long Covid fund introduced by the Scottish Government has been spent and a breakdown of where it has been spent?

3. How many of Humza Yousaf's cabinet have WhatsApp downloaded on their government issued phones?

4. All correspondence sent between the UK Covid Inquiry and the Scottish Government about evidence for the inquiry, between September 1 2023 and the date of this FOI?

5. All correspondence, including internal correspondence, notes and briefings written about the vanishing Covid care home guidance mentioned (refer to the link provided below) between October 1 2023 and the date of this FOI?


The answers to your questions are set out below.

Question 1

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

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for. The Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry will be fully funded by Scottish Government. However, all matters relating to the operation of the Inquiry are for the Chair, entirely independent of the government.

Publication of costs and spend in relation to its activities are matters for the Inquiry and the Chair, and it is for the Inquiry itself to comment on its work.

The Inquiry publishes information on costs in arrears and broken down by quarter, along with some examples of areas of spend, on its website at the following link: Inquiry costs | Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry (

Question 2

The £10 million Long COVID Support Fund is profiled for allocation over the financial years 2022-23, 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26.

A total of £1,119,016 was spent by organisations from the fund over 2022-23.

As of 9 January 2024, a total of £2,709,026 has been allocated to organisations from the fund over 2023-24. The amount spent by organisations will only be known at the end of the financial year.

The table below provides a breakdown of expenditure over 2022-23 and allocations for 2023-24 against individual recipients.


Organisation or project


Amount spent 2022-23

Amount allocated 2023-24

(as at 9 January 2024)

NHS Ayrshire and Arran



NHS Borders



NHS Dumfries and Galloway



NHS Fife



NHS Forth Valley



NHS Grampian



NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde



NHS Highland



NHS Lanarkshire



NHS Lothian



NHS Orkney



NHS Shetland



NHS Tayside



NHS Western Isles



NHS National Services Scotland



NHS Inform microsite development



Thistle Foundation



Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)



Covid Aid



Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland



Long Covid Scotland



Scottish Opera



Scottish Ballet






Question 3

I can confirm that no member of Scottish Cabinet, including the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, has WhatsApp downloaded on their government issue devices.

Question 4

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because the Scottish Government and the UK Covid- 19 Inquiry have been in frequent correspondence during the timeframe set out in this request regarding how the Inquiry will conduct its business, this includes evidence proposals from the UK Inquiry and evidence submissions to the UK Inquiry. Therefore, there are a large number of emails and the required resource to redact and process all documentation far exceeds the upper cost limit of £600 in this instance. 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. This could be achieved through narrowing the timeframe or further specifying the subject matter. However, please note that given that the correspondence we hold relates to discussions about how the Inquiry will conduct its business and the provision of evidence requested by the Inquiry the following exemptions will apply to much of this material; 37(1)(b)(i), 37(1)(b)(ii) and 30 (c).

You may find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on his website at:

Question 5

The issue highlighted on 12 November through the Daily Record article resulted from the migration of content from the historic Health Protection Scotland (HPS) website to the new Public Health Scotland (PHS) website on 1 November 2023.

On 12 November, Scottish Government and PHS officials were notified of the planned article and associated issues.

Following this notification, PHS staff promptly resolved the issues with broken links on 13 November, following which media representatives and stakeholders were updated, with reassurance provided around the steps taken to resolve matters.

The documents have been available since publication: the location of the documents changed to the PHS website on 1 November.

The archive of COVID-19 guidance can be found here: COVID-19 guidance archive - COVID-19 health protection guidance - COVID-19 - Infectious diseases - Health protection - Our areas of work - Public Health Scotland

Documents associated with this question is also provided as part of this response. Redactions under s38(1)(d) - personal info relating to a third party – have been applied, as well as to content that is outwith the scope of the question.

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested as part the response to your question 5.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) s38(1)(d) (personal information), and 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views) of FOISA applies to that information.

The reasons why those exemptions have been applied are explained in the Annex to this letter.

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 202400392301 - Information Released - Annex
FOI 202400392301 - Information Released - Emails


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top