Patrick Harvie's expenses for trip to Rome: FOI release

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

Information requested

In the ministerial engagements for October 2022 there are various details pertaining to a trip by Patrick Harvie to Rome which it shows he used to attend the Europe Regional Meeting, but there is also a domestic trip to London at the same time.

He has claimed the following expenses, can you please detail how Mr Harvie travelled to Rome and how many nights did he spend in London, Rome and any other cities visited during the week, also as the conference was only 2 days why this appears to have taken six days including a weekend and whether the weekend accommodation was funded by @ScotGov and also what the agenda was including minutes for the various meetings he had between 7/10/2022 that Mr Harvie attended (see below) including where they were held. Please include any correspondence made for the advance planning of these trips and meetings. Were any other more efficient travel options considered.


Mr Harvie travelled to Rome via train. The Minister spent one night in London, one in Paris, three in Rome, and one in Basel. The entire trip took six days due to the various international train schedules. Mr Harvie travelled over the weekend as he had ministerial business in Paris on the evening of Saturday 8 October. Furthermore, weekend travel was necessary so that the Minister was in Rome on time for his meeting with the Co-Chair of OGP’s International Steering Group, the UK OGP Steering Group and chair of the OGP Criteria and Standards Committee on Monday 10th October. As Mr Harvie was travelling in his Ministerial capacity as part of Scottish Government business, the weekend accommodation was funded by the Scottish Government.

With regards to the agenda for the meetings, this was as follows:

Monday 10 October

  • Bilateral Meeting: Lucy McTernan, Scottish Civil Society Co Chair, Rome

Tuesday 11 October

  • Bilateral Meeting: Taimar Peterkop, Secretary of State for Estonia, Rome
  • Session on Local Open Government: How does context define action?, Rome Bilateral Meeting: Ms Sirpa Paatero, Minister of Local Government, Rome
  • Bilateral Meeting: Norwegian high-level representative, Ms Gunn Karin Gjul, Rome
  • Speaking Engagement: Embedding Participation in Climate Policy-Making: Examples from the Partnership, Rome
  • Open Government Partnerships Event - Evening Reception, Rome

Wednesday 12 October

  • Bilateral Meeting: Kosovo Minister of Local Governance Mr. Elbert Krasniqi, Rome
  • Bilateral Meeting: Allesandro Bellantoni, Head of Open Government at OECD - Open Government through the OECD lens, Rome

For the above bilateral meetings, no set agenda was agreed in advance of each meeting. With regards to your request for the minutes of the meetings that Mr Harvie attended, I have attached a copy of these to the response.

This is a formal notice that section 30(b) of FOISA applies to your request for correspondence relating to the advance planning of these trips and meetings. This exemption allows public authorities to refuse to disclose information where this would inhibit substantially— i) the free and frank provision of advice; or (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

With regards to your query about whether any other more efficient travel options were considered, SG holds a sustainable travel hierarchy and travel strategy, as well as policies on the use of rail in preference to air. Ultimately, SG policy stipulates that what constitutes "other efficient travel options" and what is considered "cost effective" is a decision for Mr Harvie's office. Given flying is roughly five times more polluting than travelling by rail, a business decision was taken to travel via train. Furthermore, time spent on a train is not unproductive: indeed, the longer uninterrupted duration on a train may well be more beneficial to working than taking a shorter flight, and the train invariably takes the traveller directly into a city centre, eliminating connecting journeys from an airport.

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Meeting Note - Mr Harvie - OGP Europe Regional Meeting


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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