Provision for or appointment of speechwriters for the First Minister: FOI release

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

Information requested

All correspondence about the provision or appointment of speechwriters for the First Minister which has taken place between the Permanent Secretary and the following:

  1. Liz Lloyd, political adviser to the First Minister
  2. Julie Grant, head of news at the Scottish Government
  3. Dominic Munro, director of strategy at the Scottish Government.

The correspondence should include emails, text messages and WhatsApp messages and should cover the period from the start of 1 January, 2022, to 11 December 2022.


A copy of some of the information you requested is attached.

Exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) (personal data), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation) of FOISA apply to some theinformation you have requested.

Section 38(1)(b) applies because there is personal data within this correspondence. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test'.

Section 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. The exemptions recognise the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to seek advice on and discuss sensitive information and decisions. Disclosing the content of free and frank correspondence on the appointment of the First Minister's speechwriters will substantially inhibit such correspondence in the future.

These exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which Ministers and officials can have free and frank discussion on sensitive matters.

About FOI

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

202200333883 - DOC 1 - Redacted


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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