You know, when you’ve spent a number of years submitting freedom of information requests left, right and centre, you eventually develop a sense of when something’s not quite right, of when the wool is being pulled, and of when obstruction is the name of the game.
The Scottish Government is no stranger to criticism over the way it handles FoI requests – have a look at this, for example, which includes a quote from a senior editor, “We frequently come across obstruction, poor practice and clear efforts to restrict access to information – experiences which undermine our confidence in the system“.
Now have a read of the following correspondence and see what you think.
It began with a straightforward FoI request, submitted to Scot Gov on 1 January 2020, asking for the full financial details of commissioning Professor Werritty to Chair the Grouse Moor Management Review Group.
Here’s Scot Gov’s response:
Here’s my response to Scot Gov:
And here’s Scot Gov’s response, telling me it’s not a valid request because I’ve only provided my first name (even though this is part of an ongoing correspondence chain and my surname is provided in my email!) and that they need my surname and title to proceed:
Here’s my response:
So far it’s been six weeks since the very simple question was first asked. Why is it so difficult for the Scottish Government to provide an answer?
UPDATE 19 May 2020: Full cost of Werritty Review finally revealed (here)