Cross-Party Groups – registration of interests of non-MSP members recorded in the Minutes

SJA Grove (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Scottish Parliament

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Scottish Parliament Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

SJA Grove (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Scottish Parliament,

There appears to be a lack of consistency in the recording of minutes of Cross-Party Groups (CPGs) of the Scottish Parliament. Some CPGs refer to an “individual” whereas other CPGs are more thorough in the descriptors of a contributor's interests.

Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 please provide the recorded guidelines for releasing meeting minutes (onto the Scottish Parliament website) that are provided to the Convener of a Cross-Party Group (CPG) to accurately record the primary interests (e.g. employer, associated charity, university etc) that a non-Member of the Scottish Parliament (non-MSP) member of the CPG has registered with the Scottish Parliament and/or the CPG itself.

Yours faithfully,

SJA Grove

Foi-Officer,

Dear SJA Gove,

 

I acknowledge your freedom of information request dated 9 January 2021. We
will reply in due course within the statutory deadline.

 

The reference number associated with this request is 2021-655346.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Linda Forrest

IMG Assistant | Information Management & Governance Team |

The Scottish Parliament | Edinburgh | EH99 1SP |

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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Foi-Officer,

2 Atodiad

Dear SJA Grove,

 

We refer to your request for information dated 9^th January 2021.

 

Please find attached our reply to the request together with an
accompanying notice.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Robin Davidson

Information Management and Governance Team

The Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh

EH99 1SP

 

 

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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SJA Grove (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Scottish Parliament,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Parliament's handling of my FOI request 'Cross-Party Groups – registration of interests of non-MSP members recorded in the Minutes'.

The Scottish Parliament are thanked for providing the information that is already in the public domain however in Section 6: Cross-Party Groups there is the following:

6. Any queries about the rules for CPGs, meeting notifications or documentation should be emailed to the Standards Clerks at [email address].

Whilst the response to this request has been directed to sources already in the public domain the acquisition of this information requires a personal email for information and this FOISA 2002 request asks for this information to be placed in the public domain for purposes of transparency.

The minutes of one Cross Party Group lists an individual who appears to be the Head of Law at a Scottish University which is not listed in the organisations. Given that information in the public domain from a response to a FOISA 2002 request to the Scottish Government shows that another member of the same Law Faculty receives privileged information as a "Key Stakeholder" from Simon Stockwell Head of the Family Law Unit of the Scottish Government then it would appear that individuals are not recording their organisations and registering their interests accurately in the minutes of Cross Party Groups. Clarification and the transparency of "the rules" is required.

Please provide the information requested as a FOISA 2002 request or give a refusal as it appears that the findings of the trust in politicians that the Pew Research Center identified for the UK in their 27 February 2020 study entitled ‘Attitudes toward elected officials, voting and the state’ are fully justified.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

SJA Grove

Foi-Officer,

Dear SJA Grove,

 

I acknowledge your request for a review of the decision relating to FOI
request 2021- 655346. We will reply in due course within the statutory
deadline.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Linda Forrest

IMG Assistant | Information Management & Governance Team |

The Scottish Parliament | Edinburgh | EH99 1SP |

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

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Foi-Officer,

1 Atodiad

Dear SJA Grove,

 

We refer to your request for a review dated 23 January 2021.

 

Please find attached our review reply.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Robin Davidson

Information Management and Governance Team

The Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh

EH99 1SP

 

Tel: 0131 348 5281

Email: [email address]

 

 

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

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SJA Grove (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Robin Davidson and the Scottish Parliament Information Management and Governance Team

Thank you for the very thorough way in which you have responded to this FOISA 2002 request Internal Review.

This response is surprising but it is the public interest that there is knowledge that conveners of Cross Party Groups (CPGs) can “make up the rules" as they see fit. The use of the term “individual" may be used by some working groups as a means of using plausible deniability for the identity of persons participating in CPGs whose influence on Scottish Parliamentary activities some MSPs would not want in the public domain if the conduct of these “individuals” in their private and professional lives was to become known to the public.

The undue influence that some “individuals" have on Scottish Parliamentary business and their associations with certain organisations is clearly being hidden by conveners of CPGs

By way of an alphabetical “straw poll” the following CPGs and conveners use the term “individual" or give no affiliation or professional association for the attendees in the published minutes of that CPG:

Aviation (Co-Conveners John Scott MSP and David Stewart MSP)
Building Bridges with Israel (Convener Jackson Carlow MSP)
Children and Young People (five MSP Co-conveners)
Health Inequalities (three MSP Co-conveners)
Men's Violence Against Women and Children (Co-convener Rona MacKay MSP and Claudia Beamish MSP)

It would be hoped that the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) that surely must oversee the CPGs would tighten up the rules on these CPGs such that the conveners are obliged to publish the professional and personal interests of those persons participating in these meetings for reasons of full transparency and accountability to the public and to identify any lobbying interests.

This FOISA 2002 request is being closed as not having the information requested given that the conveners can choose their own rules for publishing minutes.

Yours sincerely,

SJA Grove

Gadawodd K Thomson (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Very interesting response from Scottish Parliament:

"As set out in the reply to your request, Cross Party Groups (CPGs) do not form part of formal parliamentary business and are not run by the Scottish Parliament. Instead
they are managed and co-ordinated by conveners who are MSPs and the Scottish Parliament does not run these meetings or manage the minutes or publish them."

So where is the Scrutiny of the Scottish Government?