ESF Funding Failure to provide accurate audit information

The request was partially successful.

Dear Scottish Government,

I refer to an internal review under taken by you’re the Scottish Government, Which can be found at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

FOI/18/00756

I note that ESF funding was awarded for Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) for 2015- 2018 ESF Grant Approved £27.95 Million

• Please advise if the Scottish Government took receipt of this £27.95 Million and advise the date of this Transaction?

• Further it is stated that YEI Version 1 for Academic Year 2015/16 Amount Claimed £8.73m was rejected.

• Please advise the date that should this claim been accepted it would have been paid to the SFC?

• Further is then continues then states that YEI Version 2 for AY year 2015/16 Amount claimed £8.06m a difference of £66m from the first date of claim was rejected.

• Please advise the date this ESF Claim was made?

• Please advise the date that should have this claim be accepted it would have been paid to the SFC?

• Please advise the justifiable reasons submitted by SFC for this discrepancy of £66m (not a small amount of money, considering students are suffering in Education Poverty, and many are refused discretionary payments for essential everyday living.

• Further it is stated that DSW Version 1 for Academic Year 2015/16 Amount Claimed £2.59 Million is still being processed.

I note that ESF funding was awarded for Developing Scotland’s Workforce (DSW) for 2016- 2018 ESF Grant Approved £8.64 Million

• Please advise the date that should this claim which this claim should be rejected or accepted?

• If this is accepted when would this amount be been paid to the SFC?

Further is then continues then states that DWP Version 2 for AY year 2015/16 Amount claimed £8.06m a difference of £2.59 Million from the first date of claim was rejected.

• Please advise the date that this claim should be rejected or accepted?

• If this is accepted when would this amount £2.59 Million be been paid to the SFC?

You State that for the DWS Claim - The latest version of the DSW claim submitted is for £2.59m ESF grant resulting in potential shortfall of £0.7m grant for 2015-16. As a decision on this claim has not yet been reached by the SG Managing Authority it is not possible to determine figures at this stage.

• Please advise in writing that per the information you have supplied, there will be shortfall of an amount regardless due to the first claim being rejected because of a lack of sufficient audit evidence to meet EC requirements.

• Does the Scottish Government consider that the SFC have failed in their remit to execute the professional and ethical standards required of the NDPB, by not ensuring that the audit evidence is not sufficient to meet EC Requirements, surely this must put the Scottish Government in a highly tenuous position thus weakening any confidence in your administration? Please provide all recorded information relating to this issue.

You state: The management of any budgetary pressure on the SFC arising from a shortfall in ESF income will be agreed between the SFC and SG.

• Again, who currently holds the three year ESF Funding Monies, the ESF or The Scottish Government for the funding period 2015-2018.

• Was the ESF funding allocated to the Scottish Government on an annual Basis or at the end if the three year funding period?

• Please provide recorded information support your disclosure relating to the financial amounts involved.

As we are now past Financial Year End as at 31st March 2018, and Scottish Government are not allowed to hold cash reserves at the end of the FY year due to ONS Classification.

• Please detail in full should the Scottish Government have received this funding at any point since 2015, the accounting method in which has been used to vire or re-profile these cash reserves, ensuring their safe keeping as I expect Scottish Government would not expect such professional and highly paid sector professionals to make such a school by faux pas in not ensuring that a sufficient audit evidence.

However that being said the sector is not without controversy relating to the SFC’s accountability for the overseeing of or lack of knowledge of what individual colleges WSUMS and Credit Claims since 2014/15 which has led to a number of colleges finding themselves in financial deficits.

I note that SFC claim an overall annual saving in and around the mark of £52 Million due to the merger program, given that certain colleges are in financial difficulty and that the SFC Overarching review and the Audit Scotland Review Claimed these figures despite not including one very large college, Edinburgh College, whose deficit has risen to an incredible amount and that the finance officer now Chief Operating Officer responsible for let’s call them not factually accurate submissions is still in position, this does not only make the claim that there is an annual saving of £52m incorrect, but there has been no tangible action to remedy this situation or provide an accurate figure from the Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament either that is visible to the Scottish Public of whom they serve.

• Please now provide a more accurate annual saving in relation to the college merger program?

Please now advise per the conditions of grant funding what measure the Scottish Government can take in what appears to be gross misconduct by the SFC to dully discharge their duties under these conditions of grant, and can I be subjective in assuming that the Colleges themselves did not provide accurate audit information to the SFC who should have picked this issue up and ensured compliance, will the individual senior college management teams be held to account for not performing the functions of their duties to the standard expected of them in public life?

Please supply this information in electronic format?

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Dear Scottish Government,

My apologies, to finally conclude my request, please advise:

The role of the Scottish Government Civil Servant who whose responsibility it would be to oversee the this ESF funding, and to ensure that all responsible were performing the the full functions of their remit over the space of time, as the SFC are reliant on being reimbursed for all ESF funding paid out to the Colleges. We are talking the public pound here and the public are entitled to know if Scottish Government were in fact performing the full functions of their remit.

Please acknowledge receipt and supply this information in electronic format.

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Scottish Government

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Dear Mr Gallacher
FOISA Acknowledgment of request
Thank you for your request dated 19/04/2018 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for various requests for
information regarding ESF funding and Scottish Funding Council.
We received your request on 19/04/2018 and will respond in accordance with
FOISA by 18/05/2018.
If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
FOI/18/01184.
Regards
 
Susan
 
Susan Tamburrini
Smart Growth Team Leader
Scottish Government
European Structural Funds
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU
Tel: - 0131 244 6831
BB: - 07867375273
 
Follow us [1]@scotgovESIF   
Read our blog:
[2]https://blogs.gov.scot/european-structur...
 
               
 
 
 

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Dear Scottish Government,

After taking advice from the information commissioner, as the official data processor, I would request that any search for information held on your IT network be pulled directly via your MIS systems.

Given that FOI as been in existence for many years now and has been a feature of data protection law since the 1980s, your information management systems should facilitate dealing with information requests.

Not only should your systems have the technical capability to search for the information necessary to respond to this request, but you should also operate by reference to effective records management policies.

Once you have located and retrieved the information that is relevant to this request, you must communicate this to me in an intelligible form. To comply with this requirement I will accept an electronic format.

Recorded Information includes but is not limited to and not exclusive of exchange of letters emails/minutes of meetings and management briefs including telephone calls & records, conference calls & records, to be clear the scope is for ALL recorded information.

Please note that the EHRC Article 8 stipulates the right to respect for private and family life, so private email accounts, blackberry, mobile phone, texts including but not limited to Twitter, Social Media, WhatsApp messages and emails remain private, of course, however from case law and the general data protection regulation that such private vehicles sometimes contain matters of work related business and include work related data, and in such a circumstance the data held on any private information vehicle remains the intellectual property of the organisation, and should be disclosed in this information request.

Additionally please ensure that information is trawled from your archive to storage, copied electronic backups and deleted information management systems, as it is arguable that information you have held can NOT be truly erased. This is-information that you do not have ready access to - but because you still actually hold the data then this data can be retrieved, quite easily and as such this substantiates the request for archived and deleted data to be included in the scope.

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Scottish Government

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Gallacher
 
In response to your FOI request for various information on ESF and SFC
please see attached response.
 
Regards
 
Susan
 
Susan Tamburrini
Smart Growth Team Leader
Scottish Government
European Structural Funds
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU
Tel: - 0131 244 6831
BB: - 07867375273
 
Follow us [1]@scotgovESIF   
Read our blog:
[2]https://blogs.gov.scot/european-structur...
 
               
 
 
 

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Dear Scottish Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Government's handling of my FOI request 'ESF Funding Failure to provide accurate audit information'.

I am not satisfied with your response to question 16: I gave you background information surrounding my request for recorded information on an accurate annual saving to the college merger, as clearly from the background information given the stated savings of £52m per annum is not factually accurate.

I will rephrase my question 11:

Please provide all recorded information held on any format that states the Scottish Government consider that the SFC have failed in their remit to execute the professional and ethical standards required of the NDPB, by not ensuring that the audit evidence is not sufficient to meet EC Requirements.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Scottish Government

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Dear Peter
 
Thank you for your request of 19 May 2018 for a review of our response to
your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA)
for information regarding ESF funding and the Scottish Funding Council
(SFC).
 
I have been asked by Mary McAllan, Director for Economic Development to
carry out the review because I was not involved in handling your original
request.  I will be looking at the case afresh to establish whether your
request was handled in accordance with our procedures and legislative
requirements.
 
We received your review request on 19 May 2018 so I will respond in
accordance with FOISA by 19 June 2018.
 
If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
FoI/18/01184
 
Regards
 
Karen Rodger
 
 
Karen Rodger | Team Leader | Financial Services and Fintech Policy
|Innovation, Investment and Industries Division | Directorate for Economic
Development | Tel: AQ: 0131 244 1205 | Blackberry: 07896 925 040 | email:
[email address]
 
[1][IMG][2][IMG]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Scottish Government

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Dear Mr Gallacher
FOISA Acknowledgment of request
Thank you for your request dated 19/05/2018 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for:
Please provide all recorded information held on any format that states the
Scottish Government consider that the SFC have failed in their remit to
execute the professional and ethical standards required of the NDPB, by
not ensuring that the audit evidence is not sufficient to meet EC
Requirements.
We received your request on 19/05/2018 and will respond in accordance with
FOISA by 19/06/2018. Your request for a review is being dealt with
separately.
If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
FOI/18/01425.
Regards
 
Susan
 
Susan Tamburrini
Smart Growth Team Leader
Scottish Government
European Structural Funds
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU
Tel: - 0131 244 6831
BB: - 07867375273
 
Follow us [1]@scotgovESIF   
Read our blog:
[2]https://blogs.gov.scot/european-structur...
 
               
 
 
 

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Scottish Government

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Further to my email of 21 May 2018, I have now completed my review of our
response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002 (FOISA) for information regarding ESF funding and the Scottish
Funding Council. 
 
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with
modifications.
 
In particular you asked for review of our responses to Questions 11 and 16
of your original request.
 
As you have reframed your request under Question 11, I have asked the
relevant policy team to consider this question as a new request, and a
response will be issued in due course.
 
In answering Question 16, the original decision considered your request
invalid as it did not clearly identify the information requested. You have
now rephrased your question. While our aim is to provide information
whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have
the information you have requested. We do not have this information
because you are asking for evidence to support a policy position that the
Scottish Government does not hold. We should have made this clear to you
in our response to your original request.
 
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish
Government does not have the information you have requested. 
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this review you have the right to
appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner about our decision within
6 months of receiving this letter. Information on how to make an appeal,
along with an application form, is available on the Commissioner’s website
at:
[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR....
You can also contact the Commissioner at:
 
        The Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS
 
E-mail: [2][email address]
Telephone:      01334 464610
 
Should you then wish to appeal against the Commissioner's decision, there
is a right of appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law only.
 
Karen Rodger
 
 
Karen Rodger | Team Leader | Financial Services and Fintech Policy
|Innovation, Investment and Industries Division | Directorate for Economic
Development | Tel: AQ: 0131 244 1205 | Blackberry: 07896 925 040 | email:
[email address]
 
[3][IMG][4][IMG]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dear Scottish Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Government's handling of my FOI request 'ESF Funding Failure to provide accurate audit information'.

• Does the Scottish Government consider that the SFC have failed in their remit to execute the professional and ethical standards required of the NDPB, by not ensuring that the audit evidence is not sufficient to meet EC Requirements, surely this must put the Scottish Government in a highly tenuous position thus weakening any confidence in your administration? Please provide all recorded information relating to this issue.

I have reasonable doubt that the Scottish Government does not hold any form of recorded information that SFC have failed in their remit by not ensuring that the required audit evidence was supplied to meet EC requirements, I ask for recorded information and not documents.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Scottish Government

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Gallacher
 
Further to your freedom of information request please see attached
response.
 
Regards
 
Susan
 
 
Susan Tamburrini
Smart Growth Team Leader
Scottish Government
European Structural Funds
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU
Tel: - 0131 244 6831
BB: - 07867375273
 
Follow us [1]@scotgovESIF   
Read our blog:
[2]https://blogs.gov.scot/european-structur...
 
               
 
 
 

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Scottish Government

FAO Mr John Gallacher
 
Thank you for your request of 9 June 2018 for a review of our response to
your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA)
for all recorded information held on any format that states the Scottish
Government considers that the SFC have failed in their remit to execute
the professional and ethical standards required of the NDPB, by not
ensuring that the audit evidence is not sufficient to meet European
Commission (EC) requirements. 
 
I have been asked by Mary McAllan, Director of Economic Development to
carry out the review because I was not involved in handling your original
request. I regret to inform you that I am currently unable to carry out
the review as the request is not valid, it was made before the response to
the FOISA request of 19 May 2018 was issued.
 
Once you have considered our response, the right to request a review is
available and I would encourage you to refer to the guidance on how to do
this included in our email reply to you earlier today.
 
Brenda
 
 
Brenda Calder | Innovation, Investment & Industries Division | Directorate
for Economic Development | Scottish Government | Atlantic Quay, 150
Broomielaw, Glasgow, G2 8LU | Tel: 0131 244 7886 or 07917 588 488| email:
[1][email address]
 
 
 
 

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Dear Scottish Government,

I would like to re-request this FOI - information that has not been disclosed under the Freedom of information (Scotland) Act 2002, this being for Information contained IN: Your Records:

See above for details off the original request as detailed above, for any information that has not been disclosed.

I am taking the opportunity given to me to rephrase my request to yourselves.

Quote

As you may be aware, the Court of Session judgment – Glasgow City Council and Dundee City Council v Scottish Information Commissioner [2009] CSIH 73 (issued on 30 September 2009) – clarified that the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) gives a right to information, not documents, and that information requests must identify the information sought. A request is not valid if it does not, in accordance with section 8(1)(c) of FOISA, describe the information requested. As your request seeks the Scottish Government's opinion on a specific matter and does not reasonably clearly identify the particular information you are looking for, we do not consider it to be a valid request in line with the Court of Session decision. Accordingly, we are not obliged to respond to it. However, if you wish to rephrase your request to clearly describe the information you are looking for, we would be able to consider it and respond in accordance with FOISA. If you need any further advice and assistance to rephrase your request, please contact me. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-1...

Please treat this as a fresh request.

Yours faithfully,

John Gallacher

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Gallacher

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately it is not clear from this email what information you are seeking. There have been a number of SG responses to FOI requests but it is not clear which of these SG responses your most recent query is related to?

I would be grateful if you could detail specifically what recorded information you are requesting. In addition, if you are dissatisfied with one of the previous SG FOI responses could you please use the appropriate reference number and provide reasons for your dissatisfaction?

Once I have more information I will be able to respond to your request.

Regards

Susan

Susan Tamburrini
Smart Growth Team Leader
Scottish Government
European Structural Funds
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU
Tel: - 0131 244 6831
BB: - 07867375273

Follow us @scotgovESIF
Read our blog: https://blogs.gov.scot/european-structur...

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