Dear Scottish Government,

I would be grateful if you would provide me with information about the instructions, guidance and practical materials available to support civil servants who are given responsibility for the development of Government Bills. This should include information about the standards required of civil servants in relation to stakeholder engagement in the pre-legislative process. 
I would like to receive the relevant information contained in any policy manuals, staff guidance, training notes, circulars or on the Scottish Government intranet, etc.
Where information is already published, I would be grateful if you would provide the address of the web page where it is to be found.

Yours faithfully,

Cara Paton

Dear Scottish Government,

Please let me know that my request has reached you.

Yours faithfully,

Cara Paton

Scottish Government

Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you for your e-mail below.

Please could you confirm when you submitted this FOI as we are not able
to locate it on our system.

Yours sincerely
Scottish Government
Central Enquiry Unit
Tel: 08457 741 741
0131 556 8400

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Dear Scottish Government,

I made the request to you on 19 September - see http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ho...

Yours faithfully,

Cara Paton

Scottish Government

Good morning,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Due to a Public Holiday on September 19th, your correspondence was
received on the 20th. Therefore please expect a response by October
18th, which would be 20 working days. The reference for your request is
FoI/11/01211.

Yours sincerely,

Central Enquiry Unit
Scottish Government

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Dear Scottish Government,

Thank you for the acknowledgement.

Yours faithfully,

Cara Paton

Scottish Government

Dear Cara

Thank you for your request dated 19 September 2011 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information on: “How to lead
the development of a government Bill - I would be grateful if you would
provide me with information about the instructions, guidance and practical
materials available to support civil servants who are given responsibility
for the development of Government Bills. This should include information
about the standards required of civil servants in relation to stakeholder
engagement in the pre-legislative process. I would like to receive the
relevant information contained in any policy manuals, staff guidance,
training notes, circulars or on the Scottish Government intranet, etc.
Where information is already published, I would be grateful if you would
provide the address of the web page where it is to be found.”

In order to identify and locate the information that you have asked for we
need some further information from you. It would be helpful to clarify
which aspect of the development of a government Bill you are seeking
information about.  In particular, it would be helpful to know whether
your request relates to the development of a government Bill before it is
introduced to the Scottish Parliament, and specifically whether it is the
process of public consultation on the development of a government Bill
which you wish to obtain information on, or whether you are seeking a
broader range of information than this. You will wish to be aware that the
principal document which guides the development and management of
government Bills is the Scottish Government ‘Bill Handbook’. It provides
guidance to officials on a range of issues relating to the legislative
process, including on the preparation of a Bill and stakeholder engagement
but also on the parliamentary stages of a Bill and action following its
enactment. It may be that providing you with the relevant parts or all of
the Handbook will give you the information you are seeking. 

As I am unable to continue without this clarification, I will put your
request on hold until I hear back from you. 

When we receive this further information from you we will be able to
respond to your request, in accordance with FOISA, within 20 working days
of when we receive that information.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please contact me.

Steven MacGregor

Legislation Team

Scottish Government

4th Floor

St Andrew's House

EDINBURGH

EH1 3DG

Tel: 0131 244 1650

email: [1][email address]

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Dear Mr MacGregor,

Thank you for your letter of 13 October.

I would like to receive information:

• Contained in any support materials available to or issued to civil servants leading government Bills. What advice, guidance and training do they get about how to do their job? It sounds as if the Government’s “Bill Handbook” will meet this element of my request. However, it may be that additional information, for example, in training notes, other staff guidance, circulars or on the Government’s intranet, is also applicable. I am not interested in receiving support materials specific to the circumstances of a particular Bill. What I want to see is the support materials available to all civil servants leading any Bill.

• About the standards expected and/or required of civil servants developing government Bills. How do civil servants and their managers know whether they have done 'a good job' in leading the development of a Bill? Again I am looking for information about the general standards expected of any civil servant leading the development of any government Bill.

I am particularly interested in the requirements of civil servants to involve and consult stakeholders. By stakeholders, I mean people and organisations with an interest in the Government’s proposals for new legislation. Are civil servants expected to involve and engage with stakeholders throughout the development process, as well as through the public consultation? To what extent? Are they expected to meet stakeholders, ask for their comments on drafts? I would like to see how this is set out in guidance, instructions, etc.

I would like to receive the information I have requested about the development of government Bills from the outset – that is, from the point when a Bill Team Leader, or similar lead person, is identified - up to and including the point that a Bill is introduced to the Scottish Parliament. I do not particularly want to receive information about the processes of engagement with committees following the introduction - although if you would prefer to give me the whole Bill Handbook, for example, I would be happy to research the parts I want to see and ignore the remainder.

Yours,

Cara Paton

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 'How to lead the development of a Government Bill'.

I made a clear request for information on 19 September 2011. On 13 October, however, I received a request for clarification. I responded in detail on 17 October. The 20 working days for the Scottish Government response have now passed.

I am dissatisfied that the Scottish Government has failed to respond to my request. I still wish to receive the information I requested more than two months ago.

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

I would be grateful, particularly given what has happened so far, if you would do me the courtesy of acknowledging receipt of this request for review.

Yours faithfully,

Cara Paton

Scottish Government

Dear Cara

Thank you for your request dated 18 November 2011 for a review of our
failure to respond to your request under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information on how to lead the
development of a government Bill.

A review will be carried out of our failure to respond to your request
within the 20 working day deadline which expired on 14 November 2011. I
will be looking at the case afresh to establish the reasons for our
failure to respond on time and, in accordance with section 21(4) of
FOISA, I will also reach a decision on your request.

We received your review request on 18 November 2011 so I will respond in
accordance with FOISA by 19 December 2011.

If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
FOI/11/01211.

Steven MacGregor
Legislation and Parliamentary Team
4th Floor
St Andrew's House
EDINBURGH
EH1 3DG
Tel: 0131 244 1650
email: [email address]

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For the attention of
Steven MacGregor
Legislation and Parliamentary Team
4th Floor
St Andrew's House
EDINBURGH
EH1 3DG

Dear Mr MacGregor

Thank you for the acknowledgement of my requirement for review.

I am surprised though that this should be being dealt with by the same person who dealt with the request. The Scottish Ministers s60 Code under the FOISA says a review should be carried out by a new person who can look at the matter afresh.

Yours sincerely

Cara Paton

Scottish Government

Dear Cara

Thank you for your email of 24 November 2011 regarding your FOI request.
I note your concern about the manner in which your request for a review
is being dealt with. I would like to reassure you that the review is
being carried out in line with the s.60 Code of Practice, and also that
your original request for information is being processed.

5.4 of the s.60 Code of Practice states:

The review should, where practicable, be handled by staff who were not
involved in the original decision (however, see 5.5 below).

5.5 of the Code covers a situation where the applicant has not been
provided with a full response to their initial request (i.e. this
situation) and states:

In such circumstances, the authority may consider it appropriate for the
original case-handler to continue dealing with the request and issue the
review response, rather than appointing a separate reviewer to start the
case afresh.

Both excerpts are taken from page 24 of the Code, available here:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk./About/FOI/Se...

I hope that this information is helpful and provides some reassurance
that the review is being carried out in line with the Code. I hope to be
in a position to respond to both your original request for information,
and your request for a review, shortly.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me,
quoting case number FOI/11/01211.

Steven

Steven MacGregor
Legislation and Parliamentary Liaison Team
4th Floor
St Andrew's House
EDINBURGH
EH1 3DG
Tel: 0131 244 1650
email: [email address]

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Scottish Government

2 Attachments

Dear Cara

Further to my email of 20 November 2011 I have now completed my review of
our failure to respond to your request under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information regarding how to lead the
development of a government Bill. 

In accordance with section 21(4) of FOISA, I have also reached a decision
on your request.

I apologise for the delay in providing you with a response to your request
for information. This was due to a failure of our internal processes for
handling FOI requests. I apologise for any inconvenience this may have
caused you.

There are two internal Scottish Government manuals which I think provide
the information you are seeking and these are attached below. If you have
any difficulties accessing these please let me know.

<<SGCGG.pdf>> <<BillHandbook.pdf>>

There is also material published on the Scottish Government website which
I think may be relevant to your request. This material is listed below,
along with the links where it can be accessed.

·       Business and Regulatory Impact Assessments -
[1]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Busine...

·       Equality Impact Assessments -
[2]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People...

·       Strategic Environmental Assessments -
[3]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Enviro...

·       Finance Guidance Note on preparation of Financial Memoranda -
[4]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Govern...

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.  You can contact the Commissioner at:

The Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

E-mail: [5][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.

I hope this response has been helpful, and if you have any further queries
please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Steven MacGregor

Legislation Team

4th Floor

St Andrew's House

EDINBURGH

EH1 3DG

Tel: 0131 244 1650

email: [6][email address]

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Busine...
2. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People...
3. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Enviro...
4. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Govern...
5. mailto:[email address]
6. mailto:[email address]

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