Accessibility |

COPFS

Expenses of Lord Advocate for period 2013/14 to 2015/16 (R015491)

Thank you for your e-mail in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA): 

        " I would like to request the full expenses of the Lord Advocate for each of the last 3 financial years. 
          I would like as much information as possible, eg nature of the claim, date of claim, exact amount etc.
         Does the Lord Advocate have a credit card which can be used for official business?
         If so please provide full statements for each of the last 3 financial years."

In relation to your request I can confirm that COPFS does hold information relating to expenses incurred by the Lord Advocate in his capacity as the ministerial head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for the last three full financial years which includes 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Financial Years 2013/14 and 2014/15

I can confirm that the total amount of expenses claimed by the Lord Advocate during financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15 is provided in the following table. The expenses relate to travel and accommodation in the pursuance of official duties:

2013/14 2014/15
£4,784.86 £12,571.58
In carrying out these official duties there are occasions due to the way the information was recorded during this period where it is not possible to completely distinguish between expenses incurred in the Lord Advocate’s role as a Law Officer in relation to the systems of prosecution and investigation of deaths, which is relevant to the work of COPFS, and expenses incurred in his role with the Scottish Government in relation to representing the public interest in a variety of statutory and common law civil functions.

To provide a more detailed breakdown of the expenses during this period and distinguish between the Lord Advocates roles in relation to the claims would require a manual check of all individual expenses forms relating to the Lord Advocate. Under Section 12 of FOISA, public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12. I hope you will appreciate that in this instance the costs involved in COPFS staff manually considering the number of expenses claim forms involved and separating individual elements of the information to answer your request would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.

Financial Year 2015/16

In relation to this period I can advise that information in relation to the Lord Advocate’s expenses is now recorded in such a way that we may easily distinguish between roles and provide a more detailed breakdown of the total expenditure of the Lord Advocate in his COPFS role as follows:

Accommodation Rail Flights

£2,645.03 £878.37 £2,437.67

Again, because of the way this information is now recorded we are able to provide a further breakdown of the individual totals and can provide the date of the claim, the nature of the claim and the exact amount of individual claims to provide you with the information you have requested for this period and this is recorded on the annexed tables at A, B and C attached.

Corporate Credit Card Financial Years 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16

You also asked if the Lord Advocate used a credit card during this period for official business purposes. I can confirm that during the period of this request the Lord Advocate did use a corporate credit card and you have asked to be provided with the full statements for this period. FOISA provides access to information and not documents and as a result I attach the information you have requested at Annex D which includes the total spend and breakdown of individual transactions for the last three full financial years incurred by the Lord Advocate whilst using this corporate credit card for official COPFS business purposes.

I should highlight that the current Lord Advocate does not use a corporate credit card for expenses incurred whilst on COPFS business.

You may be aware that there are other expenses relating to the Lord Advocate incurred in his capacity with the Scottish Government which are published by the Scottish Government and are accessible on their website at http://www.gov.scot/About/People/14944/travel.

Annexes are separate
pdfR015491 Annexes84.2 KB