FOI22/23 119 Payments to External Suppliers

Date published: 10/01/2023

FOI reference: 22/23 119

Date received: 09/12/2022

Date responded: 10/01/2023

Information requested

I am contacting you at Scottish Qualifications Authority to request payment data. 

I am requesting information on all payments to external suppliers for purchases of goods and services between 2021-01-01 and 2021-12-31.

What is requested is a list of these payments, ideally in Microsoft Excel format, which contains as much of the following information for each payment as possible. 

Supplier name
Amount paid, excluding VAT
Payment date (or some other relevant transaction date)
A unique invoice-id or a transaction-id number for each payment.
Some description of the nature of the expense

I am not asking you to do manual time consuming compiling. I am only asking for an extract from your accounting software with as much of the above stated information as you can conveniently and reasonably provide. 


The information requested is contained within the attached spreadsheet. We have provided the supplier name, the amount paid, the relevant dates and the nature of the expense. However, we have redacted the unique invoice numbers as it is considered to be exempt from release under section 35 of the Act which states:

35        Law enforcement

(1)        information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially—

(a) the prevention or detection of crime;

If we were to provide the identifying number for the invoices, this would allow the information to be used in a way that could defraud the organisation. Whilst it is not suggested that is why the information is being requested, as information released under the legislation is deemed to be in the public domain, if anybody else requested the information, we could not refuse it.

When applying a section 35 exemption we have to consider the public interest.

We consider that there is likely to be very little public interest in the invoice numbers. There is more likely to be interest in the expenditure, which is being provided.

It is not in the public interest for us to release information which could potentially be used to defraud the organisation.

Accordingly, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that of releasing the information


FOI22/23 119 Supplier Payments 2021