FOI23/24 012 PR spend and staff levels

Date published: 31/05/2023

FOI reference: 23/24 012

Date received: 02/05/2023

Date responded: 31/05/2023

Information requested

The total amount spent in the last five financial years on public relations, both in-house and externally (split if possible). The total number of public relations officers or communications officers employed by your organisation over the last five years. Please provide the information in the form of an Excel spreadsheet if at all possible


Under section 25 of the Act, if information is otherwise accessible, an authority should inform the requester as such and where to access the information.

Under the Public Sector Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (PSRA), SQA annually publishes information on public relations spend. The reports are available on our website and cover the last five financial years -

In 2021, an independent review of our organisation’s communications recommended that services previously provided to SQA by an external PR agency should be brought in-house. This eliminated a recurring five-digit annual cost and enabled skills to be built and retained among our permanent staff.

That same report recommended the establishment of a new Directorate within SQA, bringing together a number of separate teams.

This progressive approach enables us to professionally engage and communicate with our broad range of stakeholders. These include hundreds of thousands of learners, thousands of educators, and hundreds of learning centres across Scotland, the UK, and internationally.

It also enables a robust media relations and external affairs service, effective and engaging internal communications to SQA colleagues experiencing substantial change, and a growing and engaged audience across social media and other digital platforms.

Due to the new Communications Directorate structure only being in place since the start of 2022, we are only able to provide comparable staffing figures for 2022 and 2023. The figures for both years are as follows:

External Affairs – 6 full-time equivalent (fte)

Internal Communications – 6.4 fte

Customer Communications: 2022 – 8 fte; 2023 – 8.4 fte

Head of Communications and Engagement – 1 fte

Director of Communications – 1 fte