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by Staff reporter
18 November 2021
New top civil servant for Scotland announced

New top civil servant for Scotland announced

A senior director within the DWP is to become Scotland’s top civil servant.

John-Paul Marks will take over from Leslie Evans as permanent secretary to the Scottish Government from 5 January 2022.

He has held the role of director-general of work and health services at the DWP since 2019 and was director-general of operations prior to that.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “delighted” with the appointment, adding: “I look forward to working with him over the years ahead as we recover from COVID-19 and deliver on the government’s ambition to build a fairer, greener Scotland.”

Leslie Evans has faced significant scrutiny in the last two years, particularly for her role in the botched handling of accusations of sexual misconduct by former first minister Alex Salmond.

Her tenure as permanent secretary was set to end in June 2020 but her contract was extended to provide continuity of leadership throughout the Brexit negotiations and the Scottish Parliament elections.

The permanent secretary role is the head of the civil service in Scotland, providing policy advice to the first minister and Scottish cabinet.

Marks said: “I am delighted to take up the role of permanent secretary to the Scottish Government. I am grateful to the First Minister and cabinet secretary [the head of the civil service in the UK] for this exciting opportunity.”

“I look forward to joining the team in Scotland in the New Year as we do our very best for Scotland in these important years ahead,” he added.

He will be the fifth permanent secretary since devolution.

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