Permanent Secretary

Current role holder: Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans was appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government on July 1, 2015. She is the first woman to hold this role in Scotland.


As the most senior civil servant in Scotland and head of the civil service supporting the Scottish Government, the Permanent Secretary is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet. 

As the principal accountable officer for the Scottish Government, Leslie is personally responsible to the Scottish Parliament for the exercise of her responsibilities. This includes the management of the Scottish Government’s £42.5 billion budget and the economic, efficient and effective use of all related resources.

Leading more than 6,500 civil servants who work for the Scottish Government in Scotland, London and across the world, Leslie supports the development, implementation and communication of government policies. This work is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Code, upholding its four core values of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

She is committed to the delivery of the National Performance Framework - Scotland’s outcome-based approach to the implementation of policies aimed at improving the wellbeing and life chances of its citizens, supported by a successful, inclusive economy and a sustainable and healthy environment.

Leslie works with colleagues across the UK supporting, engaging and investing in the talent and leadership of the UK Civil Service and wider public services.


Leslie worked in local government in England and Scotland for 20 years before joining the civil service in 2000. Prior to becoming the Permanent Secretary, she was Director General Learning and Justice.

Married with one son, Leslie was born in Northern Ireland and has lived in Scotland since 1985. She attended High Storrs School in Sheffield and studied Music at the University of Liverpool. Leslie champions diversity and inclusion within the civil service as well as opportunities for young people.