New Permanent Secretary

John Paul Marks appointed top civil servant at the Scottish Government.

John Paul Marks has been appointed Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government and will take up post on 5 January 2022.

Mr Marks joins the Scottish Government from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) where he was Director General, Work and Health Services.

This appointment has been made by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, with the agreement of the UK Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case. Mr Marks will succeed Leslie Evans, who is leaving the civil service as planned upon completion of her almost-seven year term.

As chief official policy adviser, the Permanent Secretary works closely with the First Minister across the full range of responsibilities, including major strategic and policy issues, and is Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am grateful to Leslie Evans for her leadership of the civil service for almost the past seven years. The expertise and insight that Leslie has applied in leading the organisation through the notable and significant challenges of our day – such as EU Exit and the COVID-19 pandemic – has been admirable. I join with so many across the Scottish public sector and beyond in wishing Leslie every success for the chapter ahead.

“I am delighted to agree the appointment of John Paul Marks as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government. John Paul brings a wealth of experience to this senior leadership role from his career in the civil service working across a range of policy and delivery priorities. 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.”

UK Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said:

“I would like to congratulate John Paul on his appointment. His experience at Senior Civil Service level in building teams, delivering complex system reforms, major projects and improving services at scale in the public sector will be invaluable in his new role. I very much look forward to working with him as part of the senior leadership of the UK Civil Service."

John Paul 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 for this exciting opportunity. I would like to thank all the teams at the Department for Work & Pensions for their support and public service over the years. 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.”

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

To ensure a smooth transition Leslie Evans’ final working day will be 31 December 2021 and John Paul Marks will take up post on 5 January 2022.


John Paul Marks has been Director General (DG) Work and Health Services at DWP since 2019. 

Prior to that he was DG Operations at DWP from 2018 to 2019. 

His other posts include Operations Director, Universal Credit Programme and Work Services Director at DWP and Head of Corporate, International Relations at the UK Pensions Regulator.


Media enquiries

Back to top