Recruitment process for executive level education roles: FOI response

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02814
Date received: 20 November 2017
Date responded: 11 December 2017

Information requested

  • Could you tell me how much the government spent on the recruitment process for the new Chief Inspector of Education and Education Scotland Chief Executive and break down the costs incurred – for instance how much was spent on advertising the post? Assessment services?

  • I understand headhunting firm Saxton Bampfylde were recruited to help find the right candidate –how much did that cost? What services did they provide for this money?

  • How many applications were received for the job?

  • How many applicants were interviewed?

  • How many rounds of interview did candidates go through? Who carried out the interviews?

  • Were there assessments? If so please spell out the nature of the assessments?


The recruitment process to appoint the new Chief Inspector of Education for Scotland and Chief Executive of Education Scotland was chaired by Kevin Woods, a Civil Service Commissioner. In line with the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles all selection for appointment to the Civil Service must be made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition and a Commissioner will normally Chair externally advertised roles at Senior Civil Service Director level.

Advertising was arranged by Saxton Bampfylde who were engaged following a tendering process to administer the competition and to conduct executive search which involved contacting a wide range of potential applicants internationally and in the UK. Saxton Bampfylde presented all applications to the Panel on 13 October; conducted individual interviews with longlisted candidates and reported back to the Panel on 24 October; and liaised with the final shortlisted candidates prior to assessment and final interview. The cost of advertising was £3,509 (incl VAT). The final cost of competition administration and executive search was £27,600 (incl VAT).

There were 15 applications and the Panel, chaired by the Civil Service Commissioner, selected 5 candidates for final interview, but one candidate decided to withdraw prior to interview. The remaining 4 candidates were invited to assessment followed by final Panel interviews on 10 November. Assessment was conducted by The Keil Centre and involved both Staff Engagement Panels and Psychometric Assessment.

Staff Engagement Panels involved:

Facilitation of Staff Engagement Panel discussions between candidates and staff and subsequent reporting to the Interview Panel. The Staff Engagement Panels were designed to assess the candidates' personal presentational capabilities and ability to engage with staff.

Psychometric assessment involved:

  • in-depth discussion with the Director General Education, Communities & Justice about competence requirements for the role and selection of suitable valid assessment methodologies;
  • administration of psychometric assessment of candidates on an individual basis supervised by Chartered Occupational Psychologists;
  • detailed feedback to both the candidates and the Panel on criteria based personal strengths and recommended areas for exploration at the Panel interview.

The cost of assessment services provided by The Keil Centre was £8,400 (incl VAT).

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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