A breakdown amount of Civil Servants the Scottish Government has employed: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. How many civil servants worked for the Scottish Government in each year starting with April 2006 to April 2020.

2. What is the current head count of civil servants working for the Scottish Government as of November 2020.

3. What was the cost of employing civil servants for each year since April 2006.

4. How many agency staff have been employed by the Scottish Government a) overall, b) in IT and c) in social security  for each year between April 2006 to April 2020 and what the current head count is as at November 2020.


1. Scottish government workforce information is published as part of the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey, we also produce more detailed labour market statistics with this information.

Data from 2008 onwards can be found here:

Data from 2005 onwards can be found here:


2. A November figure for head count has not yet been produced. September data will be published in December at the links provided in answer to question 1.

Total staff costs for the Scottish government are included in our published accounts.

2015 onwards can be found here:
Government finance: Financial reports and accounts - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The 2014 to 2015 accounts are published here:

Expenditure 2014 to 2015 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Accounts prior to this can be accessed via the web archive:

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have all of the information you have requested. As our electronic HR system does not hold information on job titles or job roles for our agency workers we are unable to identify the IT workers you have specified from all other agency worker staff. Additionally our electronic HR records don’t go back further than 2008.

We have interpreted “Agency staff employed by the Scottish Government” to be what we refer to as contingent workers. These are staff who are not directly employed by the Scottish Government, but are engaged through a variety of routes to perform government business.  This includes Contractors, Consultants, Temporary Agency Workers, Interim Managers (specialists or IT professionals), Inward Secondments, SLA Contracts (in DG Health only), UK Civil Service Fast Stream Placements, and short term youth employment initiatives such as student placements where payment is via an external organisation.

The total number of contingent workers for each April since 2008, overall and for Social Security, is provided in the table below.


Number of Contingent Workers
Year Scottish Government Of which Directorate for Social Security Social Security Scotland (Agency)
2008 1094    
2009 1354    
2010 1028    
2011 719    
2012 649    
2013 677    
2014 1136    
2015 1088    
2016 1049    
2017 971 12  
2018 1301 103  
2019 1325 221 63
2020 1453 390 157

Please note that Social Security has existed as both a Scottish Government directorate and as a separate Agency. Figures for both have been provided but please note that staff for the agency do not count toward the overall Scottish government figure provided whereas the staff for the directorate do.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top