Number of Civil Servants and breaches of The Civil Service Code: FOI release

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

Information requested

Reporting on an annual basis, over the past 5 years –

  1. How many Civil Servants are employed by The Scottish Government?
  2. How many disciplinary actions have been taken against Civil Servants for breaches of The Civil Service Code?


You have asked for the number of civil servants employed by the Scottish Government in the past five years. Information about headcount is published on a quarterly basis on the Scottish Government website. Please use the link below to view the latest figures:

Scottish Government workforce information - (

You also requested the number of disciplinary actions taken against Civil Servants for breaches of The Civil Service Code in the past five years. The Scottish Government’s policy on ‘Raising a Concern under the Civil Service Code’ lists the following as examples of the types of concerns that could be raised under that process:

  • Misuse of official position, for example by using information acquired in the course of one's official duties to further one's private interests or those of others
  • Deceiving or knowingly misleading ministers, parliament, or others
  • Being influenced by improper pressure from others or the prospect of personal gain
  • Ignoring inconvenient facts or relevant considerations when providing advice or making decisions
  • Frustrating the implementation of policies once decisions are taken, by declining to take, or abstaining from, actions which flow from those decisions
  • Acting in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests
  • Acting in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or using official resources for party political purposes
  • Allowing one's personal political views to determine any advice you give or your actions

Over the period 29 November 2018 to 29 November 2023, there were no cases of disciplinary action taken as a result of any of the above.

In addition, the Scottish Government’s ‘Standards of Behaviour’ policy provides another mechanism to ensure that all the obligations and expectations of the Civil Service Code are met. Where a concern about behaviour is raised, line managers are encouraged to deal with that as part of their day-to-day management responsibilities, at an early stage and on an informal basis where appropriate. There is no requirement to report informal action to HR and therefore this is formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold information about informal action.

Where a concern relates to more serious misconduct, action would be taken under the Scottish Government’s Discipline Policy. Between the period 29 November 2018 to 29 November 2023, there were 48 formal disciplinary actions recorded. This figure includes cases where a disciplinary investigation was carried out, but no further action was taken. These disciplinary actions may cover misconduct not referenced explicitly in the Civil Service Code, such as expectations around inter-personal behaviour.

You will wish to be aware that the above information relates to the core Directorates of the Scottish Government – see Annex A.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300387554 - Information Released - Annex A


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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