Total wage costs for each directorate since 2015/16 to the budgeted plan for 2024/25: FOI release

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

Information requested

1) Within the Scottish Government's workforce, please provide a breakdown of the total headcount, total FTE, and total wage costs for each directorate since 2015/16 to the budgeted plan for 2024/25. 1a) For the avoidance of doubt, this should include any directorate that has since been merged with another one, or any new directorates since established. Please provide details on where jobs have come from (i.e. moved from one directorate to a new one, or from one to another) where this has taken place.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

The data on total headcount and FTE for the Scottish Government is shared in the attached document.

The headcount and FTE data provided is a breakdown of the Scottish Government Workforce Information Official Statistics which are published quarterly. The most recently published data is as at month end September 2023, and was published in December 2023. This can be found here Scottish Government workforce information - (

The data provided are taken from information held on the Scottish Government’s HR system. This system contains a variety of information about directly employed staff including: the type of worker they are and their working pattern. Records are also created for contingent workers on the HR system when they are engaged in any capacity for the Scottish Government, however limited information is held in this record since the workers are not Scottish Government employees.

As such data on headcount and FTE is available for directly employed staff, and data on headcount is available for contingent workers.

The HR system is an administrative database. As such, it is continually updated when workers join and leave the Scottish Government and personal details change. As with any large-scale administration system, it may be subject to errors with data entry and processing, and short delays in processing changes to the data.

This publication presents a “snapshot” of the data as it appears on the HR system at the end of a quarter. Therefore, there is a possibility that there may be out of date data or errors presented in this publication, as the “snapshot” may be taken at a point before records are updated or corrected.

The “snapshot” data reflects the structure of the organisation on the HR system at the time the “snapshot” was taken. As can be seen in the information provided, there have been a large number of structural changes since 2015.

We have provided the attached file which provides details of changes and mergers of directorates. The file contains two worksheets, one of which details the main changes in directorate structure since 2021 and a second which includes a detailed mapping of changes in the Scottish governments organisational structure and how that applies to current directorates.

For financial years up to and including 2018-19, the Administration Portfolio budget covered the costs of the core administration, including staffing, required to support the Scottish Government. From financial year 2019-20, operating costs were aligned with the Portfolio budgets that they support. This change in alignment means comparable data between the years 2015-16 to 2024-25 is not available.

The Administration Portfolio outturn for 2017-18 and 2018-19 and the Operating Cost model introduced from 2019-20 are set out in the 2019-20 Budget Bill, Annex G, Table G.02. Annex G - Scottish Budget 2019-2020 - (, with prior years also available within annual budget documents Scottish Budget - (

The increase in total operating cost of the Scottish Government in recent years reflects additional responsibilities taken on from the UK Government. The Scottish Government has taken on significant new powers, both raising its own revenues through devolved taxes and delivering public services such as social security and significant numbers of additional staff have been recruited to support these new responsibilities.

The attached table shows staff costs for financial years (i.e. post the creation of the operation costs alignment to portfolios) 2019-20, 2021-22, and 2022-23 on the basis of the current reporting hierarchy in the Scottish Government. Costs are not mapped across Directorates and years where there have been changes to the structure.

The table includes actual expenditure on salaries, national insurance and pensions for directly employed staff and provides costs in relation to contingent workers. Related financial information for 2023-24 has not yet been published, therefore we have included the latest budget information, published through Autumn Budget Revision (ABR) in September 2023. This budget position does not reflect all budget transfers that were applied following ABR, with the final budget position published through Spring Budget Revision (SBR) at the start of February 2024. Budget information is
not reported at the level of detail requested by this FOI and therefore includes more than salaries, national insurance and pension costs.

The 2024-25 budget has not yet been approved by the Scottish Parliament and funding has therefore not yet been finalised at Directorate level, however Operating costs at a portfolio level are set out in the 2024-25 Scottish Budget document.

The data requested on the anticipated headcount and FTE for FY 24/25 cannot be provided at this date. The Scottish Government Total Operating Cost budget was published as part of the wider 2024-25 Budget on 19th Dec 23. Workforce plans are being developed at a high level to correspond with the budget outturn, and to reflect the Government’s priorities. These controls are operated at a Director General level to allow for the flexibility of deployment of the workforce to respond to events.

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 202400391553 - Information Released - FY staff costs
FOI 202400391553 - Information Released - Headcount and FTE data


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top