Scottish Government candidate’s vacancy ID2024-8016 recruitment data: FOI release

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

Information requested

  1. The salary scale is mentioned in the candidate pack but not the circumstances for progression. Could you please confirm what the T&Cs are for progressing up the scale?
  2. If an existing civil servant is successful but is already above the minimum salary, what salary will he or she receive?
  3. What are “fire-side chats” (mentioned in the pack but not explained)?
  4. The statement from the DG in the candidate pack states: “We would particularly welcome interest from women and individuals from those groups currently under represented at this level.” No detail is provided on what those under-represented groups are, can that be explained by reference to the protected characteristics of the cohort please?
  5. Are panel questions subject to an EQIA? I have past experience of an inappropriate question having been asked at SCS board.


I enclose all of the information you requested.

The answers to your questions marked 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are:

1. Senior Civil Service pay remains reserved to UK Government and is subject to annual pay practitioner guidance published by the Cabinet Office. This includes the pay uplift to be applied to SCS staff each year and whether there is any scope for an element of “progression”. Pay progression is not a formal part of the SCS pay arrangements but pay practitioner guidance in recent years has made provision for targeted additional increases to those lower in the pay range who have “demonstrated increased effectiveness and deepened expertise”. The 2024-2025 pay practitioner guidance has not yet been published by the Cabinet Office. The 2023-24 guidance can be found here Practitioner Guidance on the 2023/24 Senior Civil Service Pay Framework.

2. If an existing civil servant is successful but is already above the minimum salary, then their salary will be calculated based on a number of circumstances including whether it is a lateral move (i.e. at the same equivalent grade) or a promotion. This would be confirmed with the successful candidate at offer stage.

3. The Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) Recruitment Principles allow for shortlisted candidates to meet with senior stakeholders from an organisation, who are not part of the interview panel for the role. This is especially useful for senior appointments, and can be for briefing purposes, or as part of the assessment. The senior stakeholder may meet each of the shortlisted candidates, to discuss their priorities and the candidates’ approach to the role.

This is how such meetings are used in the recruitment of Senior Civil Service (SCS) members to the Scottish Government. The meetings are termed ‘fireside chats’ to reflect that they are a short (20-30 minutes) informal part of the assessment, used for briefing purposes. The meeting is also observed by a member of HR. If the senior stakeholder identifies any areas that they would like the panel to probe further at interview, HR will pass that information to the rest of the panel. In a recruitment campaign where fireside chats are to be conducted, all shortlisted candidates must be offered this opportunity.

4. Staff are under-represented in Scottish Government when the workforce demographic group percentage is lower than Scotland’s working age and economically active population equivalents. Scottish Government has a commitment in our employer equality outcomes to have a workforce representative of Scotland’s population. The other under-represented groups currently at SCS level in SG, in terms of protected characteristics are disabled people, people from an ethnic minority or religious minority and people aged under 40. This is based on our diversity data for all SCS level staff including those on temporary promotion.

5. Interview questions are not subject to an EQIA but are formed in relation to the Leadership Framework. The SG has a commitment to have an HR Panel Member on all SCS Recruitment Panels (or a Commissioner from the CSC when the role is at SCS 2 payband) to ensure the recruitment process is fair and open and appointments are made in merit order.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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