Public Sector Employment in Scotland - Statistics for 1st Quarter 2015

The statistics in this release are based on administrative records and surveys of individual public sector bodies carried out by the Scottish Government and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is a snapshot of employment as at March 2015. The publication includes information on public sector employment in Scotland with distinctions made for employment in devolved bodies and reserved bodies (located in Scotland).

Table 2: Public sector employment by National Accounts Sector Classification; Scotland, Headcount

Not Seasonally Adjusted

Total Public Sector Total Central Government National Accounts Central Government Categories9 Local Government4,6,10 Public Corporations2 Public Sector Financial Institutions2 Public Corporations & Public Sector Financial Institutions2,3
NHS8 Civil Service Police and Fire4 Further Education Colleges5,7 Armed Forces Other Public Bodies5
Q1 1999 545,500 221,900 129,000 48,300 - 15,700 14,800 14,100 293,900 29,800 - 29,800
Q1 2009r 646,900 264,000 158,200 50,300 - 16,900 12,000 26,600 314,100 29,400 39,400 68,700
Q1 2010r 635,700 265,200 160,800 50,600 - 16,000 12,100 25,700 304,300 29,000 37,200 66,200
Q1 2011r 613,600 259,500 156,900 48,800 - 16,500 12,100 25,200 294,200 26,500 33,300 59,800
Q1 2012r 591,600 251,500 154,400 46,400 - 15,200 11,200 24,400 284,300 25,500 30,300 55,800
Q1 2013r 584,200 251,500 156,500 45,100 - 13,900 11,100 24,800 278,700 24,700 29,300 54,000
Q1 2014 547,800 278,800 158,800 43,800 28,700 13,700 10,600 23,300 248,000 * * 21,000
Q1 2015 546,800 279,000 160,700 42,900 28,400 14,000 9,500 23,400 248,300 * * 19,600
Change on year to:
Q1 2015 -1,000 100 2,000 -900 -300 300 -1,100 200 300 n/a n/a -1,400
% change on year:
Q1 2015 -0.2% 0.0% 1.2% -2.0% -1.0% 2.0% -10.8% 0.7% 0.1% n/a n/a -6.6%

r - Revision due to methodological improvements


1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. "-" denotes blank entries and "*" denotes entries that have been suppressed for disclosure reasons.

2. Due to the recent reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc from public sector financial institutions to the private sector, a new category has been created combining public corporations with public sector financial institutions to ensure employment figures are not disclosed. Both categories have been merged to produce a backseries prior to the reclassification to allow for calculation of year on year changes.

3. Employment over the year in public corporations & public sector financial institutions has been largely affected by the reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc. (and subsidiaries), as well as Royal Mail plc. and Direct Line Group plc.

4. Police and Fire Reform: From Q2 2013 Police and Fire Services have been reclassified as central government rather than local government (as their predecessors were). All police staff are employed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) whether deployed with the SPA or with the Police Service of Scotland. Although the SPA is an 'Other Public Body' to avoid duplication and ensure comprehensive numbers are reported for the Police and Fire category, from Q2 2013 all police staff have been included within the Police and Fire category (and not in the Other Public Bodies category).

5. In October 2012 the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) merged with 3 colleges to form Scotland's Rural College. This new organisation is classified as a public body as the SAC was. This has resulted in staffing levels moving from the Further Education to Other Public Bodies categories to reflect the merger of these organisations. Although the SPA is an 'Other Public Body' to avoid duplication and ensure comprehensive numbers are reported for the Police and Fire category, from Q2 2013 all police staff have been included within the Police and Fire category (and not in the Other Public Bodies category).

6. A number of local government staff have transferred to arms length organisations which are part of the private sector under National Accounts definitions. For example, staff transferrred from Glasgow City Council to Cordia Limited Liability Partnership from 1 April 2009 thus explaining the decrease in local government employment between 2008 and 2009.

7. Information for further education colleges in Scotland is based on actual information from Q4 2010. The method used to create the back series is detailed in the background notes of this publication.

8. From Q4 2011, NHS has responsibility for employing Healthcare staff within prisons. Previously, these people were employed directly by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). Also in Q2 2011 1,491 & 1,062 FTE headcount staff transferred from Highland Council to NHS Highland as a result of the move to integrated health and social care services.

9. More information on the classification of organisations and institutions in the National Accounts are available in the Sector Classification Guide (MA23):

10. Scottish Borders Council headcount and FTE figures do not include Casual/Relief employees who were paid in the reference period. This means that these figures underestimate the true headcount and FTE for Scottish Borders Council. This will be resolved for the next PSE publication upon receipt of revised figures from Scottish Borders Council.

11. Detailed tables showing a full time series of data - all quarters back to Q1 1999 - are available to download from the Public Sector Employment Websection:


Email: Claire Gordon

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