Magazine article Public Finance

Scotland Needs One Civil Service for Public Sector, Says Expert

Magazine article Public Finance

Scotland Needs One Civil Service for Public Sector, Says Expert

Article excerpt

A unified civil service should be set up in Scotland, covering central and local government, the health service and agencies, a commission on devolution has been told.

Michael Keating, professor of political and social sciences at the European University Institute and politics professor at Aberdeen University, said this would enhance performance, extend expertise and increase mobility.

In written evidence to the Caiman Commission, which was set up by opposition parties to examine the powers of the Scottish Parliament, Keating questioned the argument that a separate Scottish civil service would reduce staff mobility and be inward-looking.

He added: Our research shows that, contrary to widespread belief, there was little mobility between London and Edinburgh before devolution. I helieve there is an opportunity here to create a unified Scottish public service. . . This could be a contribution to enhancing the performance of the public service, extending the skills base and allowing more mobility?

Keating suggested that the unified service should be accompanied by stronger provision for external recruitment at all levels and mobility between Scotland, Whitehall, the other devolved administrations and the European Union'. …

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