Assistant Clerks (Committee and Chamber Offices)

Reference: 583610

Salary range: £32,709 to £40,560

Location: Holyrood, Edinburgh

Working pattern: There are permanent and temporary full time posts available (applications on a job share basis welcome).

Closing date: 31 May 2017


The Scottish Parliament represents the people of Scotland by debating issues of national importance, passing legislation and holding the Scottish Government to account. The business of the Scottish Parliament is conducted in the Chamber and in Committees. The Chamber is where MSPs meet to debate topical issues and decide on new laws. The Parliament’s committees scrutinise the work of the Scottish Government, examine legislation, conduct inquiries and make recommendations on subjects within their remit.

In both the Chamber and Committees, Clerks play a vital role in ensuring that parliamentary business is conducted in accordance with guidance and procedures, that MSPs have access to the information they need to scrutinise, discuss, debate and decide on a wide range of public policy issues and that parliamentary business is conducted in a manner that is accessible to the people it affects.

The role of Assistant Clerk is wide-ranging, challenging and extremely rewarding. You don’t need to be an expert in parliamentary process to succeed in your application. Instead, you need to have a keen interest in Scottish politics, an awareness of topical issues and current affairs along with a desire to work in an environment where impartiality is key and sound judgement is vital. As an Assistant Clerk, you will use your skills to draft papers and reports, investigate current political issues, gather evidence, assist members of the public to have their voice heard in the Parliament and provide advice on procedure and protocol. You will also be responsible for managing staff.

You don’t need to have worked in a similar role before but you should only consider applying if you are able to operate impartially in a political and/or public policy environment and would enjoy working in a role in which you would be required to demonstrate the following:

  • The ability to write concisely, convincingly and accurately, including writing informative papers on current political issues;
  • The ability to manage competing priorities within tight deadlines;
  • The ability to understand complex rules and procedures and to assist a wide range of audiences to understand them so that the Parliament is accessible to them;
  • The ability to provide clear, consistent, accurate and coherent advice, both verbally and in writing,
  • The ability to build and maintain strong working relationships with a wide-range of people, both within and out with the Parliament; and
  • The ability to manage and develop staff.

Skills, Knowledge and Experience Required and Method of Assessment

Yours skills, knowledge and experience will be assessed in a number of ways.  The table below sets out what you will be expected to demonstrate at each stage of the recruitment process. 

Skill, knowledge, experience  Application Form  Interview  Assessment 
the ability to convey complex information in a balanced but persuasive way - both orally and in writing   x  x  x
the ability to draft and agree reports in a political environment   x  x  x
the ability to manage and develop staff  x  x  
experience of working collaboratively to deliver team and organisational objectives  x  x  
manage competing priorities within tight deadlines   x  x  
the ability to provide accurate advice on procedures and to gain credibility for your expertise   x  x  
a keen awareness of the political landscape in Scotland and the ability to work impartially within it     x  x

How to apply

The first stage of the recruitment process will be an application form. To apply, please complete the application form and send to by midnight on Wednesday 31 May 2017. You must provide evidence of each skill, knowledge and experience ticked in the application form column in your form. The next stage will be an interview and assessment, and you will be asked to provide evidence of the skills, knowledge and experience ticked in both of those columns.

Working Pattern

There are permanent and temporary full time posts available (applications on a job share basis welcome).


We offer a great range of benefits including 40.5 days’ leave (including public holidays) per year rising to 41.5 days from September 2017, the opportunity to join the Civil Service pension, flexible working arrangements and family-friendly policies.


The salary range for this post is shown below:

Minimum  Year 1  Year 2  Year 3 (Max) 
£32,709  £35,062  £37,414  £40,560

You will progress at the rate of one scale point per year provided you are performing your duties to the required standard. Your progression date will be the anniversary of taking up the appointment in the grade. You will be paid monthly in arrears by Bank Credit Transfer directly into your bank or building society account on the last banking day of the month.


Gary, Assistant Clerk

Gary is an Assistant Clerk with the Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny committee. Here's his take on a typical day.

Garden Lobby and towers

What we offer

Hours, annual leave, pension, probation, political activities, health and safety and data protection


Diversity and Inclusion

Information on Diversity and Inclusion

PC keyboard

How to Apply

Information and guidance about your application.

Gary, Assistant Clerk, Committee Office

Gary at his desk 

"It’s a cliché, but every day is different in Committee Office.  Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about sitting at a desk, typing out documents; so much of my job relies on meeting and speaking with colleagues, Scottish Government officials and those interested in our work to ensure that the Committee’s voice is heard and acted upon." Find out more about a day in the life for Gary 

A day in the life - Heather Lyall, Senior Assistant Clerk, Committee Office

"Committees are an essential part of the Parliament’s scrutiny and play an important role in holding the Scottish Government to account. I work behind the scenes to support this process. A typical day for a Senior Assistant Clerk would involve briefing the Convener; planning the upcoming work programme; producing committee papers; writing reports and providing guidance to the rest of the team. You need to be really organised, constantly think ahead, keep up to date on the issues and monitor the latest political goings on.  Meeting days tend to be busy and I’ll sit at the table to support the Convener to keep proceedings on track in terms of timing and procedure.  If you want to be right in the middle of politics and the parliamentary process, the Committee Office is the place to be."