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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-26102

  • Asked by: Stephen Kerr, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 12 March 2024
  • Current status: Answered by Shona Robison on 20 March 2024


To ask the Scottish Government what the anticipated returns are of the £200,000 that it has reportedly spent on psychological testing for civil servants.


The recruitment and promotion of Senior Civil Servants must include a robust selection process. Standards for hiring Senior Civil Servants (SCS) are set by UK Cabinet Office. These include the use of additional forms of assessment including psychological assessment, which have supplemented interviews for SCS for over 10 years. Academic research suggests that interviews alone are a poor predictor of future job performance, and supplementing interviews with other forms of assessments, including psychological, strengthens hiring decisions.

A Prior Information Notice was published on 13 February 2024 to inform the market of our intention to issue an Invitation to Tender for a new assessment contract for Senior Civil Service recruitment and promotion. The Tender is yet to be published and a new contract will be awarded, after all bids are assessed for quality of service and value for money, later in 2024. In the last 12 months, the current provider of psychometric assessments to the Scottish Government assessed 125 candidates for 30 SCS recruitment and promotion campaigns, at a cost of £165,401. This is in line with equivalent Cabinet Office contracts per SCS Campaign.