Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans (born 11 December 1958) is the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government. In this role, Evans is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet.

Leslie Evans
Leslie Evans.jpg
Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government
Assumed office
July 2015
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded bySir Peter Housden
Personal details
Born11 December 1958
Northern Ireland
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool
ProfessionCivil Servant

She is also the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Government, with personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of Government finance and for economic, efficient and effective use of all related resources.

Evans is the senior civil servant in Scotland and leads more than 5,000 civil servants working for the Scottish Government, supporting development, implementation and communication of government policies, in accordance with the Civil Service Code. At a UK level, she is a member of the Civil Service Board.

Early lifeEdit

Evans was born in Northern Ireland.[1] She was educated at High Storrs School in Sheffield and studied Music at the University of Liverpool. She has lived in Scotland since 1985 and is a feminist.[2]


Evans joined the Scottish Government in September 2000,[3] having spent 20 years working for local authorities in Scotland (City of Edinburgh Council and Stirling Council) and England (London Borough of Greenwich and Sheffield City Council).

Her previous post within the Scottish Government was Director General Learning and Justice. Previous positions include Head of Local Government Constitution & Governance Division, Head of Public Service Reform Group, Head of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Director of Culture, External Affairs and Tourism.

In May 2015, it was announced that Evans would be the first woman to become the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, taking up the position on 1 July 2015.[4] As of 2015, Evans was paid a salary of between £160,000 and £164,999 by the Scottish Government (she now earns around £175,000 a year), making her one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[5]

Alex Salmond case controversyEdit

In 2020 former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond alleged serious misconduct by Evans in her handling of accusations of sexual misconduct against him. Salmond won a civil action against the Scottish government over its complaints process, which was ruled to be "unlawful", "procedurally unfair" and "tainted by apparent bias", and Salmond called for Evans to quit following the ruling. This court case cost the Scottish government more than £600,000. After a High Court case in which Salmond was cleared of allegations of rape, details of memos sent by Evans emerged. She stated "We may lose the battle, but we will win the war.”, in relation to the case against Salmond, which he argued did not "seem the words of an impartial public servant", and he suggested it was evidence she had been responsible for the unlawful and biased complaints process.[6]

Noel Dolan, who was Nicola Sturgeon’s senior special adviser when she was deputy first minister under Salmond, also said Evans had to go for the “good” of the Scottish civil service, adding: "The original inquiry was a mess. Leslie Evans should stand down. As she cost the Scottish taxpayer a large amount of money, she should have gone in 2019.”[7]

In January 2020, it was announced that Evans will remain in post until spring 2022.

Personal lifeEdit

Evans is married with one son.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b Swanson, Ian (21 May 2015). "Ex-theatres chief takes top role at Holyrood". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  2. ^ Leslie Evans', Permanent Secretary for Scotland, address to Y12 : Blog : News & Events : High Storrs School
  3. ^ Freeman, Tom (20 May 2015). "Leslie Evans is new Scottish Government Permanent Secretary". Holyrood. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Leslie Evans announced as Scotland's top civil servant". BBC News. 20 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  6. ^ https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/salmond-set-to-reveal-conspiracy-allegations-in-evidence-to-inquiry-gtc77xmpv
  7. ^ "Call for top civil servant to quit as fall-out continues from Alex Salmond trial". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  8. ^ Alex Salmond probe conspiracy theory about MI5 debunked | HeraldScotland

As of this edit, this article uses content from "Permanent Secretary", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.