Top civil servant in Scotland invites critics to work on shopfloor

Critics of Scotland’s public sector should spend a week with staff to see how hard they work, according to the country’s most senior civil servant.

John Elvidge, permanent secretary at the Scottish Executive, hit back at criticisms from politicians that the civil service was overburdened with too many bureaucrats.

There are now more than 4,400 people working for the Scottish Executive, which has been dogged with accusations of wasted funds ever since devolution. The parliament building cost more than ten times its original £40m price tag.

In an interview with the Scotsman newspaper, Elvidge said he would not have “the slightest qualms about inviting anybody to follow any member of this organisation around for a week’.

“I am clear that people in this organisation are very busy, although in every organisation there is a series of legitimate questions about ‘busy doing what?’ and how productive people are,” he said.

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