Scotland’s new permanent secretary John-Paul Marks to face first Holyrood grilling by MSPs

SCOTLAND’S new permanent secretary will be grilled by MSPs for the first time tomorrow since taking on the top civil service job.

John-Paul Marks, who took over from outgoing permanent secretary Lesley Evans at the turn of the year, will give evidence to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee on Thursday morning.

Mr Marks, a former top official at the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions, will be pressed by MSPs on the Scottish Government’s consolidated accounts for the 2020-21 financial year.

He will be joined by four top officials including chief financial officer Jackie McAllister.

READ MORE: John Paul Marks to become Leslie Evans’ replacement as Scottish Government permanent secretary

A report by the Auditor General on the accounts, has warned that the “Scottish Government will need to manage further turbulence over the next few years”, due to the financial impact of the pandemic.

The Scottish Government has been urged to “regularly assess and improve its estimates of fraud and error in Covid19 grant schemes” in a bid to” assure themselves that controls to detect and prevent fraud and error are working in practice”.

The Auditor General has also called on the administration to “ensure greater accessibility and transparency of its performance reporting”.

The Auditor General added: “The Scottish Government’s arrangements for sponsoring public bodies remains an area of concern.

“Last year, I reported that the Scottish Government had taken initial steps to improve the effectiveness of its role in sponsoring public bodies but that the establishment of a governance hub module on sponsorship training, accreditation for sponsors and workshops and networking events for accountable officers and sponsors had largely paused due to Covid-19.”

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