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To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide the names of the special advisers in post; what their responsibilities are; what their pay bands are; how many special advisers are in each pay band, and what the total salary cost of employing special advisers was in 2013-14.

Answered by John Swinney (02/04/2015):

Special Advisers are appointed in accordance with Part 1 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 by the First Minister as a special adviser for the purpose of providing assistance to the Scottish Ministers.

The *total costs of the special adviser team of 14 special advisers employed during the financial year 2013-14 was £1,022,396.

Following the change in First Minister 11 special advisers remained in post. With the appointment of Jeanette Campbell and Kate Higgins on 1 April 2015, there are currently 13 special advisers. The special advisers and their specific responsibilities are as follows:




Liz Lloyd

Chief of Staff to the First Minister including the co-ordination of the Special Adviser team

Senior Special Adviser on the Constitution

Responsible for the First Minister’s Strategic programme in Government

Special Adviser for Culture, Europe and External Affairs (temp)

30 January 2012

Noel Dolan

Senior Special Adviser to the First Minister

FMQs, Policy Advice to the First Minister

26 May 2011

Stuart Nicolson

Head of Communications Senior Political Spokesperson for the First Minister

26 May 2011

Colin McAllister

Head of Policy and Specia Adviser to the Deputy First Minister

Senior Special Adviser for Finance and for Local Government

FMQs, Programme for Government

3 October 2012

Campbell Gunn

Deputy Spokesperson for the First Minister and Communications Adviser

8 July 2013

Ross Ingebrigtsen

Deputy Spokesperson for the First Minister and Communications Adviser

Strategic communications planning

20 January 2014

Alexander Anderson

Special Adviser for Infrastructure, Investment and the Cities and for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

8 October 2012

Malcolm Fleming

Senior Special Adviser for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and for Fair Work, Skills and Training

25 July 2011

John MacInnes

Political and Media Research

Support for First Minister’s QuestionsSupport to Communications Special Advisers

3 June 2011

Davie Hutchison

Special Adviser for Health, Wellbeing and Sport

FoI Legislation lead

8 June 2011

John McFarlane

Special Adviser for Justice

Parliamentary Business including liaison with the Parliamentary Group

26 May 2011

Jeanette Campbell

Special Adviser for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights

1 April 2015

Kate Higgins

Special Adviser for Education and Lifelong Learning

1 April 2015


The special adviser pay bands and ranges and the number of special advisers within each pay band currently in place are:

Pay Band

Current Pay Range

Number of Special Advisers


£39,445 - £52,904



£51,041 - £67,709



£65,017 - £83,963


3 (premium)

£83,549 - £100,942



£86,965 - £104,462


*Total Costs include salary, ERNIC and employer pension contributions. Total costs figures have been converted into 2015-16 prices to adjust for inflation using HM Treasury GDP deflators, as at 18 March 2015. The total costs figure for 2014-15 is not yet available.

Current Status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by John Swinney on 02/04/2015
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