Top civil servant knighted

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JOHN Elvidge, Scotland's most senior civil servant, receives a knighthood in today's honours. Mr Elvidge, 55, the permanent secretary at the Scottish Executive, becomes a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Mr Elvidge, who grew up in London and was educated at Oxford University, became Scotland's top public servant in July 2003, succeeding Sir Muir Russell, who left to become the principal of Glasgow University.

Mr Elvidge joined the Scottish Office in 1973 and has had spells on secondment to the Cabinet Office in London and Scottish Homes. He is a former head of the Executive's education and finance and central services departments.

After Lord Fraser's report into the Holyrood project, Mr Elvidge publicly apologised, saying civil servants had fallen short of expected standards. When he took over the top job, Mr Elvidge, who is close to Jack McConnell, the First Minister, urged civil servants to welcome change as "an inspiring challenge" in the drive to improve the lives of Scots.

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