Arts post for McLeish adviser

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JOHN McTernan, chief adviser to Henry McLeish, the former First Minister, is to take up a policy post with the Scottish Arts Council, The Scotsman has learned.

He is being engaged over the next few months on a short-term contract to support the management shake-up taking place in the organisation following a funding review carried out by consultants.

Now a regular columnist with Scotland on Sunday, Mr McTernan left his post as head of strategy at the Scottish Executive following Mr McLeish’s resignation as First Minister last November.

He was one of a team of special advisers, or "spin-doctors" - including Peter MacMahon, Mr McLeish’s spokesman - who became casualties of the Officegate downfall.

Mr McTernan presently works as an independent consultant. He previously had management roles in both private and public sectors and was responsible for drafting Scottish Labour’s manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election in 1999.

The Scottish Arts Council’s funding review was commissioned to examine the way in which it distributes its funding.

This includes making access to funds easier and more flexible. Graham Berry, SAC director, said: "The experience and skills he brings will make a valuable contribution to the organisation."