The Scottish government has been accused of spending £40,000 on the recruitment process to find the first CEO of the national investment bank.
A public contract notice issued by SNP ministers on Friday showed the work to recruit the first boss of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) had been awarded to global recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson.
According to the Herald, the firm was asked to develop a job description for the position and to work out the likely salary by comparing it with similar posts in the public and private sector.
The headhunters have also been asked to “attract high quality candidates with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion”, run the recruitment process and schedule interviews.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon first announced the SNIB in late 2017, and it is expected to be finalised by 2020.
The investment bank aims to provide “patient capital” for Scottish companies which might otherwise struggle to find it, helping them borrow money over a ten to 15 years, funding which is often critical to business expansion.
The Scottish Government has committed over £2 billion over ten years to capitalise the bank, which is expected to play a key role in tackling climate change by investing in firms that will help move Scotland to zero carbon emissions.
MSPs are currently examining the detailed legislation behind the bank, and have already suggested giving themselves roles in its direction.
Last year, ministers also awarded a £2.5 million contract to Deloitte LLP for “professional services” on the bank.
Value for money?
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie told the Herald that the bank must not become a cash cow for consultants and headhunters.
He said: “Previous SNP economic initiatives have launched with great fanfare yet fallen woefully short. The Scottish National Investment Bank needs to pack a real punch.
“It must not be allowed to become a goldmine for head-hunters and expensive consultants."
Scottish Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser told the Herald: “It’s vital this new bank is seen to be efficient and value for money, and certainly not return to the extravagant banking days of old.
“Many will think this is excessive money to spend simply on finding a boss. It certainly doesn’t suggest a lean and prudent operation.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank has the potential to transform Scotland’s economy, and requires a CEO with the appropriate skills and experience to be able to lead such a high profile financial institution.
“It is common practice at this level in the financial or public sector for a recruitment agency to be used to help to attract the best and most diverse possible field of candidates.”