SCOTLAND'S former top civil servant said the state should encourage citizens to do more to help themselves, as he published the findings of an 18-month review of public policy.

Sir John Elvidge, former Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, said government needed to stop being a barrier to the empowerment of people.

Sir John carried out the review for the Carnegie UK Trust, of which he is a fellow.

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His report, A Route Map to an Enabling State, calls for government to stop doing things for people and communities that they can organise and do themselves.

"There is clear evidence that people wish to be in control of their own lives.

"There is also evidence that feeling in control is a factor in better physical and mental health," he said.

"So it goes with the grain of both our individual and our collective interest to seek to maximise that control."