Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee has announced an inquiry looking at the "challenges" that come with a single, unified Civil Service working for both the UK and Scottish Governments. 

News of the new probe follows political rows over officials in Scotland being asked to work on independence, despite the Union being a matter reserved to Westminster.

The cross-party investigation will explore the legal and political issues faced by officials as a result of the “increasing policy divergence between the UK and Scottish Governments” and the “increasingly complex interaction between reserved and devolved policy areas".

They will also assess what this means for “official impartiality".

READ MORE: Scotland’s civil service has been 'captured wholesale' by SNP

Earlier this month, a senior Labour source told The Herald they believed the civil service had been “captured".

The accusation came after an email shared with the UK Covid Inquiry showed a senior official warning ministers during the pandemic that holding Spain to "a much higher level of scrutiny” when judging travel exemptions could have an impact on an independent Scotland being allowed into the EU.

Our source said: "That a civil servant would not just think this way but contribute it to a policy discussion shows the extent of how pervasive the thought process of constitutional division has become in the civil service.

“They have been captured wholesale and the lines between political interest and public service have not just become blurred, they have disappeared."

READ MORE: Civil service unions hit back at claims of pro-SNP bias

SNP and Green ministers have published ten Building a New Scotland papers despite there being no immediate prospect of an independence referendum.

Around 20 officials are reported to be working on documents, with salary costs for the Constitutional Futures Division of around £1.4million in 2022/23.

While Civil servants working in Scotland are part of the UK-wide Civil Service and must follow its rules, they also have a responsibility to deliver the Scottish Government’s policies.

Commenting on the new inquiry, the SNP’s Pete Wishart, who chairs the Scottish Affairs Committee, said: “Civil servants in Scotland and, indeed across the whole UK, do a fantastic job of helping to carry out the agendas upon which their respective governments were elected.

“They are a hugely important resource and they deserve to be given the right tools to do their jobs effectively and in line with the agendas of the governments they serve.

“As a Committee, we will be looking closely at this model of a unified Civil Service supporting two governments to ensure the system is working in a way which enables civil servants to deliver the highest possible standard of public service for the people of Scotland.”

READ MORE: London to 'tighten up' civil service rules after row over Indyref2

The Parliament has made clear that the inquiry will “not be focusing explicitly on any specific individuals, teams or areas of policy within either the UK or Scottish Government.”