NICOLA Sturgeon has insisted her government is trying to be “as transparent as possible” despite repeated accusations of secrecy, including over the CalMac ferries scandal.

The First Minister admitted her comments might raise eyebrows among opponents, but stressed it was in the government’s own interests to be open about its work.

Criticism about a lack of transparency was justified “on occasion”, she added.

The FM was speaking at a meeting of Holyrood’s committee conveners earlier today, the day after a BBC investigation exposed fresh secrets around the bungled 2015 CalMac deal.

Earlier this year, the Government’s top civil servant, Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks, told his officials to take a “rigorous approach” to record keeping.

It followed key documents from the CalMac scandal - emails confirming the ministerial sign off on the disastrous contract - going missing, and only belatedly being discovered. 

Today, Kenny Gibson, convener of the finance committee, raised Mr Marks and criticism of the Government’s record keeping and freedom of information responses.

He asked Ms Sturgeon how she would enhance transparency, particularly of key policy decisions to allow “full and proper parliamentary scrutiny”.

She said: “I’ll seek to preside over a government that is, in what it does, as transparent as possible.

"And in terms of recording and storing recording decisions, storing information, does that to the standards that would be expected, and you have heard from the permanent secretary his determination to ensure that those standards are met.

“I'm also realistic enough to know that in the heat of political debates, no matter how transparent I think the government is being, there will be people where they will not be transparent enough, and on occasion they will be right and we will need to reflect on that and learn from it.”

Referring to the missing CalMac contract emails, she went on: “It is as frustrating for me, believe it or not, as it is for others in parliament if, for example, we are not able to locate a particular piece of paper that evidences a decision and then later locate it. 

“That is not in my interest. It kind of makes the life of ministers seeking to navigate issues and defend policies harder. 

“So this is the bit that perhaps opposition members will have a wry raising of an eyebrow to, but it is true. For a sensible government, these things, transparency, good record keeping, being able to demonstrate the basis on which decisions are taken, is as much in the interests of the government as it is in the interests of those holding the government to account.

“So are we ever.. [at] a stage where we don't get some things wrong sometimes, or that we're not subject to legitimate criticism? No, because nobody is perfect. 

“But are we absolutely determined to make sure that we are meeting the standards expected, then without a shadow of a doubt yes.”