Scottish Government

(Redirected from Scottish Executive)

The Scottish Government (Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba, pronounced [ˈrˠiə.əl̪ˠt̪əs ˈhal̪ˠapə]) is the devolved government of Scotland.[2] It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 referendum on Scottish devolution.[3]

Scottish Government
Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba
Scots: Scots Govrenment
Established1 July 1999 (1999-07-01)
LeaderFirst Minister (Humza Yousaf)
Appointed byFirst Minister approved by Parliament, ceremonially appointed by the monarch
Main organScottish Cabinet
Responsible toScottish Parliament
Annual budget£51.2 billion (2021–22)[1]
HeadquartersSt Andrew's House
2 Regent Road

The Scottish Government consists of the Scottish Ministers, which is used to describe their collective legal functions. The Scottish Government is accountable to the Scottish Parliament, which was also created by the Scotland Act 1998 with the first minister appointed by the monarch following a proposal by the Parliament. The responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament fall over matters that are not reserved in law to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Ministers are appointed by the first minister with the approval of the Scottish Parliament and the monarch from among the members of the Parliament. The Scotland Act 1998 makes provision for ministers and junior ministers, referred to by the current administration as Cabinet secretaries and ministers, in addition to two law officers: the lord advocate and the solicitor general for Scotland. Collectively the Scottish Ministers and the Civil Service staff that support the Scottish Government are formally referred to as the Scottish Administration.

History edit

The Scottish Executive's original logo, shown with English and Scottish Gaelic caption. The logo was replaced in September 2007, with the name changed to "Scottish Government", and the Flag of Scotland used instead of the Royal Arms.

In 1885, many domestic policy functions relating to Scotland were brought into the responsibility of the Scottish Office, a department of the Government of the United Kingdom which was headed by a Secretary for Scotland, later the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Following the 1997 referendum on devolution, many of the functions of the Secretary of State for Scotland were transferred to the Scottish Ministers, accountable to a devolved Scottish Parliament.

The first Scottish Executive was formed by First Minister Donald Dewar as a coalition between the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. During this period, ministerial appointees were divided into ministers and deputy ministers. The Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition continued under subsequent First Ministers Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell. Following the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Alex Salmond headed a Scottish National Party administration until his resignation in 2014 and the appointment of his former Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Since 2007, the Scottish Executive has used the name Scottish Government. The change of name was later recognised in law by the Scotland Act 2012. In 2001, former First Minister Henry McLeish had proposed such a change, but experienced some opposition.[4]

At the same time that the Scottish Government began to use its new name, a new emblem was adopted. It replaced the use of a version of the Royal Arms with the Flag of Scotland.[5]

The Scottish Ministers edit

Yousaf Government
10th Government of Scotland
The cabinet of Humza Yousaf outside Bute House, March 2023
Date formed28 March 2023
People and organisations
MonarchCharles III
First MinisterHumza Yousaf
First Minister's history2023–present
Deputy First MinisterShona Robison
No. of ministers27
Total no. of members27
Member parties
  •   Scottish National Party
  •   Scottish Greens
Status in legislatureMajority
cooperation and confidence and supply agreement between the SNP and the Greens
71 / 129 (55%)
Opposition partyScottish Conservatives
Opposition leaderDouglas Ross
Legislature term(s)6th Scottish Parliament
PredecessorThird Sturgeon government

The Scottish Government is led by the First Minister of Scotland and consists of additional Scottish Ministers and the law officers.

The Scottish Parliament nominates one of its members to be appointed as First Minister by the King.[6] The First Minister appoints additional Ministers to a variety of ministerial portfolios. More senior ministers, known as Cabinet Secretaries, collectively form a cabinet with the First Minister. The Scottish law officers, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor, can be appointed without being a member of the Scottish Parliament; however, they are subject to the Parliament's approval and scrutiny. Law officers are also appointed by the King on the recommendation of the first minister.[6]

Cabinet edit

The Scottish Cabinet collectively takes responsibility for policy coordination within the Scottish Government. It is supported by the Cabinet Secretariat, based at St Andrew's House. While the Scottish Parliament is in session, Cabinet meets weekly.[7] Normally meetings are held on Tuesday afternoons in Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister.[8] Members of the Scottish Cabinet receive blue despatch boxes for their use while in office.[9]

There are currently two sub-committees of cabinet:[10]

The current members of the Scottish Government's Cabinet are:

March 2023–present edit

Cabinet of Humza Yousaf
Portfolio Portrait Minister Term
Cabinet secretaries
First Minister   Humza Yousaf MSP 2023–present
Deputy First Minister   Shona Robison MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Finance 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy   Neil Gray MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care   Michael Matheson MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills   Jenny Gilruth MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition   Màiri McAllan MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs   Angela Constance MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice   Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands   Mairi Gougeon MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture   Angus Robertson MSP 2021–present
Also attending cabinet meetings[11][a]
Permanent Secretary   John-Paul Marks 2022–present
Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business   George Adam MSP 2021–present
Lord Advocate   The Rt Hon. Dorothy Bain KC 2021–present

Junior Scottish Ministers edit

Junior Scottish Ministers, who take the title of Minister, are also appointed to the Scottish Government. Each junior minister has oversight by a particular Cabinet Secretary.

The current[12] Junior Scottish Ministers are:

Junior ministers edit

Post Minister Political Party Term
Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy Elena Whitham MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business George Adam MSP SNP 2021–present
Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance Tom Arthur MSP SNP 2021–present
Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning Joe FitzPatrick MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Public Health and Women's Health Jenni Minto MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport Maree Todd MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise Natalie Don MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Higher and Further Education

Minister for Veterans

Graeme Dey MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Richard Lochhead MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Energy Gillian Martin MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights Patrick Harvie MSP Scottish Green 2021–present
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater MSP Scottish Green 2021–present
Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development Christina McKelvie MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees Emma Roddick MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Housing Paul McLennan MSP SNP 2023–present
Minister for Victims and Community Safety Siobhian Brown MSP SNP 2023–present

The Law Officers edit

The current law officers are:

Law Officers
Portfolio Minister Image
Lord Advocate The Rt Hon. Dorothy Bain KC  
Solicitor General for Scotland Ruth Charteris KC  

Responsibilities edit

The responsibilities of the Scottish Ministers broadly follow those of the Scottish Parliament provided for in the Scotland Act 1998 and subsequent UK legislation. Where pre-devolution legislation of the UK Parliament provided that certain functions could be performed by UK Government ministers, these functions were transferred to the Scottish Ministers if they were within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Functions which were devolved under the Scotland Act 1998 included:[13]

Subsequently, the Scotland Acts of 2012 and 2016 transferred powers over:[14]

The 1998 Act also provided for orders to be made allowing Scottish Ministers to exercise powers of UK Government ministers in areas that remain reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Equally the Act allows for the Scottish Ministers to transfer functions to the UK Government ministers, or for particular "agency arrangements". This executive devolution means that the powers of the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament are not identical.[15]

The most prominent reserved matters that remain under the exclusive control of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are:[16]

The members of the government have substantial influence over legislation in Scotland, putting forward the majority of bills that are successful in becoming Acts of the Scottish Parliament.[17]

The Scottish Government introduced a National Performance Framework (NPF) in 2007. This framework measures "how Scotland is doing" in eleven National Outcome areas including health, poverty, environment and education, along with offering a portrait of "the kind of Scotland" that government wishes to create. Each of the National Outcomes is measured by a number of Indicators and associated data sets.[18] The National Outcomes are that people:

  • grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential
  • live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
  • are creative and their vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely
  • have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
  • are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society
  • value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment
  • have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone
  • are healthy and active
  • respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination
  • are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally
  • tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.[19]

The Scottish Government edit

In addition to the Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Government is supported by a number of officials drawn from the UK Civil Service. They are collectively referred to as the Scottish Administration in the Scotland Act 1998. According to 2012 reports, there are 16,000 civil servants working in core Scottish Government directorates and agencies.[20]

The civil service is a matter reserved to the British parliament at Westminster (rather than devolved to Holyrood): Scottish Government civil servants work within the rules and customs of His Majesty's Civil Service, but serve the devolved administration rather than British government.[21]

Permanent Secretary edit

The Permanent Secretary is the Scottish Government's most senior civil servant. They lead the administration's strategic board as well as directly support the First Minister and cabinet and is the accountable officer with responsibility to ensure that the government's money and resources are used effectively and properly.[22] The current permanent secretary is John-Paul Marks, who succeeded Leslie Evans in January 2022.[23]

The Permanent Secretary is a member of the UK Civil Service, and therefore takes part in the UK-wide Permanent Secretaries Management Group under the Cabinet Secretary who performs a number of similar functions in relation to the UK Government. The Scottish Government's Permanent Secretary is responsible to the Scottish Ministers in terms of policy.[24]

Directorates edit

The Scottish Government is divided into 49 directorates which execute government policy in specified areas. Unlike in the British government, senior ministers do not lead government departments and have no direct role in the operation of the directorates.

The directorates are grouped together into seven "Directorates General", each run by a senior civil servant who is titled a "Director-General". As of May 2021, there are seven Directorates General:

Supporting these directorates are a variety of other corporate service teams and professional groups.[25]

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service serves as an independent prosecution service in Scotland, and is a ministerial department of the Scottish Government. It is headed by the Lord Advocate, who is responsible for prosecution, along with the procurators fiscal, under Scots law.

Strategic Board edit

The strategic board is composed of the permanent secretary, the seven directors-general, two chief advisers (scientific and economic) and four non-executive directors. The board is responsible for providing support to the government through the permanent secretary, and is the executive of the Scottish civil service.[26]

Executive Agencies edit

To deliver its work, there are 9 executive agencies established by ministers as part of government departments, or as departments in their own right, to carry out a discrete area of work. These include, for example, the Scottish Prison Service and Transport Scotland. Executive agencies are staffed by civil servants.

There are two non-ministerial departments that form part of the Scottish administration, and therefore the devolved administration, but answer directly to the Scottish Parliament rather than to ministers: these are the General Register Office for Scotland and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

Public Bodies edit

The Scottish Government is also responsible for a large number of non-departmental public bodies. These include executive NDPBs (e.g. Scottish Enterprise); advisory NDPBs (e.g. the Scottish Law Commission); tribunals (e.g. the Children's Panel and Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland); and nationalised industries (e.g. Scottish Water). These are staffed by public servants, rather than civil servants.

The Scottish Government is also responsible for some other public bodies that are not classed as non-departmental public bodies, such as NHS Boards, Visiting Committees for Scottish Penal Establishments or HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland.

Offices edit

The headquarters building of the Scottish Government is St Andrew's House, which is located on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Some other government directorates are based at Victoria Quay and Saughton House in Edinburgh, and Atlantic Quay in Glasgow. The head offices of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Lord Advocate's Chambers are at Chambers Street in central Edinburgh.

There are numerous other Edinburgh properties occupied by the Scottish Government. Both the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission are based in the old Governor's House on the site of the former Calton Gaol, next door to St. Andrew's House on Regent Road. Other offices are scattered around central Edinburgh, including Bute House on Charlotte Square, the official residence of the first minister.

All Ministers and officials have access to Scotland House at Victoria Embankment in London, when necessary. Dover House on Whitehall is now used by the Scotland Office and the devolved Scottish Ministers no longer use it.[27]

The Scottish Government also operates local offices and specialist facilities around Scotland, for example those used by Rural Payments & Services[28] and Marine Scotland.

International offices edit

The Scottish Government has a European Union representative office, located at Rond-Point Robert Schuman in Brussels, Belgium, which forms a part of the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union.[29] The Scottish Government also maintains offices within the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as the British Embassy in Berlin and has accredited representatives within the British Embassy in Beijing.

Scotland has a network of eight international offices across the world located in:[30]

  • Beijing (Scottish Government Beijing Office, British Embassy)
  • Berlin (Scottish Government Berlin Office)
  • Brussels (Scotland House Brussels)
  • Copenhagen (Scottish Government Copenhagen Office)[31]
  • Dublin (Scottish Government Dublin Office, British Embassy)
  • Ottawa (Scottish Government Ottawa Office, British High Commission)
  • Paris (Scottish Government Office, British Embassy)
  • Washington DC (Scottish Government Washington DC Office, British Embassy)

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ The Co-leaders of the Scottish Greens also attend cabinet twice a year as part of the Bute House Agreement

References edit

  1. ^ "Scottish Government records £2bn budget underspend".
  2. ^ Jeffery, Charlie (2009). The Scottish Parliament 1999-2009: The First Decade. Luath Press. ISBN 978-1906817213.
  3. ^ "Scotland Act 1998". The National Archives. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ Britten, Nick (10 January 2001). "Fury at bid to rename Scottish Executive". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2013. Henry McLeish, the First Minister, threatened to set himself on a collision course with Tony Blair by wanting to rename the Executive the Scottish Government. The proposal caused an immediate split in Labour ranks and left McLeish facing allegations of arrogance and over-ambition. Scotland Office minister Brian Wilson said that the First Minister should think carefully about using the term "government". He said: "Maybe they should take time to look at how other countries with two tiers of government handle this. Nobody in Germany has any difficulty distinguishing between the government and the devolved administrations."
  5. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts: 2009–10" (PDF). Accountant in Bankruptcy. 4 August 2010. p. 61. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Appointment and Role". Office of the First Minister of Scotland. 5 February 2015. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Guide to Collective Decision Making". Scottish Government. 12 November 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Lord Advocate excluded from new Cabinet". The Scotsman. 22 May 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Despatch boxes used by Scottish Government Ministers, cost and number: FOI release –". Archived from the original on 26 May 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Current Cabinet Sub-Committees". The Scottish Government. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Cabinet and Ministers". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  12. ^ "New Scottish Cabinet –". Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  13. ^ "What is Devolution?". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 22 July 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  14. ^ "What the Scottish Government does". Scottish Government. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Devolution Guidance Note 11 – Ministerial Accountability after Devolutio" (PDF). November 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 March 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Devolution settlement: Scotland". UK Government. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  17. ^ "How the Scottish Parliament Works". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  18. ^ UWS-Oxfam Partnership, Towards a Scotland that cares: A new National Outcome on care for the National Performance Framework, published November 2021, accessed 20 February 2023
  19. ^   This article incorporates text published under the British Open Government Licence: Scottish Government, What it is: An overview of the [National Performance] Framework, accessed 20 February 2023
  20. ^ Peterkin, Tom (5 June 2013). "Independent Scotland civil service '£700m a year'". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions". The Scottish Government. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  22. ^ "Government structure –". Archived from the original on 19 December 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  23. ^ "New Permanent Secretary -". Scottish Government. 18 November 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Permanent Secretary". The Scottish Government. 1 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Directorates". The Scottish Government. 23 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 November 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  26. ^ "Strategic Board". The Scottish Government. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Dover House base for Scottish Secretary and Advocate General" (Press release). The Scottish Government. 8 March 1999. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  28. ^ "Rural Payments – Contact Us". The Scottish Government. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  29. ^ "Scotland in the EU". The Scottish Government. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  30. ^ "International relations". Scot.Gov.
  31. ^ Carmichael, Hannah (26 August 2022). "Nicola Sturgeon visits Copenhagen to officially open a Nordic Office". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 30 November 2022.

External links edit