Learn more about Scottish Executive
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The term Scottish Executive is used in two different, but closely-related senses: to denote the executive arm of Scotland's national legislature, ie. the government of Scottish Ministers, but also, somewhat confusingly, to denote the civil service supporting that government.
The head office of the Executive is at St Andrew's House, on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Some departments are based at Victoria Quay in Leith, Pentland House in Gorgie and Chambers Street in central Edinburgh. The Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department is located in central Glasgow, and the European Union Office is located at Rond Point Schuman in Brussels, Belgium.
 Executive arm of the Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Executive (Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba), as established by the Scotland Act 1998, is the executive arm of the Scottish Parliament, in other words the Scottish Government, a term used both by members of the Scottish Executive and by others (more details below).
It is responsible for all issues that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster by the Scotland Act, including the Scottish NHS, education, justice, rural affairs, and transport. It manages an annual budget of more than £27 billion in the financial year 2005-2006, which is due to rise to over £30 billion in 2007-2008.<ref>About the Scottish Executive, scotland.gov.uk</ref>
It consists of a First Minister, who leads the Executive, and various ministers with individual portfolios and remits. The Scottish Parliament nominates a member to be appointed as First Minister by the Queen. The First Minister then appoints ministers and junior ministers, subject to approval by the Parliament.
Similar to the United Kingdom-wide form of government there is no division between executive and legislature, with the members of the Scottish Executive being chosen from amongst the Members of the Scottish Parliament (except for the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland, who need not be MSPs). The members of the Scottish Executive are assisted by a number of junior Scottish Ministers, also chosen from amongst the Members of the Parliament. The members of the Executive are therefore able to influence, and in practice dictate legislation in Scotland.
The Scottish Executive is currently formed from a coalition between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, who have set out their programme for government in the Partnership Agreement. The current First Minister is Jack McConnell of the Labour Party.
The current Ministers are:
- First Minister - Jack McConnell MSP (Labour)
- Deputy First Minister, Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning - Nicol Stephen MSP (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister for Justice - Cathy Jamieson MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Health and Community Care - Andy Kerr MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Education and Young People - Hugh Henry MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform - Tom McCabe MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Environment and Rural Development - Ross Finnie MSP (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister for Communities - Malcolm Chisholm MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Parliamentary Business - Margaret Curran MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport - Patricia Ferguson MSP (Labour)
- Minister for Transport and Telecommunications - Tavish Scott MSP (Liberal Democrat)
- Lord Advocate - Elish Angiolini
- Solicitor General - John Beckett
- Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning - Allan Wilson MSP (Labour)
- Deputy Minister for Justice - Johann Lamont MSP (Labour)
- Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care - Lewis Macdonald MSP (Labour)
- Deputy Minister for Education and Young People - Robert Brown MSP (Liberal Democrat)
- Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform - George Lyon MSP (Liberal Democrat)
- Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development - Rhona Brankin MSP (Labour)
- Deputy Minister for Communities - Des McNulty MSP (Labour)
- Deputy Minister for Parliamentary Business - George Lyon MSP (Liberal Democrat)
Ministers must follow the Scottish Ministerial Code, a code of conduct and guidance on procedures.
The Scottish Cabinet normally meets weekly (while Parliament is sitting) on a Wednesday morning at Bute House, in Charlotte Square, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland. The Cabinet consists of the Scottish Ministers, excluding the Law Officers (the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General). The Lord Advocate attends meetings of the Cabinet but is not formally a member.<ref>Scottish Cabinet-related Information, Scottish Executive website</ref>
The Cabinet is supported by the Cabinet Secretariat, which is based at St Andrew's House.
There are 4 Cabinet sub-committees in the second Administration (since 2003):
- Cabinet Sub-Committee on Criminal Justice
- Cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation
- Cabinet Sub-Committee on Local Government
- Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sustainable Scotland
The Cabinet currently has 3 Delivery Groups, and 1 new "short-life" Group which has not met yet:
- Children and Young People Delivery Group
- Closing the Opportunity Gap Delivery Group
- Tackling Sectarianism Delivery Group
- Short-Life Delivery Group to Implement 21st Century Social Work Review Recommendations (yet to meet)
The Cabinet also has several ad-hoc and miscellaneous Groups. During the 2nd Administration these have been:
- Ad Hoc Group of Ministers on Planning (current)
- Ad Hoc Group on a Strategy for a Scotland with an Ageing Population (current)
- Ad Hoc Group on Care Development Group Report (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on Drugs and Alcohol (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on European Strategy (concluded)
- Ad Hoc On Fire and Rescue Services (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on Fire Services Modernisation (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on G8 Summit (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on National Planning Framework (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on Security and Civil Contingencies (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on Social Work Review (concluded)
- Ad Hoc Group on Tourism (concluded)
- Ministerial Group on Regeneration
- Ministerial Group on Civil Contingencies
- Meeting of Ministers to Discuss Relocation
- Short Life Ministerial Group on Alcohol
 United Kingdom Civil Service in Scotland
The term Scottish Executive also denotes the civil service supporting Scottish Ministers. According to the most recent (2006) reports, there are 15,263 civil servants working in core Scottish Executive departments and agencies.<ref>theherald.co.uk</ref> The civil service is a matter reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament, rather than devolved to the Scottish Parliament: Scottish Executive civil servants work within the rules and customs of the United Kingdom civil service, but "owe their loyalty to the devolved administration rather than the UK government".<ref>FAQ, scotland.gov.uk</ref>
Other civil servants based in Scotland carry out functions not devolved to the Scottish Executive, for example those in the Ministry of Defence.
The work of the Scottish Executive is carried out by a number of core departments:
- Office of the Permanent Secretary
- Development Department
- Education Department
- Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department
- Environment and Rural Affairs Department
- Finance and Central Services Department
- Health Department
- Justice Department
- Legal and Parliamentary Services
There are also 17 Executive Agencies established by Ministers as part of Executive departments, or as departments in their own right, to carry out a discrete area of work. These include the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency, Scottish Prison Service and Transport Scotland. Agencies are staffed by civil servants.
Two non-Ministerial departments answer directly to Parliament rather than to Ministers:
The Scottish Executive is also responsible for a large number of Non-Departmental Public Bodies. These include executive bodies (eg. Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and sportscotland); advisory bodies (eg. the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board and the Scottish Law Commission); tribunals (eg. the Children’s Panel); and nationalised industries (eg. Scottish Water).
 Permanent Secretary
The Permanent Secretary supports the First Minister and Cabinet of Scottish Ministers. The current incumbent is Sir John Elvidge who took over from Sir Muir Russell in 2003. John Elvidge is the most senior civil servant in Scotland and heads the management group of the Scottish Executive and his own department, the Office of the Permanent Secretary (OPS).
The Permanent Secretary is answerable to the most senior civil servant in the UK, the Cabinet Secretary, for his professional conduct. He thus has some measure of independence from Scottish Ministers, although his primary duty is to execute their instructions.
The Coat of Arms of the Scottish Executive was adapted from the Royal Arms, but without the motto, the helm, the mantling, the crest, the war-cry above the crest, and the flags of Scotland and of England carried by the supporters. In the design of the Arms of the Scottish Executive, both supporters are crowned with the Crown of Scotland, whereas in the Royal Arms, the Scottish unicorn is crowned with the Scottish Crown, and the English lion is crowned with the British Imperial State Crown.
In January 2001, the then First Minister Henry McLeish suggested changing the official name of the executive arm from "Scottish Executive" to "Scottish Government". The reaction from the UK Government in London and from some Labour Party members and Scottish Labour MPs was hostile.<ref>telegraph.co.uk</ref>
Any change in formal title would require amendment of the Scotland Act 1998.
"Scottish Government" remains a common unofficial term to describe the executive arm of the Scottish Parliament. It has no special statutory meaning.
 See also
 External links
- Official website
- The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive - Roles and Responsibilities, Scottish Parliament website
- Scottish Parliament & Scottish Executive, Scotland Office website
- articles regarding the Scottish Executive, The Scotsman newspaper
- directory of Scottish Executive websites, Glasgow University Library
- InfoScotland, information on Scottish Executive campaigns
- Clearing the air, a Scottish Executive website on the ban on smoking in public places
- Scotland is the Place - Welcome to the best small country in the world, a Scottish Executive website aiming to attract people to move to, or move back to, Scotland
- Scotland's health on the web - online health information provided by NHS Scotland, a Scottish Executive website run by NHS National Services Scotland
- Tartan Day in America, a Scottish Executive website promoting Tartan Day in the United States
- scottish-property.gov.uk, website listing properties advertised for sale by the Scottish Executive and other participating government bodies
- Junior Exec - the official government kids site for Scotland, an external website supported by the Scottish Executive
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