Scottish Executive

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Image:Scottish Executive logo (bilingual).png
The Executive's logo, shown with English and Scottish Gaelic caption

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.

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[edit] 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.

[edit] Ministers

The current Ministers are:

Ministers must follow the Scottish Ministerial Code, a code of conduct and guidance on procedures.

[edit] Cabinet

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):

The Cabinet currently has 3 Delivery Groups, and 1 new "short-life" Group which has not met yet:

The Cabinet also has several ad-hoc and miscellaneous Groups. During the 2nd Administration these have been:

[edit] 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:

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).

[edit] 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[citation needed], although his primary duty is to execute their instructions.

[edit] Arms

Image:Arms Scot Exec.jpg
The arms of the Scottish Executive

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.

[edit] Names

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.

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


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