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Scottish Executive

The term Scottish Executive is used in two distinct but closely related senses.

The Scottish Executive (Riaghaltas na h-Alba in Gaelic), as established by the Scotland Act 1998 is the executive arm of the Scottish Parliament. It consists of a First Minister who heads it and various ministers with individual portfolios and remits. The Parliament elects the First Minister and Executive, although any party/parties that can form a majority select the First Minister, who chooses the other members thereafter.

Similar to the UK-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 Scottish Liberal Democrats. Current First Minister is Jack McConnell.

The current Ministers are-

  • Deputy Minister for Enterprise & Lifelong Learning - Allan Wilson
  • Deputy Minister for Justice - Hugh Henry
  • Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care - Rhona Brankin
  • Deputy Minister for Education and Young People - Euan Robson
  • Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform - Tavish Scott
  • Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development - Lewis Macdonald
  • Deputy Minister for Communities - Johann Lamont
  • Deputy Minister for Parliamentary Business - Tavish Scott

For previous holders of Ministerial office, see List of Scottish Executive Ministerial Teams.

The term Scottish Executive is also used to described the devolved government of Scotland, headed by Ministers but including several thousand civil servants. It may be thought of as equivalent to a department of the United Kingdom government. The civil servants who work in the Executive are part of the UK Civil service, but owe their allegiance to the Scottish Ministers.

The Executive is divided into a number of departments

  • Development Department
  • Education Department
  • Enterprise, Transport & Lifelong Learning Department
  • Environment & Rural Affairs Department
  • Finance & Central Services Department
  • Health Department
  • Justice Department
  • Legal & Parliamentary Services
  • Office of the Permanent Secretary

The Scottish Executive also includes a number of agencies and oversees the work of a large number of Scottish public bodies.

See also: Politics of Scotland, UK Politics

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Last updated: 10-17-2005 10:55:53
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