by Sir John Elvidge

Key Facts

  • The contemporary structure of the Scottish Government is only recognisably three decades old and has recently undergone radical change.

  • The devolved Scottish Executive was established by legislation in 1998 and reflected a similar departmental structure to the pre-devolution Scottish Office. Local government in Scotland was restructured into a unitary system in 1994. Then, in 2007, the incoming SNP minority government unveiled radical plans to reorganise the Scottish government as a single organisation.

  • The main elements of this radical shift were:  

>> an outcomes-based single strategic framework for all Scottish government and all parts of the public sector it controls

>> structuring central government as a single organisation

>> an agreement between central and local government that consequently extends the strategic agreement to the entire Scottish public sector

>> a publicly accountable performance management system that is accountable and transparent and based around the central question of the economic purpose of government.

For the full chapter, please see: Elvidge, J. (2017) Government in Scotland. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge.