The Role of the Scottish Government
The day-to-day link between the public body and the Minister depends on the status of the public body. Executive Agency Chief Executives have a direct relationship with the Scottish Ministers for whom they develop policy or deliver a service. The Executive Agency is also part of the Scottish Government. It will be for the Agency to make sure it is adequately briefed about the Scottish Government's policies and priorities. The relevant DG, as Portfolio Accountable Officer, has a leadership role in relation to an Executive Agency. Drawing on the original concept of the 'Fraser Figure',* DGs are responsible for overseeing the relationship between Scottish Ministers and Agencies and for ensuring that Agencies are part of portfolio management arrangements including business planning, performance reporting and risk management. DGs are usually responsible for appraising the Chief Executive's performance, but in certain circumstances may delegate this role to an appropriate SG Director.
DGs provide support and constructive challenge to ensure that operational accountability is being exercised properly and that Agencies are high-performing and continuously-improving organisations. Appropriate arrangements will be in place to achieve effective, high-level performance monitoring and review. As part of their advice to Ministers about strategic matters, DGs provide advice about the strategic direction and contribution of Executive Agencies.
For Non-Ministerial Offices there may be policy links with Scottish Government officials but less direct contact with Ministers. The DGs are also unlikely to have a direct leadership role. Non-Ministerial Offices operate outwith the remit of Portfolio Accountable Officers, with the Accountable Officer instead reporting directly to the Principal Accountable Officer.
* The term Fraser Figure was derived from the report "Making the
most of Next Steps" (1991) by Sir Angus Fraser.
The 'Fraser Figure' concept was originally intended to provide a senior link between Agency Chief Executives and the parent government department.