Directorates of the Scottish Government

The work of the Scottish Government is carried out by Directorates, each headed by a Director. The Directorates are grouped into a number of Directorates-General families, each headed by a Director-General. However, the individual Directorates are the building blocks of the system. The Directorates are further broken down into "Divisions" and then by teams. Divisions usually consist of 25-50 people. There is no direct correspondence between the political responsibilities of the Ministers in the Scottish Government and the Directorates, although in some cases there is considerable overlap. The Directorates are also responsible for a number of government agencies and non-departmental public bodies. Some government work is also carried out by Executive Agencies such as Transport Scotland, who sit outside the Directorates structure, but are also staffed by civil servants

The current system of Directorates was created by a December 2010 re-organisation.[1] Prior to 2007 the Directorates were preceded by similar structures called "Departments" that no longer exist (although the word is still sometimes used in this context).[2]

The Office of the Permanent Secretary is headed by the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, who replaced Sir Peter Housden, in July 2015. The current structure of the directorates is given below.[3]


Director-General, Paul Johnston


  • Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights
  • Housing and Social Justice
  • Local Government and Communities
  • Social Security

Constitution and External Affairs

Director-General, Ken Thomson


  • Constitution and Cabinet
  • COVID Co-ordination
  • External Affairs
  • Organisational Readiness
  • EU Directorate
  • Parliamentary Counsel Office


Director-General, Lesley Fraser


  • Communications, Ministerial Support and Workplace
  • Digital
  • Financial Management
  • Legal Services (Solicitor to the Scottish Government)
  • People
  • Scottish Procurement and Property


Director-General, Liz Ditchburn


  • Agriculture and Rural Economy
  • Chief Economist
  • COVID Business Resilience and Support
  • Culture, Tourism and Major Events
  • Economic Development
  • Energy and Climate Change
  • Environment and Forestry
  • Fair Work, Employability and Skills
  • International Trade and Investment
  • Marine Scotland
  • Scottish Development International

Education and Justice

Director-General, Joe Griffin


  • Advanced Learning and Science
  • Children and Families
  • Early Learning and Childcare
  • Justice
  • Learning
  • Local Government and Communities
  • Safer Communities
  • Scottish Fire Services College


Director-General, Alyson Stafford


  • Budget and Public Spending
  • Internal Audit and Assurance
  • Performance and Strategic Outcomes
  • Taxation and Fiscal Sustainability

Health and Social Care

Director-General and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Caroline Lamb


  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • COVID Public Health
  • Digital Reform and Service Engagement
  • Health Finance, Corporate Governance and Value
  • Health Performance and Delivery
  • Health Workforce
  • Mental Health and Social Care
  • Population Health
  • Primary Care
  • Quality and Improvement
  • Test and Protect
  • Vaccine Strategy and Policy

Note: In the September 2011 civil service reorganisation, three Directorates were combined. These were: the Cabinet, Strategy and Performance, and International and Constitution.[4][5]


  1. "Paul Gray, Director-General Rural Affairs, Environment and Services". Scottish Government. Retrieved 7 May 2011. This notice refers to the transfer of the DG of the Scottish Government Environment Directorates in December 2010, and thus indirectly to this re-organisation.
  2. "Reporting on 100 Days: Moving Scotland forward" Scottish Government. Retrieved 15 August 2009. "A new structure for Scotland's Government has been put in place, transforming the Departmental structure, moving from nine Heads of Department, to a Strategic Board with the Permanent Secretary and five Directors-General (DG), with each DG having responsibility for driving one of the Government's strategic objectives. Directors-General focus on the performance of the whole organisation against the Cabinet's agenda. The new structure means that the old Scottish Executive Departments no longer exist. Instead, each DG supports and manages a number of Directors, with these Directorates leading, presenting and developing policy for Ministers."
  3. "The Civil Service". Scottish Government. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  4. "Opponents' scorn over SNP's 'separation tsar'". The Scotsman. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. "About: People: Directorates". Scottish Government. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.