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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 25 January 2021
On this page
  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation



Main governmental and public actors involved in policy-making

All-age policy responsibility for health is shared between three Scottish Government Directorates: the Health and Social Care Integration Directorate, the Healthcare Quality and Improvement Directorate and the Population Health Directorate.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport is responsible for the work of these Directorates, supported by the Minister for Public Health and Sport and the Minister for Mental Health.

The Learning Directorate is responsible for health and well-being education in secondary schools under the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee scrutinises the Scottish Government’s policies and expenditure in relation to a range of health-related matters.

The Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee fulfils a similar role in relation to those matters falling within the remit of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, including schools and further and higher education.

At local level, frontline health care services are the responsibility of NHSScotland, operating through regional NHS boards.

Public Health Scotland  is Scotland’s lead national agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of all of Scotland’s people.  It came into being on 1 April 2020 and incorporates Information Services Division, Health Protection Scotland and NHS Health Scotland.  It reports jointly to the Scottish Government and COSLA, the governing body for local authorities in Scotland.

The national agency for sport is sportscotland, a non-departmental public body.

Local authorities are responsible for the provision of sport and recreational facilities. The Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982 states that, with certain exceptions, a ‘local authority shall ensure that there is adequate provision of facilities for the inhabitants of their area for recreational, sporting, cultural and social activities’.

Main non-public actors involved in policy-making 

The Young People’s Sport Panel (YPSP) is a programme led by sportscotland and supported by Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity. A group of young people are chosen from across Scotland to ensure that the younger generation is fully engaged with the decision-making process of sport. They represent the views of young people and make sure those views are incorporated into how sport is organised and developed.

Scottish Student Sport is the co-ordinating membership body for student sport and physical activity. It aims to ensure quality and breadth in well-managed sporting programmes, increase and promote involvement in physical activity and aid and support the development of appropriate professional structures and systems in sport throughout Tertiary Education in Scotland.

The Young People’s Sport Panel and Scottish Student Sport were both closely involved in developing the sport strategy (See ‘National strategy (ies)’ in ‘Sport, youth fitness and physical activity’.

A range of third sector, voluntary organisations are involved in different ways in influencing health policy. NHS Education for Scotland produced a report in 2013 which shows many examples of this.

Cross-sectoral cooperation

The Scottish Government’s Children and Young People’s Health Support Group is an expert Ministerial advisory group on children and young people’s health.

The group focuses on the delivery of improvements in health outcomes and health services for children and young people. Membership consists of a wide range of representatives from key professional groups and decision-makers, including from the voluntary sector, medicine, nursing, allied health professions, local authority social work and education, from services across Scotland.

The National Strategic Group for Sport and Physical Activity was established in September 2013 to provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities in getting Scotland more active. The group is chaired by the Minister for Public Health and Sport and brings together a range of partners from, health, sport, local government, transport etc..