Ministers & Law Officers

The Scottish Cabinet

First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Head of the Scottish Government: responsible for development, implementation and presentation of Government policy, constitutional affairs, and for promoting and representing Scotland.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

John Swinney MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • school standards, quality and improvement
  • school infrastructure & staffing
  • educational attainment, qualifications and closing the attainment gap
  • National Improvement Framework
  • teaching profession
  • behaviour and measures to combat bullying
  • modern languages and the Gaelic and Scots languages
  • Named Person
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • non-advanced vocational skills
  • historical abuse enquiry

Cabinet Secretary for Justice


Humza Yousaf MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • police
  • courts, sentencing
  • justice system and criminal law procedure
  • violence reduction
  • criminal justice social work, victims, witnesses, female offenders
  • human rights
  • prisons and prisoners
  • reducing reoffending
  • security
  • youth justice

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • welfare policy, social security
  • measures against poverty (with CSCLG)
  • Best Start Grant (replacing the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant)
  • Funeral Expense Assistance (replacing the UK Government's Funeral Payment)
  • Carers Allowance (at which point we will stop paying Carers Allowance Supplement)
  • Young Carers Grant
  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work

Derek Mackay MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • Scottish economy
  • Inclusive Growth
  • managing the public finances
  • fiscal policy and taxation
  • Scottish budget, budgetary monitoring and reporting
  • government procurement
  • efficient government
  • National Performance Framework
  • public bodies policy
  • Scottish Futures Trust
  • Scottish Enterprise - national enterprise agency
  • trade and inward investment
  • trade unions
  • public sector pay
  • Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Registers of Scotland

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • climate change and environmental protection
  • biodiversity
  • Crown Estate
  • environmental and climate justice
  • flood prevention & coastal erosion
  • land use and land reform
  • animal welfare
  • wildlife crime
  • water quality and Scottish Water

Cabinet Secretary for The Rural Economy

Fergus Ewing MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • agriculture and crofting
  • fisheries and aquaculture
  • food and drink
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • South of Scotland Enterprise Agency
  • rural Scotland
  • animal health
  • forestry

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Jeane Freeman MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • NHS and its performance, staff and pay
  • Health care and social integration
  • patient services and patient safety
  • primary care, acute services elective centres Implementing the 2020 Vision, national clinical strategy, quality strategy and national service planning
  • allied Healthcare services
  • carers, adult care and support
  • child and maternal health
  • dentistry
  • medical records, health improvement and protection

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government


Aileen Campbell MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • social justice
  • tackling inequalities
  • measures against poverty (with CSSS)
  • community empowerment, devolution to communities and reform of local government
  • democratic renewal
  • third sector and social economy
  • advocacy and advice
  • religious and faith organisations

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Fiona Hyslop MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • international relations
  • creative industries
  • culture and the arts
  • architecture and built heritage
  • broadcasting
  • tourism
  • co-ordination on bringing major events to Scotland
  • National Records and national identity

Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations

Michael Russell MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • The UK's exit from the European Union
  • Government and parliamentary business
  • Constitutional Relations and intra-governmental affairs

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Michael Matheson MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • transport and public transport
  • infrastructure investment policy
  • cities & City Deals
  • town centres


Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans

Graeme Dey MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • government and parliamentary business
  • local government elections
  • Scottish Parliamentary elections
  • Freedom Of Information (FOI) and open government
  • veterans

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning

Kevin Stewart MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • housing
  • local government
  • planning
  • building standards
  • Business Improvement Districts
  • community planning
  • homelessness
  • regeneration
  • fuel poverty

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands

Paul Wheelhouse MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • energy and energy consents
  • renewable energy industries
  • connectivity including 100% broadband
  • cross government co-ordination on islands

Minister for Community Safety

Ash Denham MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • community safety
  • access to justice
  • anti-sectarianism
  • anti-social behaviour
  • civil law
  • fire and rescue services
  • liquor licensing
  • legal profession

Minister for Children and Young People

Maree Todd MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • childcare implementation
  • early years
  • child protection
  • adoption and fostering
  • children's hearings
  • children's rights
  • children's services
  • looked after children
  • protection of vulnerable groups
  • social service workforce

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Jamie Hepburn MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • business, industry and manufacturing
  • employment policy
  • labour market strategy, the living wage, and fair work
  • employability programmes
  • youth employment (including implementation of the Wood Commission recommendations)
  • women's employment
  • bankruptcy and Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scottish government agency)
  • regional economic forums
  • PACE
  • non-advanced vocational skills
  • skills Development Scotland (Scotland's national skills agency)
  • consumer protection

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing

Joe FitzPatrick MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • health improvement
  • public health and healthy working lives
  • physical activity, sport, sporting events and events legacy
  • problem alcohol use and recovery, and drugs policy
  • Care Inspectorate
  • carers
  • child and maternal health (excluding mental health)
  • health protection
  • person-centred care
  • self-directed support
  • sexual health 

Minister for Mental Health

Clare Haughey MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • mental health
  • child and adolescent mental health
  • adult support and protection
  • autism, sensory impairment and learning difficulties
  • dementia
  • Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (safeguards the rights of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions)
  • survivors of childhood abuse
  • The State Hospital (Carstairs)

Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development

Ben Macpherson MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • migration policy
  • international development
  • cross government co-ordination on the European Union
  • Fair Trade
  • Scottish diaspora

Minister for Older People and Equalities

Christina McKelvie MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • equalities
  • protection and development of social and human rights
  • older people
  • disabilities
  • cross government co-ordination of policies in support of women and gender equality

Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation

Ivan McKee MSP 

Responsibilities include:

  • trade and inward investment
  • innovation and increasing productivity
  • internationalisation and European Structural Funds
  • financial services
  • life sciences
  • Low Carbon Economy

Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy

Kate Forbes MSP 

Responsibilities include:

  • Managing the public finances
  • Scottish budget, budgetary monitoring and reporting
  • Fiscal policy and taxation
  • Digital economy & digital public services
  • Public sector pensions

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

Mairi Gougeon MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • Animal health & welfare
  • Marine planning
  • National Parks and natural heritage
  • Physical and marine environment
  • Sustainable development 


Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Richard Lochhead MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • Further education and colleges
  • Higher education and universities
  • Science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
  • Student funding
  • Youth work
  • Widening access

Law Officers

Lord Advocate

James Wolffe QC

The Lord Advocate, also known as Her Majesty’s Advocate, is the senior Scottish Law Officer. The following are the Lord Advocate’s main functions:

  • Head of the systems for the investigation and prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths
  • Principal legal adviser to the Scottish Government
  • Representing the Scottish Government in civil proceedings
  • Representing the public interest in a range of statutory and common law contexts

All prosecutions on indictment run in the name of the Lord Advocate.

Solicitor General

Alison Di Rollo       

The Solicitor General is a Scottish Law Officer. The Solicitor General supports the Lord Advocate in the exercise of the Lord Advocate’s functions, and may exercise, as required, his statutory and common law powers.  

Further information

Scottish Government information about the work of the Scottish Cabinet

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