Record

CodeNA233
Dates1885-1999
JurisdictionGreat Britain and Northern Ireland
Person NameGreat Britain and Northern Ireland; Scottish Office; 1885-1999
ActivityThe establishment of the Scottish Office in 1885 (following the Secretary for Scotland Act 1885: 48 & 49 Vict., c.61), under the Secretary for Scotland, resulted in fuller devolution of administration from London to Scotland. Much of the administration continued to be performed by boards, including the new Board of Agriculture in 1911 and the Board of Health in 1919. In 1926 the head of the department became the Secretary of State for Scotland (Secretaries of State Act 1926: 16 & 17 Geo. V, c.18). In 1939 (after the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act 1939: 2 & 3 Geo. VI, c.20), the functions of these boards were vested directly in the Secretary of State and the Scottish Office was divided into departments dealing with specific matters
· Agriculture
· Education
· Home
· Health
In the same year a Scottish headquarters building, St Andrew's House in Edinburgh, was opened, while Dover House in Whitehall remained both the residence of the Scottish Secretary in London and also the office dealing with parliamentary procedure. After the Second World War, the Secretary of State was given additional responsibilities including hydro-electricity, assistance to agriculture, National Health Service, town and country planning, forestry, civil defence, childcare and various other subjects. He acquired responsibility for roads and bridges from the Minister of Transport.

In 1960 to 1962, internal changes in the Scottish Office resulted in the reconstitution of four departments
1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland
2. Scottish Development Department, with functions relating to local government, town and country planning, housing, roads, environmental services, electricity, and (from 1968) passenger transport and Highland development
3. Scottish Education Department
4. Scottish Home and Health Department, which discharged the Secretary of State's responsibilities for health services and law and order.

1964 saw the establishment of the Regional Development Division of the Scottish Office. Its purpose was to co-ordinate the work of various departments both Scottish and UK wide concerned with economic development. It operated separately from the four Scottish departments and reported to the Secretary of State through the Permanent Under Secretary of State. The main forum of interdepartmental consultation was the Scottish Economic Planning Board, consisting of representatives of all the departments concerned, under a Scottish Office chairman. The Board operated in close co-operation with the Scottish Economic Planning Council, first established in 1965, which advised the Secretary of State on economic matters. In 1966, responsibility for the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland was transferred to the Secretary of State from the Ministry of Building and Works. The transfer of responsibility for ancient monuments, royal parks and palaces followed this in 1969. All these functions were exercised by the Development Department, with the exception of responsibility for the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, which was administered through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. In 1967 the Social Work Services Group was set up to reorganise the services whose provision was regulated under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. By 1982 this group was attached to the Scottish Education Department. Following the impact of North Sea Oil development, the Scottish Economic Planning Department was established in 1973, within the Scottish Office. In addition to co-ordinating all aspects of oil-related development in Scotland and absorbing the Regional Development Division, it sponsored
1. The Highlands and Islands Development Board (established 1966)
2. The Scottish Tourist Board
and dealt with electricity supply and new towns. From 1975 this department took over the administration of Regional Selective Assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry's Office in Glasgow. Further reorganisation in 1983 abolished the title Scottish Economic Planning Department and renamed the department as the Industry Department for Scotland.

In addition to the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB), a number of other commissions and boards were established in the post-war period, for which the Secretary of State held parliamentary responsibility.
· The Crofters' Commission (1956)
· The Countryside Commission for Scotland (1967)
· Mental Welfare Commission (1961, successors to the General Commissioners)
The Scottish Development Agency (SDA), sponsored by the Scottish Economic Planning Department, was set up in 1975 to attract inward investment for Scottish industry. As the size of the civil service in Scotland increased, so sections of departments were located in towns or cities other than Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Conservative governments in power from 1979 to 1997 were responsible for the hiving off of a number of government functions and departments and the creation of executive agencies with varying degrees of autonomy, including:
· Student Awards Agency
· Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency
· Registers of Scotland

The Scottish Office ceased to exist on 1 July 1999, as part of the devolution process, to be replaced by the Scottish Executive and the new Scottish Parliament (with a set of new ministers with portfolios and departments quite separate from those which existed before). Central Government still has a Secretary of State for Scotland, who is based at the Scotland Office in Dover House, London.
Corporate NameScottish Office
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