Who runs government

After a Scottish Parliamentary election, a First Minister is formally nominated by the Scottish Parliament and appointed by His Majesty the King.

The First Minister then appoints the Scottish ministers to make up the Cabinet with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament and the approval of The King.

The First Minister leads the Scottish Government, with the support of the cabinet secretaries and ministers.

The Scottish Government

The First Minister

The First Minister is head of the Scottish Government and is ultimately responsible for all policy and decisions. The First Minister:

  • oversees the operation of the government and its agencies
  • appoints members of the government (cabinet secretaries and ministers)
  • is the principal Scottish Government figure in the Scottish Parliament

The First Minister is John Swinney. The official residence of the First Minister is Bute House in Edinburgh.

The Deputy First Minister

The Deputy First Minister supports the work of the First Minister.

Cabinet secretaries

The Scottish Cabinet is made up of the senior members (cabinet secretaries) of the Scottish Government.


Ministers are aligned to and support the work of the Scottish Cabinet.

Every Tuesday, during the Scottish Parliamentary term, the Cabinet meets to discuss the most important issues for the Scottish Government.

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