John Swinney reappointed as Deputy First Minister

DFM to drive cross-government Covid recovery.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has appointed John Swinney as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, as she begins the appointment of a new Scottish Government.

Mr Swinney, who has served as Deputy First Minister since 2014, will take responsibility for driving cross government action on Covid Recovery.

The role will see Mr Swinney mobilise the Scottish Government and wider public, private and third sectors to ensure a strong recovery.  He will chair a cross party steering group on Covid recovery which is expected to hold its first meeting next week.

Mr Swinney will also take the lead on inter-governmental relations, public service reform, including within government, and the delivery of a number of transformational projects across government and wider society. This includes the incorporation of the UN Human Rights treaties and the delivery of The Promise to care experienced young people.

He will be supported by the Minister for Parliamentary Business.

Further cabinet and ministerial appointments will be made on Wednesday 19 May.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Our first priority as a government is to lead the country through the pandemic and into a recovery that supports our NHS, protects and creates jobs, backs our young people and contributes to our ambition to be a net zero nation.

“Appointing John Swinney to drive cross government work on Covid Recovery is a key step in getting Scotland’s recovery off to the right start.  

“How we begin our recovery is crucial to the kind of country we can become, and that means ensuring everyone, whether in government, the public sector, the business community or wider society is pulling in the same direction.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery John Swinney said:

“Recovery in our schools, our health service, our economy and across our wider society is this government’s immediate priority and I am honoured to have been asked to lead that mission.

“I am determined that government will bring the same urgency that we applied to the actions we took to protect public health, to the actions we need to take to secure a fair and just recovery. 

“I will be bringing opposition parties together next week to hear their contributions and to set out how I believe we can all work together to secure a strong recovery.

“As we recover we must also remember our commitments to improve the lives of people across our society and it is a privilege to continue to lead the work across government to deliver on the incorporation of UN charters and to deliver The Promise for our care experienced young people. “     


The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery will have the following responsibilities:

  • Government strategy
  • Inter-governmental relations
  • Cross government coordination of Covid Recovery policies
  • Cross government co-ordination on Covid-19 recovery & Covid-19 strategic reviews
  • Delivery and outcomes across portfolios
  • Public service reform
  • Cross government co-ordination on UN treaty incorporation
  • Resilience
  • Government statistics
  • Office of the Chief Researcher
  • Local Government Boundary Commission
  • National Performance Framework
  • Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
  • Local governance review and democratic renewal 
  • Efficient Government
  • Cross-Government delivery of ‘The Promise’ to Care Experienced Young People


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