Human Rights Bill Governance and Engagement Executive Board: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Human Rights Bill Executive Board.


The Executive Board is constituted as a time-limited committee of senior representatives which has no executive powers, other than those specifically delegated in these terms of reference.

Purpose and objectives

  • the key role of the Executive Board is to be an advisory group, to provide strategic support and advice to Scottish Government major decision making, during the course of development of the proposed statutory framework for human rights, based on the recommendations and report (published on 12 March 2021) of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership. This is particularly important because Human Rights policy encompasses a wide range of Scottish Government and public sector interests, policies and operations
  • it will consider the strategic resource implications that the work related to the developing statutory framework for human rights will have across the wider public sector – during development of the new Bill and for implementation - and input into discussions on what actions are needed across the public sector to support this effective development and implementation
  • it will serve as a forum for members to support collective leadership across public organisations on the implementation of the Human Rights Bill and, more widely, the realisation of human rights for all of the people of Scotland. To fulfil this role, members will be expected to engage with other forums and groups across their respective policy areas to maximise the reach and impact of preparations to raise awareness across Scotland’s public sector about their current and future collective human rights obligations related to this Bill. Members will be encouraged to report to the Group regularly on progress towards this goal. The secretariat will provide briefing materials to support discussions between members and groups they engage with for this purpose
  • board members will identify appropriate personnel within their organisations who can participate in working level discussions with the Scottish Government on particular aspects of the Bill, in order to contribute to effective development and implementation of this legislation
  • the Executive Board will ensure commitment to the development and implementation of this new legislation within their respective organisations. They will make sure their organisations are fully informed of the progress of this work and are inputting where required. The Executive Board may also identify relevant parties and networks that will assist with the delivery of the objectives outlined in part 2
  • the Executive Board will consider, and review at their meetings, cross-cutting strategic issues and risks to delivery of the development and the implementation of the new legislation on human rights
  • the Bill Team supporting the Executive Board will assist members to be human rights leaders by providing a communications plan that will include key messages for use in communications by Board members to their wider networks

Membership and attendance


  • Paul Johnston, Director General, Communities, chair
  • Elisabeth Campbell, Deputy Director, Human Rights, deputy chair
  • Alison Byrne, Interim Director for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights, member
  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland, CEO, member
  • Alan Speirs, Police Scotland, Assistant Chief Constable, member
  • Jim Savege, SOLACE, CEO Scotland Branch, member
  • James Dunphy, Scottish Funding Council, Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes, member
  • Luis Felipe Yanes, Scottish Human Rights Commission, member
  • Chris McCoy-Lavery MBE, Visit Scotland, Head up Equality and Diversity, member
  • Mirren Kelly, COSLA, member
  • Edith Macintosh, Care Inspectorate, member
  • Sally Loudon, COSLA, CEO, member
  • Carolyn McLeod, Audit Scotland, member
  • Teresa Medhurst, Scottish Prison Service, CEO, member
  • Fiona Robertson, SQA, CEO, member
  • Caroline Lamb, NHS Scotland and Director General, Health and Social Care, member
  • Emma Campbell, Scottish Water, Strategy and Employee Experience General Manager, member
  • Catherine Topley, NDPB Forum, Chair, member
  • Cath Denholm, Equality and Human Rights Commission, member
  • Lead Secretary, Scottish Government , observer
  • Minute-taker, Scottish Government , observer

Attendance by members

The chair, or deputy, will be expected to attend all meetings. The chair, or deputy, will be drawn from the Scottish Government. Members are expected to attend meetings, however in exceptional circumstances representatives will be accepted.

Attendance by other staff

Other attendees may be co-opted to attend meetings as considered appropriate by the Board on an ad-hoc basis, such as to present information, facilitate discussions or similar. Additionally, Scottish Government staff will attend where necessary, such as Bill team members, or policy officials.

Membership changes

Additional members and observers can be added to the group to address gaps in the membership, if required, subject to agreement from the Executive Board Chair.


The Executive Board will meet three times per year (every four months), until the end of its lifetime on 31 March 2023, with the potential to extend this lifetime should the Scottish Government require further engagement on the framework.


The Executive Board may propose to create sub-groups or working groups, as are necessary to provide advice and support to the Scottish Government, in relation to the development and implementation of this framework. The Executive Board may not delegate executive powers (unless expressly authorised) and remains accountable for the work of any such group.

Servicing arrangements

The Executive Board will be serviced by the Scottish Government. Papers will be sent five working days prior to meetings and members will be encouraged to comment via correspondence between meetings as appropriate. Minutes will be taken and issued for clearance prior to meetings.

Accountability and reporting

Scottish Government officials will remain accountable to the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery and Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, in line with normal Civil Service arrangements. Members of the Executive Board will retain their own accountability and independence of institutional positioning on the proposed statutory framework for human rights. The Scottish Human Rights Commission [and Equality and Human Rights Commission] retain statutory independence as National Human Rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles. 

Information sharing

The group will comply with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Papers for the meetings will be shared with Executive Board members by email.

The Executive Board secretariat will ensure that relevant information about the Board’s work is communicated to interested parties and is accessible to the public, for example through the Scottish Government website, and other publication mechanisms.

The Scottish Government will provide office accommodation and access to ICT and other support services for the Programme Office.

The Chair shall advise on all aspects of confidentiality with respect to the information presented to and discussed by the membership.

Monitoring effectiveness and review

The terms of reference will be reviewed and approved by members and agreed by the Executive Board Chair.


Members should be mindful of Scottish ministers’ commitment to inclusion and diversity in public life and, in fulfilling their role on this Executive Board, should strive to assist in creating a culture and environment that enables the Scottish Government to harness the talents of everyone by enabling and promoting the participation of people from under-represented groups.

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