Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Scottish Government: operating framework

Sets out how we will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, including roles and responsibilities.

Governance and Accountability

14. Scottish Ministers are accountable to Parliament for overall health and social care and will take the lead in demonstrating this responsibility. SG are accountable to Scottish Ministers. HIS will support SG by, amongst other things, providing information to Ministers to enable them to account to Parliament.

15. HIS Chief Executive is accountable to HIS Board Chair and the Board Chair is accountable to Scottish Ministers.

16. The recruitment process for Ministerial Public Appointments is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC). SG follow the Commissioner’s Code of Practice which means that, as far as possible, the recruitment process is fair, transparent and based on merit.

17. Applicants must demonstrate how they meet the values of the NHS: care and compassion; dignity and respect; openness, honesty and responsibility, and quality and teamwork. They must also meet the Fit and Proper Person Test which is a requirement of the Code of Practice.

18. The Chairperson of HIS Board is appointed by and accountable to Scottish Ministers. HIS Board are appointed by Scottish Ministers and accountable to the Chairperson and, when required, Scottish Ministers.

19. The Chief Executive of HIS is appointed and employed by HIS Board with the approval of Scottish Ministers. The Chief Executive receives accountable officer status from the Permanent Secretary of SG.

20. The Chief Executive of HIS is a member of the NHS Scotland Chief Executives’ Group and reports to the Director-General Health and Social Care.

21. HIS is accountable to Scottish Ministers via the Sponsor Function for the delivery of its strategic objectives. The day-to-day link between HIS and Scottish Ministers is provided by the Sponsorship Function in SG. While a number of other SG Directorates, Divisions, Unit, Teams, and Functions have direct relationships with HIS in relation to specific programmes of work, projects, and policy areas, the Sponsor Function has overall responsibility for ensuring that HIS is adequately briefed about SG policies and priorities and monitors HIS’ activities on behalf of Ministers.

22. In addition, HIS has its own responsibilities to account to the public and to the Scottish Parliament. They will keep SG informed on its handling of these responsibilities. This may be demonstrated through correspondence with Members of the Scottish Parliament, appearances before Scottish Parliamentary Committees, publication of information on HIS’ website, responses to letters from the public, and responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

23. SG recognises the need for HIS to maintain an open and positive working relationship with a range of partners in the context of health and social care integration. There will be a need to demonstrate sensitivity in managing these relationships in the context of the very different accountability and governance arrangements for these other partners such as local government and the third sector.

24. Specifically, HIS has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an agreed Operating Framework between HIS and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), in relation to HIS’ work with Integration Authorities, and in recognition of local government’s political investment in, and accountability for, the successful implementation of integration.

25. Given HIS’ legal accountabilities to SG, any changes to the MoU with COSLA will also be agreed with SG to ensure a clear three way agreement and understanding of HIS’ dual accountabilities within the integrated space.



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