26. The Director and Deputy Director for Planning and Quality have responsibility for overseeing and ensuring effective relationships between SG and HIS, which support alignment of the business of HIS to SG’s Purpose and National Outcomes and high performance by HIS. They will work closely with the HIS Chief Executive and be answerable to the Portfolio Accountable Officer, who is the Director General, Health and Social Care, for maintaining and developing positive relationships with HIS characterised by openness, trust, respect and mutual support. They will be supported by a Sponsor Function in the Planning and Quality Division in discharging these functions.
27. The Sponsor Function is the key point of contact for HIS in dealing with SG and is the primary source of advice to Scottish Ministers on the discharge of their responsibilities in respect of HIS and undertakes responsibilities on behalf of the Portfolio Accountable Officer. These include but are not limited to:
a. discharging sponsorship responsibilities in line with this document and ensuring that sponsorship is suitably flexible, proportionate, and responsive to the needs of the Scottish Ministers and other corporate requirements;
b. ensuring that appointments to the HIS Board are made timeously and where appropriate, in accordance with the code-practice for Ministerial Appointments in Scotland;
c. proportionate monitoring of HIS’ activities through an adequate and timely flow of appropriate information, agreed with HIS on performance, budgeting, control, and risk management;
d. respond in a timely manner to any significant problems arising, alerting the appropriate HIS point of contact and the responsible Minister(s) where considered appropriate;
e. ensuring that the objectives of HIS and the risks to them are properly and appropriately taken into account within SG’s risk assessment and management processes;
f. informing HIS of relevant SG policy in a timely manner.
28. HIS will meet with the Sponsor Function and Sponsor Lead or their chosen Deputy at least every quarter to explore priorities, consider resource utilisation, review performance, and consider new or existing issues, risks, and opportunities.
29. A representative from the Sponsor Function should aim to attend HIS Board Meetings to observe.
30. While the Sponsor Function is the main point of contact and has oversight of all HIS activities, other SG policy leads and budget holders in other business areas may have direct relationships with HIS and arrangements to meet with them in relation to specific programmes of work, projects and policy areas.
31. SG Policy Leads and Budget Holders are encouraged to liaise with the Sponsor Function and HIS early on in any legislation or policy development cycle in order that any implications for all parties can be understood and next steps mutually agreed. This aims to create space for HIS to provide any relevant evidence that may help shape SG Policy and/or enable SG to consider implications to HIS existing improvement and assurance role.
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