Retail Industry Leadership Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the working group.


Creating the conditions for a vibrant and enticing retail proposition – and doing so in a way that positively contributes to our net zero ambitions and which promotes good quality, and secure employment – is our shared challenge. 

Through working with retail businesses, sector representatives, our enterprise agencies, trade unions and national and local government we aim to secure the best future for the retail sector and those that work in it.

The importance and value in that co-collaborative approach is contained within the Joint Principles Agreement between businesses and the Scottish Government.  The Joint Principles Agreement sets out a shared commitment to co-development, collaborative delivery and collective assessment of policies that impact on businesses.

For the retail sector, this collaboration will take place through the establishment of a sector-led Industry Leadership Group (ILG). The commitment to an ILG underlines the importance of businesses, industry representatives and employees working together to collectively address challenges and support the development of new opportunities.

Vision for the retail sector

The vision for retail, developed and agreed by the Retail Strategy Steering Group is:  

“Over the next decade, Scotland’s retail sector will thrive through a process of positive change and innovation, to offer people and communities the quality goods, experiences and services they want. The sector will embrace business development opportunities to foster sustainable growth; protect the environment; cultivate entrepreneurship; strengthen supply chains; support wellbeing; and ensure that retail offers secure, well-paid and rewarding employment. 

The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the sector, trade unions and employees, whose experiences are crucial, to help the retail sector in Scotland become an exemplar for inclusive economic growth and play its part in creating a fairer, greener and stronger Scotland.”


The purpose of the Retail ILG is to realise the strategic objectives of the retail strategy and to promote retail interests in developing Scottish Government policy. The ILG will provide the strategic overview and governance for delivery of the strategy, including monitoring delivery progress.

To achieve this, the Retail ILG will agree on a delivery plan that sets out how the priorities in each of the strategic themes of sector, people, place and Just Transition will be progressed within the first six months of its establishment. The delivery plan shall include a critical review process and timelines for measuring success.

The ILG should focus on delivering following priority objectives:

  •  the actions in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation that will directly support the retail sector
  • a Fair Work Agreement which encourages retail businesses to demonstrate their commitment to Fair Work principles
  • a skills audit and action plan for the sector, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland
  • a Just Transition Plan for retail to ensure a transition to an environmentally and sociably sustainable sector, working with industry to guide the path to net zero

The priorities of the ILG may flex and take account of changing economic circumstances and build on good practice and transformation in the sector.

Co-Chair and membership

The ILG will be co-Chaired by Tom Arthur, Minister for Employment and Investment and Polly Jones, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, Asda. In the event that one co-Chair is unable to attend a meeting, it will be solely chaired by their counterpart. 

The remaining ILG members will be drawn from representatives of retail businesses and industry organisations, along with representation from the Trade Unions and employee representatives. The group will be sufficiently representative of employee voice and, as far as possible, the breadth and diversity of the population, business base and geography of Scotland. 

The ILG Group shall comprise of between 12-17 members. Of this, two thirds of the group are able to make and agree actions in order for the meeting to be quorate, with the flexibility to have fewer with the Co-Chairs’ agreement. 

The Co-Chairs may invite non-members of the Group to attend and contribute to meetings as appropriate. 

Membership is on a voluntary, non-remunerated basis. Appointment is not a public appointment and is not subject to the public appointments process. Members can leave voluntarily at any time, with new members to be agreed upon by the Co-Chairs.  

The co-Chairs can chair or appoint chairs for special purpose working groups that may be established in fulfilment of the Delivery Plan actions.

Role of the Scottish Government and agencies

The Scottish Government should attend ILG meetings in an advisory role to help inform on wider government policy development and key strategic priorities and to provide secretariat duties. 
Agencies should attend the meetings and be involved in working with ILGs to engage, co-produce, and where appropriate co-deliver on emerging opportunities.


The main group of the ILG will meet up to four times a year, with additional meetings to be agreed upon by the ILG as necessary. 

Members will be expected to read papers for meetings and prepare for each meeting in advance. Meetings will last no longer than two hours and will focus on the development and delivery of the actions set out in the Retail Strategy although agendas can be flexible to allow for discussion on urgent or emerging issues that the ILG agrees merits its consideration. 
Working groups may also meet as frequently as necessary to conduct their business in order to ensure continuity with the overarching purpose of the ILG.

Minutes of the meetings and action points will be published on the Scottish Government website after co-Chairs and members have agreed the contents.

Connection to other industry leadership groups 

The ILG co-Chair or a delegated member of the ILG may meet with other Scottish Government Industry Leadership Groups including the ILG Chairs Group to discuss cross-cutting issues and share practices and learning.  


The terms of reference and role of the group will be reviewed annually. The ILG membership will be kept under continuous review. 


The Scottish Government’s Retail Strategy Team within the Local Economic Development Division will provide secretariat support for the ILG Main Group. 

Agenda and papers

Any ILG member can, by contacting the Secretariat, suggest agenda items for future meetings. The co-Chairs will decide the final agenda.

The Secretariat will aim to distribute an agenda and accompanying papers at least five working days before a scheduled meeting. 

Declarations of Interest

Advice and guidance on the registration of interests, and compliance with the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016, will be provided by the Secretariat.

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