Retail Strategy Steering Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Retail Strategy Steering Group.


The retail strategy will set out the main national and global issues and policies that impact on Scotland’s retail sector. It will outline a series of recommendations and actions that will aid the sector in addressing both the challenges and opportunities it is facing, including those related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in online shopping behaviour, to provide a more resilient future for retailers in Scotland.

The steering group will guide the recommendations and direction of the strategy and will be established for the duration of the strategy’s development.

The Strategy will examine retail through a place-based approach to policy making. The vitality of the High Street, transformation of cities and towns and connections within communities are all essential to the future of retail. Related workstreams such as the Town Centre Action Plan and the City Centres Task Force will be involved in discussions and any interdependencies reflected in the Retail Strategy.

The Steering Group

The Steering Group will be made up of members from bodies across Trade Organisations, Public Sector Bodies, businesses and Trade Unions.

The Chair of the Steering Group will be the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth. Meetings will be held every month or as required until the strategy document is published; thereafter the Steering Group will be disbanded.

Actions and recommendations for the retail strategy will be progressed via three thematic workstream groups, comprising of members from the steering group and additional business, policy and delivery experts as required. Members of the steering group will chair each workstream group. These will focus on People, Place and the Retail Sector and provide progress reports to the steering group.


The remit of the steering group is to:

  • develop a shared vision for the future of retail in Scotland
  • develop a retail strategy for Scotland that will set out how government, retailers and unions will work together with consumers to deliver that vision
  • develop a retail strategy for Scotland’s retail work force that delivers secure and quality employment
  • help the Scottish Government and its agencies to better understand and respond to the needs of the retail sector and consumers
  • provide the opportunity for steering group members to help shape key policy
  • agree on the range of thematic work streams that will be developed
  • agree on the content and delivery of the strategy, including recommendations and actions that may arise from the work streams’ findings and on a format for  presenting the findings
  • consider the impact of accelerated trends brought about by the pandemic (i.e. the shift towards online and away from bricks and mortar, changes in workforce composition, supply chain resilience/transformation) and develop policies to minimise the economic and social harm and to maximise any benefits
  • consider the impact of retail on climate change, encourage sustainable ways of working and look at ways of reducing the carbon footprint throughout stores, logistics and the supply chain
  • capture examples of innovation or best practice in retail and throughout the supply chain that may have emerged through necessity in light of challenging circumstances, and examine ways to maximise benefit by initiating new ways of working
  • oversee the activities of the work streams to ensure they deliver on brief and within agreed timescales
  • assist in the positive promotion of the Strategy document once finalised

Fundamental principles

The following fundamental principles will apply:

  • the aim of the Strategy is to develop a shared vision for a vibrant and sustainable retail sector in Scotland
  • the Strategy will take into account of -  and be fully aligned with - other Scottish Government economic, environmental and place-based strategies
  • Steering Group representatives will agree – where possible – to provide resource (people, evidence, case studies) that will support and enable the work stream’s activities
  • where there is a divergence of views amongst steering group members, the Chair will give equal weight to the views of all of the members and arbitrate. The decision of the Chair will be final
  • responsibility for drafting of the strategy document will be for the Scottish Government, with support and input from Steering Group members

Scottish Government
Retail Strategy Steering Group Secretariat
2nd February 2021

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