Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Oifis Rùnaire na Stàite airson Alba), often referred to as the Scotland Office, is a UK government department headed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and responsible for Scottish affairs within the British Government. Its role combines with that of the Ministry of Justice in HM Government.[2]

Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
Scottish Gaelic: Oifis Rùnaire na Stàite airson Alba
Department overview
Preceding Department
TypeDepartment of HM Government
  • Scotland
    • 1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW
  • Westminster
Annual budget£8 million for 2011–12[1]
Minister responsible
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The office is responsible for the representation of Scotland and Scottish affairs in HM Government, facilitating the smooth operation of devolution, liaising between the UK Government and the Scottish Government at Edinburgh and the administering of certain reserved matters of government relating to Scotland.


Until the advent of the Scottish Parliament and the devolved Scottish Government, the Scottish Office (the precursor to the Scotland Office) was a major UK government department dealing with most aspects of the domestic governance of Scotland, a position known as "administrative devolution". Since devolution its powers are limited to those relating to reserved matters that are not dealt with by other departments of HM Government and it, along with the Wales Office, was then absorbed into the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), which in turn became the Ministry of Justice. The Secretary of State for Scotland also holds certain powers of oversight over the operation of the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998.

On 21 October 2015, the Scotland Office re-branded their Facebook profile to 'UK Government for Scotland.'[3] The Scotland Office Twitter handle changed to @UKGovScotland at the same time.


The Scotland Office Ministers are as follows:[4]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon. Alister Jack MP Secretary of State Overall responsibility for the department, constitutional affairs, general economic policy, defence
Colin Clark MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland TBC
Robin Walker MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
(jointly with the Northern Ireland Office)

Under the Blair Ministry and Brown Ministry, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland was often held along with another Secretariat of State by a member of the Cabinet:

Danny Alexander was briefly the first Secretary of State in the Cameron Ministry (in May 2010), prior to his appointment as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, succeeding David Laws.

Michael Crockart (a Liberal Democrat MP) resigned his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State on 9 December 2010 over the United Kingdom Government's plan for an increase in tuition fees.


The following have been head of the Scotland Office (since 2009, this position has been called Director of the Scotland Office):[5]

  • 1999–2002: Ian William Gordon (as Head of Department)
  • 2002–2005: David Jonathan Crawley (as Head of Department)
  • 2005–2007: James Richmond Wildgoose (as Head of Department)
  • 2007–2009: David Fraser Middleton (as Head of Department; later CBE)
  • 2009–2012: Alisdair Douglas McIntosh
  • 2012–2015: Alun Trevor Bernard Evans, CBE
  • 2015–2017: Francesca Osowska
  • 2017–present: Gillian McGregor, CBE


The governmental department is based at Dover House, Whitehall and engages around 40 permanent staff. Dover House also serves as a base for staff of the Scottish Government in London.

There is also an office of the department located in Melville Crescent, Edinburgh.

The Advocate General, who is a Crown Law Officer, shares the same offices in London and Edinburgh.

See also


  • The Scottish Secretaries, David Torrance. (Birlinn 2006)
  1. Spending Review 2010 (PDF). London: HM Treasury. 2010. p. 88. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  2. "About". Scotland Office.
  4. "Our ministers". GOV.UK. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  5. The dates and names are taken from their entries in Who's Who.
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