Scotland Office

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland supports the Secretary of State in promoting the best interests of Scotland within a stronger United Kingdom. It ensures Scottish interests are fully and effectively represented at the heart of the UK Government, and the UK Government’s responsibilities are fully and effectively represented in Scotland.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Ian Murray (Lab - Edinburgh South)
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

Liberal Democrat
Lord Bruce of Bennachie (LD - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Scotland)
Christine Jardine (LD - Edinburgh West)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)

Scottish National Party
Tommy Sheppard (SNP - Edinburgh East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

Labour
Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Gerald Jones (Lab - Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
Shadow Minister (Scotland)
Michael Shanks (Lab - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Shadow Minister (Scotland)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con - Life peer)
Advocate General for Scotland
Lord Offord of Garvel (Con - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
John Lamont (Con - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
6 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Scotland
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 1st May 2024
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
1 May 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Scotland
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Debates
Monday 19th February 2024
Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 20th February 2024
10:00
Alex Salmond
Oral Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Tuesday 18th July 2023
Intergovernmental relations: 25 years since the Scotland Act 1998

2023 marks the 25 anniversary of the passing of the Scotland Act 1998.

To mark this milestone, the Committee is …

Written Answers
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Scotland Office: Health and Safety
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether all (a) buildings and (b) workplaces staff from their Department occupy …
Secondary Legislation
Wednesday 13th September 2017
Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2018
The Order makes provision in consequence of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”).
Bills
Thursday 28th May 2015
Dept. Publications
Wednesday 14th February 2024
16:36

Scotland Office Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
View All Scotland Office Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Scotland Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Scotland Office has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Scotland Office - Secondary Legislation

The Order makes provision in consequence of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”).
View All Scotland Office Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
Petition Open
29 Signatures
(3 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
1,399 Signatures
(2 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Open
1,399 Signatures
(2 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
29 Signatures
(3 in the last 7 days)
Scotland Office has not participated in any petition debates
View All Scotland Office Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Scottish Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Scottish Affairs Committee
Pete Wishart Portrait
Pete Wishart (Scottish National Party - Perth and North Perthshire)
Scottish Affairs Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Sally-Ann Hart Portrait
Sally-Ann Hart (Conservative - Hastings and Rye)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 4th May 2020
Alberto Costa Portrait
Alberto Costa (Conservative - South Leicestershire)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 4th May 2020
Wendy Chamberlain Portrait
Wendy Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat - North East Fife)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 4th May 2020
Douglas Ross Portrait
Douglas Ross (Conservative - Moray)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 15th June 2020
David Duguid Portrait
David Duguid (Conservative - Banff and Buchan)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 8th November 2022
Christine Jardine Portrait
Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 21st February 2023
Mark Menzies Portrait
Mark Menzies (Conservative - Fylde)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 22nd May 2023
Anum Qaisar Portrait
Anum Qaisar (Scottish National Party - Airdrie and Shotts)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 18th September 2023
Alan Brown Portrait
Alan Brown (Scottish National Party - Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 18th September 2023
Michael Shanks Portrait
Michael Shanks (Labour - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Scottish Affairs Committee Member since 22nd January 2024
Scottish Affairs Committee: Previous Inquiries
Renewable energy in Scotland Access to cash in Scotland Impact of closure of City Link on employment Coronavirus and Scotland My Scottish Affairs 2020 Devolution of welfare in Scotland inquiry The EU Referendum and its impact on Scotland inquiry The demography of Scotland and the implications for devolution inquiry The renewable energy sector in Scotland inquiry Revising Scotland's fiscal framework inquiry English Votes for English Laws inquiry Scotland's place in Europe inquiry Sustainable employment in Scotland inquiry Sustainable employment in Scotland inquiry European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implications for devolution inquiry Work of the Scotland Office inquiry My Scottish Affairs inquiry Immigration and Scotland inquiry Digital connectivity in Scotland inquiry Impact of HMRC's reorganisation in Scotland inquiry Scotland and the High North inquiry Jobcentre Plus closures in Scotland one-off session Inter-governmental co-operation on social security inquiry Welfare policy in Scotland inquiry Access to Financial Services inquiry Problem drug use in Scotland inquiry Immigration and Scotland: follow-up inquiry The work of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland inquiry Fisheries Bill hearing City Region Deals inquiry BBC Scotland inquiry The relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments inquiry The future of Scottish agriculture post-Brexit inquiry RBS branch closures inquiry Delivery charges in Scotland inquiry Scotland and Brexit: Trade and Foreign Investment inquiry ATM Network in Scotland inquiry The future of the oil and gas industry inquiry Video Games Industry in Scotland Postal Services in Scotland Supporting Scotland's Economy Scotland Bill Health and safety in Scotland Crown Estate in Scotland UK Border Agency and Glasgow City Council A Robust Grid for 21st Century Scotland Impact of the Bedroom Tax and other changes to housing benefit in Scotland inquiry Power Outages in the West of Scotland Land Reform in Scotland Zero-Hours Contracts inquiry Remploy Marine Fife The Referendum on Separation for Scotland inquiry Blacklisting in employment Crown Estate in Scotland: Follow-up Scotland Office Annual Report 2013-14 Our Borderlands - Our Future Compliance with the National Minimum Wage in Scotland Post study work schemes inquiry Work of the Scottish Affairs Committee Creative industries in Scotland inquiry English Votes for English Laws inquiry Scotland Office Annual Report and Accounts and the work of the Scotland Office inquiry Telecommunications in Rural Scotland Sports Direct: employment practices and the sale of USC inquiry The Smith Commission: Proposals for further Devolution to Scotland Welfare policy in Scotland Promoting Scotland internationally Firearms licensing regulations in Scotland Cost of living: impact on rural communities in Scotland Coronavirus and Scotland follow-up Science and Scotland Scotland's space sector Intergovernmental relations: 25 years since the Scotland Act 1998 Scotland and the Shared Prosperity Fund Access to Financial Services The future of Scottish agriculture post-Brexit BBC Scotland Scotland and Brexit: Trade and Foreign Investment Fisheries Bill Immigration and Scotland: follow-up Immigration and Scotland The work of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland The future of the oil and gas industry Problem drug use in Scotland The relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments Welfare in Scotland Welfare policy in Scotland

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether all (a) buildings and (b) workplaces staff from their Department occupy have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment under Section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Yes; all buildings and workplaces that staff from the Scotland Office occupy have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment under Section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, which policies under each arms length body reporting to their Department fall within the scope of the Environmental principles policy statement, published on 31 January 2023.

The duty does not require us to maintain a comprehensive list of policies within scope of the duty. The duty applies to all policies made from 1 November 2023, whether developed by a central department or an arm’s length body, which are:

  • made by Ministers of the Crown; and
  • not covered by the exemptions for the armed forces, defence or national security, taxation, spending or the allocation of resources within government.

The environmental principles policy statement provides further information on what is considered policy in scope of the duty. Examples include strategies and frameworks.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will hold discussions with the Scottish Government on taking steps to help support the manufacture of (a) offshore patrol vessels and (b) wind turbines in the Highland region of Scotland.

The UK Government is committed to working constructively with the devolved administrations and I would be open to engaging with the Scottish Government on Maritime Patrol Vessels in the Highland region of Scotland. However, this is a devolved matter and I have not received any representations from Scottish Government Ministers.

With regard to the manufacture of Wind Turbines, the Government has announced the £960 million Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support manufacturing capacity, including for offshore wind. This will attract private investment, see the creation of high-skilled, well-paying jobs and ensure the UK stands ready to take the opportunity presented by the Net Zero Transition.

The Government works directly with the Scottish Government and industry through the Offshore Wind Industry Council. The Council is engaged in assessing the needs of the offshore wind supply chain, finding opportunities for its development, and the establishment of a long-term Industrial Growth Plan.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department has spent on communications staff in the (a) 2022-23 financial year and (b) 2023-24 financial year as of 29 January 2024.

Expenditure on communications staffing costs, including employer’s pensions and national insurance contributions, but excluding any VAT where applicable, was:

Year

Amount (£)

23-24 (to end Dec 23)

1,081,263

22-23

1,166,270

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department spent on public information campaigns promoting Government policies in the (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23 financial years; and how much it has spent on such campaigns in the 2023-24 financial year as of 29 January 2024.

The Office has spent the following on social media platforms to support UK Government policies and information campaigns in Scotland:

Year

Amount (£)

23-24 (to date)

17,725

22-23

49,893

21-22

39,818

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many ministerial red boxes belonging to his Department have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last three years.

The Scotland Office has not had any ministerial red boxes reported lost or stolen in the last three years. The departmental security unit records and investigates each reported loss from the Department. If appropriate, the police are invited to undertake further inquiries.
Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on infected blood compensation payments.

The Government is committed to working with the Devolved Governments, where appropriate, to explore what options are available to develop an effective response to the inquiry's recommendations that delivers across the UK.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what targets his Department has set to help achieve the Government's commitments on net zero.

The Government set out how we would meet our commitments in the Net Zero Strategy in 2021, which included a detailed breakdown of actions required across all sectors of the economy. This was updated in 2023 through the publication of 'Powering Up Britain'.

The UK has halved its emissions, ahead of every other major economy, and we have grown our economy by over 70% since 1990. The UK over-achieved against the first and second carbon budgets, and the latest projections show that we are on track to meet the third.

We have one of the most ambitious decarbonisation targets in the world, and we have set more stretching targets for 2030 than most countries. We plan to cut emissions by 68% by 2030, which is more than the EU, Japan or the United States.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department has spent on communications in each year since 1997.

The Scotland Office is resourced to deliver the communications functions expected and required of a government department in its own right and on behalf of the UK Government in Scotland with a wide range of functions. These include external affairs, marketing, digital and social media, media, internal and strategic communication.

The figures for 2022-23 reflect changes made to bring the Office into line with wider UKG departmental reporting practice which saw visits and engagement staff included in the communications division.

The Office does not hold directly comparable figures for each year since the Office was established in 1999. The Office’s Annual Reports are available online.

Expenditure on staffing costs, including employer’s pensions and national insurance contributions, but excluding any VAT where applicable, to deliver these functions for the last full financial year and available years was:

Year

Staff costs (£)

2022-23

1,166,270

2021-22

944,645

2020-21

906,177

2019-20

870,159

2018-19

819, 640

2017-18

710,337

2016-17

757,868

2015-16

426,223

2014-15

348,895

2013-14

241,636

2012-13

180,954

2011-12

169,373

2010-11

108, 439

2009-10

144,084

2008-09

115,356

2007-08

113,236

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the financial settlement for Scotland.

Despite what we hear from the SNP, the Scottish Government is well-funded.

As a consequence of the decisions made by this UK Government, the Block Grant is now at record levels, with an additional £2.4 billion across three fiscal events.

Scotland receives around 25% more per person than equivalent UK Government spending in other parts of the United Kingdom.

That translates into around £8.5 billion more per year on average.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the financial settlement for Scotland.

Despite what we hear from the SNP, the Scottish Government is well-funded.

As a consequence of the decisions made by this UK Government, the Block Grant is now at record levels, with an additional £2.4 billion across three fiscal events.

Scotland receives around 25% more per person than equivalent UK Government spending in other parts of the United Kingdom.

That translates into around £8.5 billion more per year on average.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for the seafood sector in Scotland.

This Government is committed to supporting our seafood sector, which as my hon Friend knows first hand, is at the heart of many rural communities in Scotland.

We have recently concluded successful quota negotiations for 2024; delivered a two-year extension to visa exemptions for Salmon well-boat crew; consulted on changes to medical certification for those already working at sea; and are supporting the industry following changes to immigration policy.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on bringing Afghan female medical students to Scotland.

My Department is working with the Home Office, the FCDO, the Scottish Government and Scottish Universities to support the efforts of the Norgrove Foundation.

This is a complex issue and discussions remain ongoing to determine what pathway might be available to the students.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many equalities impact assessments his Department completed in each of the last five years for which data is available.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty (the Duty) all public authorities, including Government departments, are required by law to ensure that they have due regard to certain equality considerations when carrying out their functions. While ‘equality impact assessments’ may be produced, there is no legal requirement for duty assessments to be recorded in a specific format. We do not centrally monitor assessments in this area but are confident that we are meeting the Duty in our decision-making processes.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many employees were in his Department in each year since 1997; what the budget was for his Department in the same period; and how much his Department spent on communications in the same period.

The Scotland Office and Office for the Advocate General publish an annual report and accounts which contains the information requested. The latest version can be found at Scotland Office Annual Report 2022-23. Prior year annual reports of The Scotland Office and Office for the Advocate General are available online or can be obtained from the Library of the House.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department spent on external recruitment consultants in the (a) 2020-21, (b) 2021-22 and (c) 2022-23 financial year.

The Scotland Office has not spent any money on recruitment consultants in the last three years.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much their Department spent on hospitality in (a) 2021, (b) 2022 and (c) 2023.

We do not routinely publish this data, as has been the case under successive administrations. All Business Units within the Scotland Office have a responsibility to keep official hospitality costs as low as possible and demonstrate good value for money.

Details of ministerial and senior official hospitality are published on a quarterly basis, and are available on GOV.UK.



Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
24th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, which spending programmes their Department devolves for administration to (a) local government in England and (b) other local spending bodies; and what the budget is of each such programme for each year for which budgets are agreed.

None. The Scotland Office does not devolve any spending to England.

The government has set itself a mission that, by 2030, every part of England that wants one will have a devolution deal, with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution, with a simplified, long-term funding settlement. At Spring Budget, the government announced the trailblazer devolution deals with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and West Midlands Combined Authorities (WMCA), which included a commitment to introduce single funding settlements at the next Spending Review for these MCAs. At Autumn Statement, the government published a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GMCA and WMCA, setting out how the single settlements will work. The government also announced an ambitious new ‘level 4’ of the devolution framework, including a single transport funding settlement for eligible institutions, and a ‘consolidated’ pot at the next multi-year SR covering two DLUHC investment themes – local growth and place, and housing and regeneration. Following successful delivery of the ‘consolidated’ pot, and learning from the trailblazers, Level 4 institutions will then become eligible to receive a single settlement from the subsequent multi-year Spending Review. Details of major funding programmes, including those administered by local government or other local bodies, are available on gov.uk.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
24th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, with reference to the guidance by the Central Digital and Data Office entitled Guidance on the Legacy IT Risk Assessment Framework, published on 29 September 2023, how many red-rated IT systems are used by their Department.

The Scotland Office uses the information technology system provided and operated by the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for all hardware and software procurement, administration, support maintenance, security, and integrity of the system.

Queries regarding the information technology system should be directed to the Cabinet Office.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
24th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much their Department spent on (a) current and (b) legacy IT infrastructure (i) in total and (ii) purchased in 2013 or earlier in each of the last three years.

The Scotland Office uses the information technology system provided and operated by the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for all hardware and software procurement, administration, support maintenance, security, and integrity of the system.

Queries regarding the information technology system should be directed to the Cabinet Office.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of the Government’s guidance entitled Our Long-Term Plan for Towns on the Scottish economy.

The UK Government will invest £140m over 10 years into seven Scottish towns that have been overlooked.

This will breathe new life into these communities and empower them to take back control of their future by tackling anti-social behaviour, regenerating high streets, and improving local transport.

This will greatly enhance the long-term economic growth of these towns.

John Lamont
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what data their Department holds on the (a) number and (b) cost of replacing (i) laptops, (ii) mobile phones, (iii) memory sticks and (iv) external hard drives that have been (A) lost and (B) stolen in the last 12 months.

The Scotland Office uses the information technology system provided and operated by the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for all hardware and software procurement, administration, support maintenance, security, and integrity of the system.

The Cabinet Office response to this question includes any losses reported by the Scotland Office.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what proportion of civil servants on temporary contracts in his Department are women.

The Scotland Office has no civil servants on temporary contracts.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what proportion of SCS2 civil servants on full-time equivalent contracts in his Department are women.

The Scotland Office has only one SCS2 post which is not currently held by a woman.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support the whisky industry.

I am in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s whisky industry.

Scotland’s whisky industry continues to go from strength to strength at home and abroad, and Scotch whisky is the UK’s premier food and drink export. I want Scottish producers to take full advantage of the new trade deals the UK Government is striking around the world.

In this vein, earlier this month I visited Vietnam, a key growth market for Scotch whisky, where along with representatives from the Scotch Whisky Association, I hosted a whisky reception for key business leaders in Hanoi.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on his Department's provision of support for Scottish Ministers on planned overseas visits to promote the Scottish (a) economy and (b) culture.

I have had frequent recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on his Department's provision of support for Scottish Ministers on planned overseas visits. I fully agree with the FCDO's current guidance which states that, when ministers from the devolved administrations are holding meetings with ministers from overseas governments (or positions of equivalent seniority e.g. EU Commissioner), a senior UK Government official is expected to attend.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) the Scottish Government or (b) representatives instructed to act on behalf of the Scottish Government on the role of the Lord Advocate and potential changes to the Scotland Act.

I have had no discussions with either the Scottish Government or representatives acting on behalf of the Scottish Government in regards to the role of Lord Advocate and potential changes to the Scotland Act.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much their Department spent on equality and diversity training in the 2022-2023 financial year.

The Scotland Office did not spend anything on equality and diversity training in the 2022-2023 financial year.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much the Boundary Commission for Scotland spent on equality and diversity training in the 2022-23 financial year.

The Boundary Commission of Scotland has responsibility for its staff, who are employed by the Scottish Government and assigned to the Commission, within the terms of Scottish Government policies and processes. Training for staff is accessed through the Scottish Government, including on diversity and equality. Boundary Commission for Scotland therefore incurred no expenditure on such training in the 2022-23 financial year.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, on how many occasions (a) he and (b) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland visited a (i) Government Hub and (ii) ministerial office outside London in (A) 2022 and (B) 2023.

The information requested is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on trends in the level of Scottish (a) imports and (b) exports.

His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ regional trade statistics show that in the year ending March 2023, the overall value of UK trade in goods increased by 18% for exports and by 24% for imports, compared with the previous year.


Compared with the year ending March 2022, Scotland’s goods exports to EU countries were worth £22bn (up £4.3bn, or 24%) in March 2023, whilst Scotland’s goods imports from EU countries were worth £12bn (up £3.3bn, or 38%) in March 2023, resulting in a surplus of £10bn.


Since the fourth quarter of 2020, the value of EU exports from Scotland has consistently exceeded the value of non-EU exports.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property. Survey work is underway.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what the average response time to subject access requests was by their Department in the latest period for which data is available; and if they will make an assessment of the adequacy of that response time.

During the past two years, the Scotland Office answered 100% of subject access requests received within the 30-day deadline set by the ICO. The Department continually monitors and looks for ways to improve its performance.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what information their Department holds on the level of staff retention; and what steps they are taking to improve staff retention.

The Scotland Office utilises a number of workforce management metrics including those relating to staff retention/turnover. Many of these can be found in our Annual Report and Accounts.

The Scotland Office has a strong People Offer which aims to attract, train, develop, retain, promote and progress our people to fulfil their potential, meet our objectives and benefit the Civil Service.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps his Department is taking to (a) enhance cybersecurity and (b) protect personal data.

In accordance with the Government Cyber Security Strategy we are working to ensure that our critical functions will be significantly hardened to cyber-attack by 2025, with all government organisations across the whole public sector being resilient to known vulnerabilities and attack methods no later than 2030.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what data their Department holds on the average response time to written parliamentary questions in the last six months; and what assessment they have made of the adequacy of that response time.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of Written Parliamentary Questions.

There are three types of Written Parliamentary Question. The Cabinet Office’s Guide to Parliamentary Work sets out the timelines departments should seek to meet.

This can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1116933/2022-10-11_-_Guide_to_Parliamentary_Work___1_.pdf

Departmental performance on Written Parliamentary Questions is published at the end of each session by the Procedure Committee and is therefore publicly available.

You can find details of the last session's PQ performance here:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5803/cmselect/cmproced/385/report.html

This year's data will be published by the Procedure Committee when the session concludes.

The Scotland Office make every effort to reply to Written Parliamentary Questions within original deadlines by ensuring strict internal deadlines are in place, regular guidance is issued to all staff and monthly corporate reporting.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps their Department is taking to improve response times to written parliamentary questions.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of Written Parliamentary Questions.

There are three types of Written Parliamentary Question. The Cabinet Office’s Guide to Parliamentary Work sets out the timelines departments should seek to meet.

This can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1116933/2022-10-11_-_Guide_to_Parliamentary_Work___1_.pdf

Departmental performance on Written Parliamentary Questions is published at the end of each session by the Procedure Committee and is therefore publicly available.

You can find details of the last session's PQ performance here:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5803/cmselect/cmproced/385/report.html

This year's data will be published by the Procedure Committee when the session concludes.

The Scotland Office make every effort to reply to Written Parliamentary Questions within original deadlines by ensuring strict internal deadlines are in place, regular guidance is issued to all staff and monthly corporate reporting.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what has been the average time taken to respond to public inquiries by his Department in each of the last five years; and whether he plans to introduce measures to improve this.

The Scotland Office has not held policy responsibility for any public inquiries for the past 5 years.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps they are taking to reduce backlogs of Member correspondence in their office.

The Scotland Office does not currently have a backlog of Member correspondence.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the average time taken by his Department to respond to freedom of information requests in the 2022-23 financial year.

During the 2022-23 financial year, the Scotland Office answered 99% of Freedom of Information requests received within the statutory 20 working day deadline.

Further information on FOI performance for all central government departments and other monitored bodies can be found on www.gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics.

The Department continually monitors and looks for ways to improve its FOI performance.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps their Department is taking to improve the response time to FOI requests.

The Department continually monitors and looks for ways to improve its FOI performance.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what data their Department holds on the average response time to enquiries by Members; and what assessment they have made of the adequacy of that response time.

The Scotland Office regularly publishes data on our response times to Members on gov.uk. During quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2023, the Scotland Office responded to 96% of Member enquiries within the 20 working day target. The Department continually monitors and looks for ways to improve its correspondence performance.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps their Department is taking to improve its digital services to provide better (a) accessibility and (b) user experience for the public.

The Office does not provide direct digital services to the public. Teams with responsibility for digital publishing comply with the Government Digital Service’s best practice for publishing on gov.uk, including converting documents to HTML, and ensuring published materials meet web content accessibility guidelines.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had discussions with his counterpart in the Scottish Government on support for (a) businesses and (b) universities for research into psilocybin.

Drug policy and the associated legislation regarding its use and possession is reserved. I have not had any discussions with the Scottish Government regarding research into psilocybin.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he is taking steps to ensure that staff in his Department who are under investigation for alleged misconduct are not named before those allegations are proven.

The Scotland Office does not employ any staff directly; all staff that join do so on an assignment, loan or secondment from other government bodies, principally the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government, who remain the employers and whose HR Policies apply.

Both Ministry of Justice and Scottish Government policies follow the Civil Service HR’s wider model discipline policy, which makes it clear that disciplinary matters are strictly confidential. Confidentiality applies to everyone involved in the matter and is equally important after the matter has concluded.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the status of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, wrote to me on 29 June, setting out the Scottish Government's proposed course of action to bring their United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill in line with the 2021 Supreme Court judgment. It has always been the responsibility of the Scottish Government to determine how they will comply with the requirements of the Supreme Court judgment.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, with reference to the civil service headquarters occupancy data, updated on 6 July 2023, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of occupancy rates on his Department's performance during June 2023.

The work of the Scotland Office is conducted in a number of different locations, be that at our London office; the UKG hub in Edinburgh; or engaging with stakeholders and communities across Scotland. Occupancy data for our London office is not an indicator of departmental performance. You can find out more about the work of the department and our delivery against our Priority Outcomes in our Annual Report.

The Scotland Office is committed to fully utilising the benefits of flexible working while ensuring that we use our buildings effectively and maximise the advantages of in-person collaboration. It should be noted that hybrid working arrangements are not new and the Scotland Office, like most departments, works on a basis of a ratio of desks to staff.

Occupancy data for our London office is published weekly on Gov.UK. The published data is for Departmental HQ buildings only and inferences about the wider workforce should not be made. The data does not capture employees working in other locations.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
20th Jun 2023
To ask the secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on promoting Scottish trade and culture overseas.

The UK Government is committed to the promotion of Scottish trade and culture overseas, and our network of 280 diplomatic missions serves the whole of the UK with opportunities.

I recently appeared before the Scottish Affairs Committee, along with Ministerial colleagues, to outline the UK’s work in this space in detail. This includes the work of the new Trade Minister in DBT, Lord Offord of Garvel, who will continue to promote Scotland and Scottish business and cultural interests overseas.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland