Transport Scotland Framework Document


Key roles and responsibilities

Scottish Ministers

Scottish Ministers are accountable to the Scottish Parliament. Through the Parliament, they are directly answerable to MSPs about delivery of the Scottish Government's national transport priorities. How this accountability operates in detail is set out in the Financial and other accountabilities section of this document. The Scottish Ministers have overall collective responsibility for transport in Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment is responsible for the portfolio covering transport, supported by the Minister for Housing and Transport, and maintains day to day Ministerial oversight of the activities of Transport Scotland and determines the policy and financial framework within which it works, in particular:

  • Holding the Chief Executive to account for the performance of Transport Scotland.
  • Setting the National Transport Strategy for Scotland, and setting Transport Scotland's objectives and targets within that.
  • Setting Transport Scotland's budget in the light of the Scottish Government's spending plans for transport overall.
  • Approving this Framework Document.
  • Approving the Transport Scotland Corporate Plan.
  • Approving annual business performance targets and measures as part of the Annual Business Plan.
  • Receiving Transport Scotland's Annual Report and audited financial accounts from the Chief Executive, and authorising laying these before the Scottish Parliament.

Director General

The relevant Director General (currently DG Environment, Enterprise and Digital), as the Portfolio Accountable Officer for the portfolio incorporating transport, exercises a leadership role through management oversight of the relationship between Scottish Ministers and the Agency, and ensures that the Agency is part of the portfolio management arrangements. The Director General provides support and constructive challenge to ensure that the Agency is exercising operational accountability properly, and is a high performing and continuously improving organisation.

The Director General's responsibilities include ensuring that:

  • Specific duties as the Portfolio Accountable Officer for the portfolio incorporating transport are met, as set out in the Financial and other accountabilities section.
  • The Agency's objectives and performance contribute to and are part of the portfolio as a whole and are aligned to the Government's purpose and national outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework;
  • Appropriate arrangements are in place for effective, high level performance monitoring and review.
  • There is a clear framework for strategic performance improvement and management of the Agency's work.
  • The Agency is taking steps to improve its operating efficiency, including through participation in collaborative procurement and shared service arrangements, where this offers improved value for money.
  • Support for Ministers in the discharge of their duties towards the Agency and ensuring the relationship between Chief Executive and Ministers is healthy and working effectively.
  • Monitoring of the financial performance, operational effectiveness and risk management arrangements on the basis of information and advice from the Chief Executive and SG Finance
  • The Agency Chief Executive is aware of Scottish Government strategic developments and corporate decisions impacting on its management.
  • Scottish Government corporate services are available to support and facilitate the work of the Agency, and representing the interests of the Agency in the wider Scottish Government.
  • Line Management for the Chief Executive, with responsibility for carrying out his/her annual appraisal, taking account of the organisational performance of Transport Scotland as well as individual performance as Chief Executive within the Scottish Government senior management team (viz the Permanent Secretary, Directors General and Director level staff).
  • An appropriate Framework Document is in place and maintained, and that Ministers are content with the arrangements set out here.

This is consistent with Transport Scotland's position as part of the Scottish Government. The Chief Executive will also, for example, routinely attend the portfolio management meetings of the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for transport.

Transport Scotland Chief Executive

The Chief Executive is a member of the Senior Civil Service and is Transport Scotland's Accountable Officer. The Chief Executive is accountable personally to Scottish Ministers and to the Scottish Parliament for the effective and efficient operation of the Agency and for effective financial management. He or she is responsible for the management of Transport Scotland as a high performing and continuously improving Best Value organisation, and is directly accountable to the relevant Director General (as Portfolio Accountable Officer), the Principal Accountable Officer and to Scottish Ministers on a day to day basis. As part of the DG's relevant portfolio and the Scottish Government Senior Management Team, the Chief Executive will ensure that the Agency works with other parts of Government in support of the achievement strategic objectives and national outcomes. The Chief Executive and Director General share a mutual responsibility for ensuring an effective relationship which allows each to discharge their responsibilities, and the Chief Executive will carry out his/her duties in a way which supports the Portfolio Accountable Officer and will routinely attend the relevant Director General's portfolio management meetings.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities of the Chief Executive are:

  • Delivery of Transport Scotland's functions, as determined by Scottish Ministers.
  • Providing advice directly to and working closely with Scottish Ministers on all matters relating to Transport Scotland's functions and transport policy.
  • Acting as Accountable Officer for the efficient and effective management of Transport Scotland's resources, as appointed by the Principal Accountable Officer.
  • Ensuring Best Value in all aspects of the Agency's operations, including, in particular, that it is contributing to the 'Serving Government Better' business strategy.
  • Ensuring that all relevant financial considerations and Scottish Government guidance, including issues of propriety, regularity or value for money, are taken into account throughout Transport Scotland's business.
  • Providing support to the Director General, including assurance about the financial performance and operational effectiveness of the Agency and risk management arrangements in place at the Agency.
  • Presenting annual audited accounts for Transport Scotland as directed by Scottish Ministers. In signing these accounts, the Chief Executive takes personal responsibility for their proper presentation.
  • Management and development of staff, ensuring they have the tools, expertise and resources required for Transport Scotland and the rest of the Scottish Government to deliver successfully.
  • Setting in place appropriate operational structures, business systems and procedures, including systems for financial management and control, internal audit and risk management arrangements.
  • Ensuring Best Value in both front line delivery and corporate support functions of the Agency, including use of collaborative procurement and shared service arrangements where participation offers value for money for the Agency and the wider public purse;
  • Replying to correspondence from MSPs (or other elected representatives where appropriate) on operational and contractual matters within Transport Scotland's responsibilities; and otherwise supporting Scottish Ministers by preparing Ministerial briefing, responses to Ministerial correspondence and written or oral Questions from MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
  • Responding to Parliamentary Committees on matters within Transport Scotland's responsibilities, whether in day to day support of Scottish Ministers or directly as Accountable Officer.
  • Overseeing the sponsorship of any transport public bodies within its responsibilities ensuring a productive relationship between the body/ies and the Scottish Government and that they perform well against their objectives, undertaking the specific responsibilities as set out in the management statement/financial memorandum for each body.
  • Keeping this Framework Document under review, discussing changes with the Director General as appropriate.

Transport Scotland Management

The Chief Executive is accountable for the performance of the Transport Scotland and is supported in the day-to-day management by his or her senior management team, and by the Audit and Risk Committee (see Financial and other accountabilities section).