Process for updating the 2011 edition of the Scottish Ministerial Code
The Scottish Ministerial Code is the responsibility of the First Minister. In practice, Scottish Government officials routinely review and update the text of the Code during the pre-election period, in preparation for the incoming administration. This is consistent with the process for the development and approval of the UK Ministerial Code, which is issued by the incoming Prime Minister at the start of each new Parliamentary term.
Work to produce the 2011 edition of the Scottish Ministerial Code began during the pre-election period in early April 2011, when the Cabinet Secretariat wrote to officials across the Scottish Government to give them the opportunity to provide updates. Responses were received in the course of April. Cabinet Secretariat also revised the text of the Code to take into account a number of changes made in the May 2010 UK Code.
A complete draft of the new Scottish Ministerial Code, which incorporated almost all the changes eventually made, was then circulated among officials on 17 May 2011, the day before the appointment of the First Minister on 18 May. Following approval by the Permanent Secretary, a draft was submitted to the First Minister on 30 June.
By convention, publication of the Scottish Ministerial Code only takes place during the Parliamentary term. The intention had been to publish the new edition soon after the end of summer recess. Publication was, however, delayed to take into account the recommendations contained in the UK Cabinet Secretary’s report to the Prime Minister on breaches of the UK Ministerial Code by the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, which was published on 18 October 2011.
The final text of the 2011 edition of the Scottish Ministerial Code, which incorporated Sir Gus O’Donnell’s recommendations, was approved by the First Minister on 16 November and was published on 13 December by means of an inspired Parliamentary question.
The Scottish Government has made available further information about the changes which were made to the Scottish Ministerial Code between the edition published in June 2008 and the current edition published in December 2011, and about the process that was followed in making those changes at the start of the new Parliamentary term.
The information is supplied in the form of six .PDF files, in which documents are presented in date order: