Scotland Office

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Scotland Office
An Oifis Albannach
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Government in Scotland).svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom used by HM Government in Scotland
Scotland Office Departmental Logo.svg
Department overview
Formed 2003
Preceding Department Scottish Office
Jurisdiction Scotland
Headquarters 1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW & Dover House, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AU
Annual budget £8 million for 2011–12[1]
Minister responsible Alistair Carmichael, Secretary of State for Scotland
Website [1]
Flag of Scotland.svg
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The Scotland Office (An Oifis Albannach in Scottish Gaelic) is a United Kingdom government department headed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and responsible for Scottish affairs. It is a distinct entity within the Ministry of Justice.[2]


The office is responsible for the representation of Scotland in HM Government, facilitating the smooth operation of devolution, liaising between the government and the devolved Government in Edinburgh and the administering of certain reserved matters of government in relation to Scotland.


Until the advent of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, the precursor to the Scotland Office, the Scottish 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 have been limited to those relating to reserved matters that are not dealt with by other departments of the UK 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.


The Scotland Office Ministers are as follows:[3]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP Secretary of State Constitutional affairs, general economic policy, defence
The Rt Hon David Mundell MP Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State Electoral law, general social policy, energy
Key Conservative
Liberal Democrat

The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC (Lib Dem) is the Advocate General for Scotland, advising the United Kingdom Government on Scots law.[4] He also speaks for the Scotland Office in the House of Lords.[5] Lord Wallace was previously Deputy First Minister of Scotland (1999–2005).

Under the Blair Ministry and Brown Ministry, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland was often held along with another Secretaryship 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.


Dover House, the headquarters of the Scotland Office in Whitehall.

The department is based at Dover House, in Whitehall, and employs 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, as a Law Officer, shares the same offices in London and Edinburgh.


  • The Scottish Secretaries, David Torrance. (Birlinn 2006)

External links[edit]