Executive agencies are established by ministers as part of Scottish Government to carry out a discrete area of work. They form an integral part of the Scottish Government, but have a specific, well-defined remit. They are staffed by civil servants and headed by a Chief Executive, who is a civil servant, and are directly accountable to the government.
Executive agencies differ from public bodies, which are not considered to be part of the Government, although they are listed in the Scottish Government's directory of national public bodies alongside the public bodies. Executive agencies may be considered similar to the government's core directorates, but are generally more focused on the management and direct delivery of public services as opposed to policy formation (although they may also provide strategic policy input).
Executive agencies were first established following Sir Robin Ibbs' (then head of the Efficiency Unit) "Next Steps" Report in 1988. The intention was that they would take responsibility for, and bring a new, more customer-focused approach to, individual executive (service delivery) functions within government. This would leave their parent departments to concentrate on policy development, although this boundary can be very blurred.
The following bodies are executive agencies:
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