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Scotland Act 1998

SECTION 93: Agency arrangements.
Purpose and Effect

This section enables a UK Minister and the Scottish Ministers to make arrangements to exercise functions on behalf of each other, on the basis that Ministerial responsibility for the exercise of a function is not affected by such an arrangement. The function concerned must be specified in an Order in Council, subject to procedure in both the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments, and cannot include any function of making, confirming or approving subordinate legislation.


From time to time, it may make sense for Ministers of one administration, often in practice through their officials, to exercise the functions of Ministers of the other.  This section enables that to happen.  For example, it permits a department of the UK Government to administer a scheme of licensing on behalf of the Scottish Ministers.

Parliamentary Consideration
Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) provides that arrangements may be made between the Scottish Ministers and a Minister of the Crown for the agent to exercise certain functions on behalf of the principal.

Subsection (2) provides that such an arrangement does not affect a person’s responsibility for the exercise of his functions.

Subsection (3) provides that the functions concerned are those specified in an Order in Council made under this sub-section, and do not include functions of making, confirming or approving subordinate legislation.  It also provides that “Minister of the Crown” includes government department, and that the section applies to the Lord Advocate as it applies to the Scottish Ministers.

This power has been exercised up to September 2001 in making:

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Agency Arrangements)(Specification) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1512);

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Agency Arrangements)(Specification) (No. 2) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/3320);

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Agency Arrangements)(Specification) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/745);

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Agency Arrangements) (Specification) (No.2) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/3250).

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