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About Public Bodies

A public body is an organisation which generally receives at least 50 percent of its funding from central government and play an important role in the delivery of public services in Scotland. Their functions range from health and social care to the arts, culture and the built environment.

Public bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes and fall into different classifications depending on their functions and relationship with Scottish Ministers and/or the Scottish Parliament. Some public bodies operate to a greater or lesser extent, at arm’s length from Ministers, and are not part of a Scottish Government Directorate. These specific bodies are generally referred to as Non Departmental Public Bodies and are managed by a Board whose members are appointed by the Minister.

Executive Agencies: constituent parts of Scottish Government with a stronger focus on operational management and direct delivery of public services. Headed by a Chief Executive who together with the agency staff are civil servants.

Executive NDPBs: a national remit, carrying out administrative, commercial, executive or regulatory functions at arm's length from Government. They are normally established by statute, Royal Charter or as companies limited by guarantee. Most NDPBs have Boards appointed by Scottish Ministers which are subject to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

Advisory NDPBs: a national remit carrying out advisory functions providing specialist advice to Ministers and others.

Tribunals: responsible for tasks and advice relating to specialist areas of law, carrying out judicial functions, but are separate from the formal court system.

Public Corporations: industrial or commercial enterprises under direct control of Scottish Ministers.

National Health Service (NHS) Bodies: provide management, technical or advisory services within the NHS.

Non-Ministerial Departments: headed by a statutory officer holder and operate at arm's length from Government.

Information on the contact details, staffing, chief executive name and salary and levels of Scottish Government funding of public bodies is available from the National Public Bodies Directory.

There are also a number of public bodies in Scotland that are associated with the UK government. For more information, click here

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