Scottish Government Blogs

March 4, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Scotland involved with the new Peterhead Harbour Experience

Peterhead harbour Experience

Peterhead Harbour Experience

Marine Scotland Compliance officers have been involved in a new project that has opened in Peterhead.

The new Harbour Experience, being run by Peterhead Harbours, offers a number of different activities for schools and colleges.

Activities include:

  • Tour of the fish market
  • Tour of the control tower
  • Visit to the lifeboat station & boat
  • Visit to a net store
  • Visit to fish processing plant – Sustainable Seafoods
  • Visit to the fishing heritage exhibition
  • Tour of a modern trawler when available

The Harbour Experience launched on the 2 March and you can find out more by contacting Peterhead fish market.

March 3, 2015
by blog administrator
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Fiona Hyslop: Strengthening links with Europe

The Scottish Government places enormous value on our membership of the European Union and on fostering strong economic, social and cultural links with other nations.

Over the last week, Ministers were involved in several events that demonstrate our commitment to these relationships and how we’re actively working with other Governments on initiatives that support the future prosperity and success of our respective nations.

Fiona Hyslop addressing the BICC in Dublin

On Monday I attended a dinner hosted by the Irish Consul General to mark the visit of the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White to Scotland. Minister White led an Irish trade delegation to the Low Carbon Scotland conference and also met with Minister McLeod to discuss potential co-operation between Scotland and Ireland. Then on Friday I joined Irish and UK Government Ministers at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC) Conference in Dublin, delivering a speech on the importance of the EU to Scotland, the UK and Ireland. The Irish Government agrees with us on this and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, made clear that their ‘best friend’ – the UK - should not leave the EU.

During the course of my visit, I was delighted to announce that one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings, Edinburgh Castle, will turn green to mark St Patrick’s day this year – a fitting symbol of the importance we place on our commitment to a stronger relationship with our Celtic neighbours.

Edinburgh Castle to go green for St Patrick's Day

During the week, the First Minister and I met the French Ambassador to the UK, HE Sylvie Bermann, where we discussed our ongoing cooperation on education, culture and marine energy, and opportunities for greater links between our two countries. I also had a constructive meeting with French MP Christophe Premat, who represents French citizens living in Scotland.

On Thursday the Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing, and I addressed business leaders at a conference in Edinburgh which showcased economic opportunities in Poland for Scottish firms. Exports from Scotland to Poland are worth £265m to Scotland’s economy and the event focused on further strengthening trade and investment links between our countries.

Fiona Hyslop with Ambassador Robin Barnett and Ambassador Witold Sobków at the business conference.

As well as trade links, Scotland and Poland also have a significant shared history – this was highlighted during a Parliamentary reception on Thursday evening, which commemorated the Polish war hero General Stanisław Maczek, whose Polish 1st Armoured Division defended the east coast of Scotland from 1942-1944 and then took part in the invasion of Normandy. Europe Minister Humza Yousaf addressed the reception, which remembered the remarkable achievements of General Maczek, who following the war made Scotland his home.

On Friday another major event was taking place in Glasgow to promote the Milan Expo 2015. Running from May to October, the Expo will centre around two main themes ‘feeding the planet’ and ‘energy for life’ and is designed to spark a global conversation towards finding a balance between the availability and the consumption of resources. Our Europe Minister opened a conference during the day on Fair Trade and Energy attended by senior pupils from a number of schools and in the evening the First Minister hosted a reception with Italy’s Ambassador to the UK attended by some 400  guests.

Humza Yousaf with school pupils at the Milan Expo event

Scotland has some great examples of sustainability and renewable energy and the event provided an opportunity to demonstrate how everyone can get involved from May.

Through major events and gatherings such as the Expo, there’s an opportunity for us in Scotland to strengthen our cultural and economic links, not just with Italy but with other countries exhibiting at the event, and that is why the First Minister announced that there will be an event each month promoting Scotland during the Expo.

It’s important we maximise all opportunities to showcase Scottish culture, innovation and sectoral strengths internationally and it’s that vital that our efforts to  strengthen relationships with other nations are not put at risk or diminished by negative attitudes to Europe and a potential in-out referendum on Europe.

March 3, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Oceans and people: The VECTORS Project

What are ecosystem services and how can our understanding of them help to improve the health of our oceans? 

The VECTORS project,  an EU-funded marine research project,  has developed integrated, research-based knowledge of marine ecosystem services, the value of them to society and the willingness of people to accept changes to them.  It has also investigated the increasing and diversifying human use of the European marine environment and how this is leading to new and challenging changes for marine life and society.  The project examined how these changes may affect the range of goods and services provided by the oceans, the ensuing socio-economic impacts and some of the measures that could be developed to reduce or adapt to these changes.

They have also produced a new short film to help explain their approach and why it is valuable to the management and governance of European seas.

Useful links


March 2, 2015
by Leah Lockhart
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What we do

The Digital Engagement Team at Scottish Government is giving hands on support and guidance to policy professionals to learn to use digital tools to be more transparent, more collaborative and more creative. We are encouraging greater citizen engagement, helping colleagues reach and engage more people  through the web and social media.

We are small but perfectly formed with just four members: Christian Storstein, Chris Connolly, Eachann Gilles and Leah Lockhart. We have only been together a few months, and one of the first things we did was put together our offer to Scottish Government colleagues and the result is a kind of internal consultancy service. We are using our Yammer network and word of mouth to let people know we’re open for business.  Whatever people need to get their digital engagement work started – from sandbox sessions, strategic advice or creating an online consultation- we are here to make the learning and planning painless and meaningful.

We are part of a larger Digital Communications Programme that includes redeveloping our intranet, corporate website ( and getting to the bottom of some of the cultural and technological barriers to becoming a more open and accessible government.

We have our work cut out for us, but we’re ready. Opening up dialogue, working in more transparent ways and learning how to use digital tools all mean new ways of working, and this will take time. We are going to be running a series of workshops and learning sessions for a fortnight in March that we hope will surface people who are keen to start working on their digital engagement plans or who are at least ready to improve their skills and capabilities. We’ll be publishing what we get up to here regularly so do subscribe and keep up with us on Twitter.

February 27, 2015
by SG Admin
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Local, in-season food makes everyone happy.

Debbie Smith – Senior Marketing Manager – Greener @BryceDebbie


Food. It’s my favourite subject. In fact, the Greener desk at SG Marketing would talk about food all day if pesky work didn’t get in the way.

So imagine my delight to be charged with delivering our latest Greener Food campaign – promoting the merits of buying locally sourced seasonal grub. A legitimate reason to talk food all day long!

Since November last year I’ve been obsessed with seasonal ingredients and the quest to source easy cook recipes. And finally, this week, our Happier Mealtimes campaign launched.

So be it a delicious Scotch beef wrap or a spiced root vegetable tagine, eating local and in-season ingredients makes for happier mealtimes that are fresher, tastier and more nutritious.  And what’s more, choosing to eat this way helps support the economy too by supporting our local producers, suppliers and farmers. Continue Reading →

February 26, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Analytical Unit monthly update – 25 February 2015

This week’s update from the Marine Analytical Unit has been published, featuring an article reporting on what plans for new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) need to consider social impacts alongside economic and environmental impacts.

Related Links

February 26, 2015
by blog administrator
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Carlo Perrotta: Scotland gets a taste of Italy at Expo presentation event

Scotland and Italy will unite later this month to host a special gala dinner to showcase the upcoming World Expo which takes place in Milan in May of this year.

Expo Milano 2015 will centre around two main themes ‘feeding the planet’ and ‘energy for life’ and is designed to spark a global conversation towards finding a balance between the availability and the consumption of resources.

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) predicts that without any special effort there will be just short of 300million people in 15 countries by 2050 still suffering from starvation, highlighting the need for a united approach.

Expo 2015 will encourage the exchange of ideas and shared solutions from participating countries on how to collectively reach a sustainable future and Scotland is getting involved early in the conversation at a special event hosted by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

As one of the first countries in the world to be awarded Fair Trade status, we all know Scotland is passionate about sustainable development and we are therefore delighted that they agreed to host this special event with the Italian Ambassador to the UK to help raise awareness of the Expo later this year.

The event will be held at the Glasgow Science Centre on the 27th of February and will include a concert featuring music from The Antonio Forcione Quintet. Food is a key theme of Expo Milano 2015 and the gala dinner will celebrate food and taste, illustrating the enjoyment and benefits that good food can bring.

Scotland has some great examples of sustainability and renewable energy and it is a great opportunity to showcase how everyone can get involved.

Carlo Perrotta is the Italian Consul General for Scotland and Northern Ireland

February 25, 2015
by SG Admin
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Social Media Marketing Manager – secondment opportunity

Do you know your promoted tweets from your sponsored posts? Your community management from your content marketing? Your Hoot Suites from your Tweet Decks? Your impressions from your engagements?!

If so, you might be the one for us.

We’re looking for a Marketing Manager – Social Media to join us on secondment.

It’s a content marketing / community manager role and will be very centered on supporting our award-winning campaigns, with an initial focus on Smarter, Safer and Greener campaigns, such as PlayTalkRead and Greener Together.

Social media is an increasingly important channel for us. And so we are looking for someone to create strong digital content, update and monitor our campaigns’ social media sites, bring robust evaluation to our social activity and offer strategic advice on how to get the most out of social media.

The successful individual will have around three to five years’ experience, perhaps in a wider PR or digital role, but we may consider someone with less experience if they can clearly demonstrate that they have the skills needed.

The role is for an initial year and will be based at St Andrews House in Edinburgh.

If you are interested please send your CV to Clare Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, by Sunday, March 15th via

February 20, 2015
by Heather Carson
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Speech to National Advisory Group

As our first post, we thought we’d share the opening comments from the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham to the DYW National Advisory Group’s first meeting on 5 February 2015. It gives a real sense of the priority of this agenda to the Scottish Government and the role of this Group.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna CunninghamThe Government’s Vision and the Fair Work Portfolio

The First Minister set out in Programme for Government our three themes of fairness, participation and prosperity. My portfolio sits at the heart of that, ensuring we prepare our young people for fulfilling careers; and work with the public, private and third sectors to secure good quality, fair work for those young people.


It’s a pleasure to have Sir Ian Wood here: he’ll say more about background to the Commission’s report, Education Working For All! Since the publication of Sir Ian’s report, we’ve made excellent progress. I was delighted to take up my Portfolio in November, and want to drive forward implementation, on the basis of the detailed plans we put to the Parliament and published in mid-December. I shall also be driving implementation of the Working Together Review, on workplace policies. So implementation is with me. I am ably supported by the Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment.


‘One in five young people in Scotland wake up in the morning wondering if their country needs them’ – part of Sir Ian’s foreword to his Commission’s report. The Commission said tackling youth unemployment for the long-term means stemming the flow of young people into unemployment by better preparing them for work. The Commission also offered a wide reaching, but practical blueprint for how to achieve that ambition. I’d like to thank Sir Ian again for his commitment. Since publication last June, we’ve seen a very positive reaction from stakeholders, in the Parliament, and full support from our partners in local government. Councillor Chapman and I jointly chair this group.

Our Strategy

In December, after much planning and close working with partners and stakeholders, we published Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy. It is underpinned by £12m from Government in this year and £16.6m in 2015-16. It’s important to say we’re not engaged on a range of short term interventions for Scotland’s young people. This is about systemic change; about widening core provision to ensure a rich blend of opportunities for all young people to get the skills they need to for a good job. Our targets are ambitious; but we’ve set a realistic timescale that demonstrates our commitment. Our support for those that need extra help remains secure; indeed, Developing the Young Workforce is about that and more – it’s about securing the maximum amount of opportunities for all our young people. The days of thinking about a “boy’s job” or a “girl’s job” should be well behind us; the impression that some MA frameworks or college courses aren’t for any particular group of young people must be tackled by all of us.

The Role of the National Advisory Group

We will benefit from your expertise and experience; your enthusiasm for our young people, for those who prepare them for the world that awaits; and for the requirements of the employers that need their skills. I see your role as helping to maintain the public interest and political will around what is a seven year programme; coming together around twice a year to consider progress; addressing strategic challenges; and aligning with the wider political and stakeholder debate.

A National Campaign

I’m clear that we need a hearts and minds campaign to drive home the message that there are many routes into a fulfilling, sustainable job and career path. We can’t achieve this alone and you are our gateway to some of our key audiences and partners. So we value your ideas about what you can contribute later this morning. I’ve talked about our implementation plans – you’ll see we have ambitious targets to meet by 2021. We need your expertise and guidance on how we challenge and change the cultural norms we face. Doubtless you’ll be reflecting on what you can bring to this group and we’ll endeavour to set out the context this morning to help you respond. I look forward to hearing from you later on in the meeting and in the future.

The National Advisory Group met on 5 February 2015. Membership of the Group is available here:

Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy is here:

February 20, 2015
by Fiona Comrie
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Pilgrim House opening

Today saw Minister for Public Health Maureen Watt open new premises in Pilgrim House, Aberdeen. Staff of the current Food Standards Agency in Scotland will work from Pilgrim House, settling in before responsibilities transfer to FSS on 1 April.

An audience of old and new colleagues, the new FSS Board, stakeholders and the media gathered to watch Ms Watt officially mark the opening of the Pilgrim House premises, with a plaque and cutting of the ribbon.

Minister for Public Health Maureen Watt opens Pilgrim House with Geoff Ogle

Moving to a new office will help to mark a physical separation between the Food Standards Agency in Scotland and FSS. However, we have made sure that the work to protect consumers in Scotland continues seamlessly during and after the transition.

Ms Watt said,

“I do not underestimate the amount of work involved in giving detailed attention to all the processes and procedures to ensure that the transition is a smooth one, and that there is no break or shortfall in consumer protection”

Chair of the new FSS Board, Mr Ross Finnie, said that FSS would not make “change for changes sake”, but that as a separate and independent Scottish food standards body, we would have the opportunity to focus on Scotland’s needs and circumstances. Mr Finnie also noted the previous excellent work of the FSA in Scotland. Chief Executive of FSS, Geoff Ogle, took the opportunity to thank stakeholders for their “commitment and contributions to working with us over the past years, and for taking the time out of your busy days to join us to open our new premises”. Mr Ogle said that this is an  “exciting and challenging time  and that it is vital that we continue to work closely with our stakeholders and partners”.

With six weeks to go, the opening of Pilgrim House marks a huge milestone and has required a lot of work behind the scenes. It’s all feeling very real and staff can’t wait to get their teeth into new ways of working.

The new postal address is:

Pilgrim House

Old Ford Road


AB11 5RL

Email addresses and other contact details will be communicated in the next few weeks.