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Ministerial Working Group

AllanIn October 2009, the Scottish Government established a Ministerial Working Group on the Scots Language.The group was chaired by Derrick McClure. A full list of its membership can be viewed at

Tasked with making recommendations on the promotion of the language, the group published its report on St Andrew's Day 2010. Undoubtedly one of the most important documents ever to be produced about the Scots language, the Report discusses several areas and makes recommendations to the Scottish Government about what might be achieved for Scots-speakers. The Working Group was set up in 2009, partly as a result of a conference on Scots held at the University of Stirling in 2008, and partly because of widespread calls for something to be done to improve the health and status of the language. The Working Group, which first met on 24 November 2009, focused particularly on those sectors that are recognised as having the potential to encourage greater use of the language and improve its status: education, broadcasting, publishing, literature and the arts.

The chair of the group, J Derrick McClure, has long been an advocate of the language, while the other members were drawn from across the dialects and sectors associated with the language. McClure commented, "We have produced a full and detailed set of recommendations for enhancing the place of Scots in the national life and have endeavoured to ensure that these are realistic and achievable.” He also added, "I count it as a great privilege to have been asked to chair this Ministerial Group and believe this has been an important task.  All the members of the Group have established reputations for work in and for the Scots language, and I have greatly appreciated their support.”

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, responded to the publication of the Report by saying, "Scots is a key part our heritage and culture.  It is important that we look at ways of improving the status and use of Scots throughout Scotland.  This report offers us practical recommendations on how we can make progress with this aim. The Scottish Government will give serious consideration to this report and respond formally in due course.” The Minister made particular comment regarding the recommendation by the Working Group that there should be a national language policy for Scots, including a network of Scots co-ordinators. Hyslop said "At this stage, I am particularly interested in making progress on establishing the network of co-ordinators which could really drive promotion of the language at a local level. I have seen at first-hand the positive impact Falkirk schools are seeing following an increase in use of Scots in the classroom. The proposed network would allow sharing of experiences and encourage an increase in the use of Scots in the classroom.”

The members of the Working Group met on several occasions between November 2009 and the final meeting held on 27 October 2010. At each meeting they discussed several themes, agreed on the main areas where Scots-speakers needed provision, and also presented several papers. The final report, which is called ‘Report of the Scots Language Working Group’, is available on the Scottish Government website. The Report contains a chairman’s forward, executive recommendations, discussions of the working group, miscellaneous activities of the working group, and some appendixes. The Report also made specific reference to the work of the Scots Language Centre and Scottish Language Dictionaries as the two leading organisations for Scots and commented that, in relation to the internet, the SLC was “already recognised internationally as an excellent resource” and the foundation for further expansion in that area.

The Report of the Scots Language Working Group can be found at
The Government issued its response in February 2011 which can be viewed at