New Chair appointed to lead Board of SPA


Susan Deacon appointed Chair of SPA.

The Scottish Government has announced today (Thursday 16 November) that Susan Deacon has been appointed as chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board.

Ms Deacon will take up post on 4 December, replacing Andrew Flanagan who announced his intention to step down in June of this year.

Welcoming her appointment, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said:

“I am delighted to appoint Susan Deacon to the important and high profile role of Chair of the SPA. As a former parliamentarian and minister with considerable experience in high profile board posts, she will bring a fresh perspective to the governance of Scottish policing.

“While this is a challenging role, I fully expect her to bring strong leadership and relationship building skills and fully engage with the wide range of parties with an interest in policing.

“Her role will now be to work closely with the SPA board and Police Scotland’s senior leadership team to ensure the police service continues to deliver the benefits of reform.

“I am very grateful to her predecessor, Andrew Flanagan, for his dedication and progress in driving forward the reform programme over the last two years.”

Susan Deacon said:

“It is a privilege to be appointed as Chair of the Scottish Police Authority. The issues facing the SPA have been well documented and there is much to be learned from what has gone before, but my focus now is on the future.

“Policing is one of our nation’s most important public services, and I look forward to working with colleagues in the SPA and in Police Scotland in addressing the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“The SPA has a critical role in overseeing Police Scotland and ensuring that our police service develops and adapts to meet the needs of a changing world. Building trust, confidence and relationships is key and that will be a focus of my efforts from the outset.”

Ms Deacon's biography:

Professor Susan Deacon CBE brings to this role a range of leadership experience gained in the public, private, and third sectors, academia and national politics. She has a lifelong commitment to public service improvement, bringing together people from local communities, service providers, policy makers and other stakeholders to foster collaborative action. Her early career was in local government, followed by senior roles in management training and development in the private sector and higher education. She served as an MSP from 1999 to 2007 and was Scotland’s first Cabinet Minister for Health and Community Care following devolution. Over the past decade, Susan has held a range of Board positions and has contributed to governance and policy reviews in key areas of Scottish public life. She is currently Assistant Principal External Relations at the University of Edinburgh, Chair of the Institute of Directors in Scotland, Chair of the Edinburgh Festivals Forum and a Non-Executive Director of Lothian Buses, and was awarded a CBE for services to business, education and public service in 2017.


This appointment will be for four years and will run from 4th December 2017 to 3rd December 2021.

This appointment is regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.


This appointment is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £530 per day for a time commitment of 12 days per month.

Other ministerial appointments

Professor Deacon does not hold any other ministerial public appointments.

Political activity 

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.  

Professor Deacon has had no political activity in the last five years.