Nicola Sturgeon marked her first anniversary as leader of her party and Scotland with two achievements. For a record fourth time she was named politician of the year in this newspaper’s annual awards ceremony.

In addition, she surmounted one of the challenges of good leadership by putting the nation’s concerns before her party’s.

In agreeing to listen to David Cameron’s arguments for air strikes in Syria, the First Minister appeared to signal a reverse in the SNP’s stance over the war against so-called Islamic State (IS). In the wake of Paris, though, not to mention mounting public opinion in favour of RAF intervention, she could do no less.

Ms Sturgeon has also succeeded this year in overseeing her party’s triumph in the General Election, in more or less keeping her growing army of activists under control and managing their expectations of another independence referendum, and of raising her own profile considerably (not least by appearing on Desert Island Discs and in the pages of Vogue).

But that’s enough of the plaudits. While she plays the part of the polished political leader with aplomb, she has been a failure on the domestic front which, under the terms of devolution, is the only front that counts.

So, how can a politician who has presided over debacles in all of her main departments – health, education, justice – be regarded as a successful first minister?

Even on a personal level, Ms Sturgeon has yet to stamp her authority over every outpost of the SNP, with her predecessor blatantly contradicting her on Syria this week. This was a hint of further difficulties in this relationship and a portent of the problems it could cause her in the future.

It should be easier to tackle her ministers in Holyrood and there is no time like now, when her approval rating is still high, to take action. A major reshuffle is called for and several big heads (relatively speaking) should roll.

In particular order, the first should be Angela Constance at Education. Over promoted when she was Michael Russell’s deputy in the department, she has more than proved her naysayers right after twelve months in the job.

She is gaffe-prone (she was heard asking to be edited out of a live broadcast recently) and has been dubbed the Minister for Gobbledegook for her inability to express herself in plain language. Ministerial press releases about improving English standards in the classroom have been easy-to-mock exercises in illiteracy, which is unhelpful for a government’s head of learning.

But far worse than these basic image issues is her lack of vision and lack of grip on her portfolio. This week she was taken to task about the SNP’s ambitious childcare promises when she couldn’t answer simple questions put to her by campaigners.

Fair Funding for our Kids, which queries the SNP’s pledge to double childcare provision while it can’t give children what they are entitled to at present, met Ms Constance on Tuesday.

The meeting reportedly left the group "frustrated and angry" after she was unable to tell them how many new nursery buildings were required, or how many extra training places and modern apprenticeships will be needed to ensure the right number of staff are available to work in the new nurseries.

She has also been under attack for the widening of the attainment gap between rich and poor children since the Nationalists came to power. Although she is but one in a long line of schools ministers to let down Scotland’s most disadvantaged pupils, she shows no inclination to introduce reforms that have transformed English inner city schools. She is an imagination-free zone and must go.

An ever trickier obstacle for Ms Sturgeon is health. This was her own responsibility for five years and she cannot wash her hands of the embarrassments now undermining Scotland’s NHS.

But one of her colleagues there was her good friend Shona Robison and it is she who has been in charge since last November. On her watch, there has been a crisis in GP recruitment that has led to dozens of surgeries being taken over by health boards and primary health care targets being missed.

Accident and emergency targets have also been missed every week for six years, with Glasgow’s flagship £842 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital delivering the worst performance in the country.

Patients have complained of chaos at the "super hospital" and there have been calls for an inquiry after a pensioner died on a trolley and an infection swept through the neonatal unit, claiming the life of a baby.

Now that the SNP has been in power for eight years, Ms Robison’s tendency to pass the buck to previous administrations is testing doctors’ patience, as is laying the blame, as she did earlier this year, on "a lot more sick people turning up" at hospitals.

Another candidate for the exits is the likeable but perhaps too long-serving Richard Lochhead at Rural Affairs. He has held on to his position since 2007 and seems to have run out of steam.

Farmers have been waiting weeks to hear from the Government about their Common Agricultural Policy subsidies and the fishing industry has lost faith in the minister over his "effective abandonment" of them in new conservation measures.

The Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) threaten the future of inshore fisheries off the west coast of Scotland, said Scottish Fishermen’s Federation boss Bertie Armstrong. Fish farmers, too, do not see Mr Lochhead championing their plans to expand their valuable sector, and the scientific community has been dismayed by his "anti-science" approach to GM research.

Ms Sturgeon could replace him with Roseanna Cunningham. Republican firebrand though she is, she made a good impression on land managers and on the salmon industry when she was a junior minister in the department a few years ago.

She would also help address the gender balance if she were to drop, say, Ms Constance and promote Derek Mackay, said to be more talented anyway.

Other openings for fresh blood could be made if the SNP leader retired early two ministers who are leaving next year: Marco Biagi and Margaret Burgess. It is hard to pass judgment on either the Community Empowerment or the Housing and Welfare ministers because they have left so light a footprint on Scottish politics.

The First Minister may think she has enough on her plate already, with the ongoing debate over Syria. But aside from containing the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman at Westminster (one Alex Salmond), this is a reserved matter and best left to the UK Government.

Her focus now, as always, should be on the domestic agenda, over which she has full control. In the run-up to next May’s Scottish elections, every plank of her administration should come under greater scrutiny, not just by the opposition parties but by Ms Sturgeon herself.

What better way to start that process than to remove the weak links, especially in the two big departments, and appoint more able and energetic alternatives? In the interests of good governance, let’s hope she has the gumption.