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About the NPF

Introduced in 2007 and refreshed in 2011 and 2016, the National Performance Framework (NPF) sets out in the Purpose and the National Outcomes a vision for Scotland. The NPF is a single framework to which all public services in Scotland are aligned.

Find out more below about the development of the NPF and Scotland Performs.

About the NPF List

2007 First Publication
2011 Refresh
2016 Refresh
How is the NPF structured?
Why is the NPF important?
Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015
Link to Scottish Government strategies
Documents to download

2007 First Publication

The National Performance Framework (NPF) was published as part of the 2007 Spending Review. It is a 10 year vision for Scotland and draws on the success of the outcomes-based performance model used in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States.

The outcomes based approach to government focuses on actual results achieved, rather than inputs and outputs. This allows the government and wider public sector to focus on making sustainable improvements to public services and quality of life for the people of Scotland. It means that the whole of the public sector is aligned and works in partnership to achieve the Government's Purpose and National Outcomes.

Have a look at the original NPF:

2011 Refresh

The National Performance Framework (NPF) was refreshed in 2011 to reflect lessons learned from across the Scottish Government and its partner organisations since 2007 and to reflect priorities as outlined in Manifesto Commitments, the Government Economic Strategy, Programme for Government and Spending Review documents.

The refreshed NPF provides a better measure of progress towards the Purpose and National Outcomes.

The main changes, which came into effect on 14 December 2011, are to the National Indicator set.
There are now 50 National Indicators as opposed to 45:

  • 29 National Indicators have been retained with the same measures
  • 9 National Indicators have been retained with improvements to definitions
  • There are 12 new National Indicators

7 National Indicators have been removed from the original 45. These indicators either relate to targets that have been delivered or have been replaced by more suitable measures of progress towards the National Outcomes. You can find out more here.

There is a new National Outcome related to older people - 'Our people are able to maintain their independence as they get older and are able to access appropriate support when they need it' - reflecting the demographic significance of the ageing population and the Government's commitment to independent living, enablement and health and social care integration.

2016 Refresh

An updated National Performance Framework (NPF) indicator set was published on 11 March 2016.

There are no structural changes to the NPF itself. The Government's Purpose along with the Strategic Objectives and National Outcomes remained unchanged.

Improvements have been made to the Productivity, Solidarity and Sustainability Purpose Targets. You can find the old pages here: Productivity (2007-2016), Solidarity (2007-2016), Sustainability (2007-2016).

The 50 National Indicators remained unchanged, but five new ones were added:

How is the NPF structured?

The National Performance Framework (NPF) provides a vision for Scotland which is described and measured in four parts which support and reinforce each other:

A summary of all Purpose Targets and National Indicators is given in Performance at a Glance.

The assessments of Scotland's progress are reliable and based on the best, most-up-to-date evidence and are accompanied by a note explaining how our analysts have made their assessment, using clear and objective data.

Why is the NPF important?

The National Performance Framework (NPF) provides a clear vision for Scotland with broad measures of national wellbeing covering a range of economic, health, social and environmental indicators and targets.

Outcomes focused working helps public services and other key contributors to work together effectively. Different organisations are aligned around a common set of goals defined in terms of benefits to the people of Scotland, rather than simply efficient service delivery. By making the best use of our collective resources we will tackle our most difficult problems and really make a difference to the quality of life and experience for the people of Scotland.

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

The Act ensures that the current outcomes approach to government will continue in the long term. This means that the focus on achieving goals that improve the wellbeing and quality of life of the people of Scotland will continue. A vision for Scotland will be developed in consultation with the people of Scotland and progress towards this measured so we will know whether we are achieving it.

Specifically, the Act places a duty on the Scottish Ministers to consult on, develop and publish a set of national outcomes for Scotland. The Scottish Ministers must also regularly and publicly report on progress towards these outcomes and review them at least every five years. When setting the national outcomes, the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the reduction of inequalities of outcomes which result from socio-economic disadvantage.

The Act can found be here.

Link to Scottish Government strategies

The National Performance Framework (NPF) provides a strategic direction for policy making in the public sector, and provides a clear direction to move to outcomes-based policy making. This outcomes-based approach is reflected across Government policy and in strategic policy documents.

Scotland’s Economic Strategy reaffirms the Scottish Government’s commitment to creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. It sets out an overarching framework for achieving the two mutually supportive goals of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality in Scotland.

The Programme for Government sets out our programme of policy delivery and legislation, with the Purpose at its heart.

NHSScotland is the first partner organisation that reports performance through Scotland Performs.

Policy areas within Government have aligned their own outcomes-based approach with the NPF. Examples of this include the Justice Outcomes, the Housing and Regeneration Outcomes Framework and the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework.

Scotland is one of the first countries to publically sign up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The NPF will be one of the measures used to monitor Scotland’s progress towards these goals.

Documents to download

The current National Performance Framework (March 2016), and other information are set out in the links below:

National Performance Framework - A4 size printable version (March 2016)

Introduction to the National Performance Framework - booklet (March 2016) 

Introduction to the National Performance Framework - flip book (March 2016)

National Performance Framework - A2 size printable version (March 2016)

Ten guiding principles and methodology for assessing and reporting progress on Scotland Performs

Draft Budget 2016-17: Scotland Performs Update (16 December 2015)