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Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010: Section 112(1): Guidance on Duty of User Focus for Listed Scrutiny Authorities

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ANNEX A PRINCIPLES OF SCRUTINY

The duty of user focus is in line with the five core principles of scrutiny:

Public focus

The needs and priorities of service users and the public must be the prime consideration in all external scrutiny. The public is the ultimate beneficiary of external scrutiny. As such, it is crucial that it is closely involved in both decisions about the use of scrutiny and any scrutiny activity.

Independence

External scrutiny must be independent and must not be constrained by any party in reaching its conclusions and publishing its findings. It must be free to make judgements about service delivery and report its findings into the public domain, and it must be able to decide how it discharges its responsibilities, once its focus has been agreed.

Proportionality

The use of external scrutiny within the wider public accountability system must be proportionate to the particular issue, policy context or environment. Proportionality must apply at two levels. Firstly, in deciding whether it is appropriate to use scrutiny, and secondly in deciding its nature, scope and duration.

Transparency

External scrutiny must be transparent in all its activities, its focus, decision making criteria, business processes, assessments and reporting. There should be a transparent decision framework for regulatory intervention. It is essential that the processes and mechanisms which support the use of external scrutiny are transparent, so that all parties understand the particular purpose for which it is being used at any given time. For external scrutiny to be credible, its reports must be clear, independent and consistent.

Accountability

External scrutiny must be accountable for its use of resources. It must demonstrate and report on the impact of its activities on services scrutinised, on the direct and indirect cost implications and it must demonstrate value for money. Its assessments and findings must be fair and capable of being defended.

Source - Independent Review of Regulation, Audit, Inspection and Complaints handling of Public Services in Scotland