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Best Value in Public Services

Best Value in Public Services


Since 2002, a non-statutory duty of Best Value has been placed upon those public service organisations in the Scottish Administration with Accountable Officers (Scottish Government departments, Scottish Government Agencies and NDPB's, see the relevant sections of The Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 which set out the functions of Accountable Officers).

The duty of Best Value is incorporated in the Memorandum to Accountable Officers from the Principal Accountable Officer of the Scottish Administration (the Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government).


Updated Guidance to Accountable Officers was published in March 2011.

This guidance explains the duty of Best Value and the characteristics of a Best Value organisation. It has been prepared to assist Accountable Officers of Public Bodies covered by the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) The Guidance replaces previous Guidance published in 2006. Guidance is separately available for Local Authorities on their statutory duty of Best Value.

Audit Scotland has also developed 18 Best Value toolkits to help auditors form judgements when carrying out Best Value reviews or audits of public bodies. The toolkits may also be useful to staff in Public Bodies as they think through their approaches to self-evaluation and continuous improvement.

The toolkits take the form of structured key questions, with a matrix of possible levels of performance, ranging from basic to advanced practice.

The toolkits are not prescriptive as they recognise there are many ways in which different organisations achieve Best Value. Each toolkit is designed to be used either in its entirety or selectively.

Further information can be obtained from the Audit Scotland website at: