The purpose of this guidance and associated suite of good practice case studies is to act as a reference point for Government and Public Bodies to work together to develop an outcome based approach to delivering on the Government's Purpose - to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable growth. There has been an impressive level of buy-in to the principle of an outcomes based approach from Scottish Public Bodies to date.
Such an approach should clearly demonstrate how the activities of Public Bodies are aligned with the Government's overarching Purpose through the National Performance Framework, Scotland Performs and at the same time provide the freedom for bodies themselves to operate and serve the interests of people, businesses and communities in Scotland.
There is a rich diversity of Public Bodies across Scotland as shown in the Baseline List. Some bodies have a very direct line to the Government's Purpose; some play a supporting, sometimes specialist role; and several bodies undertake a particular function to independently scrutinise the delivery of services to the public. Some Public Bodies operate through commercial contracts. Bodies have differing forms of governance and accountability to Government and Parliament. Finally, Public Bodies are at varying stages of development in respect of an outcomes based approach. This makes a 'one size fits all' set of guidance challenging. Whilst recognising that the type and nature of activity undertaken by bodies will differ, this guidance will act as guidance for all public bodies.
In relation to NDPBs, Government Directorates, through their sponsor teams will continue to be the main conduit for engagement with Public Bodies to develop and implement outcome-based approaches with support from the Public Bodies Policy team. A Public Bodies Strategic Group, comprising senior Directors from Government and representatives of Public Bodies will oversee progress of outcome-based approaches along with other key strands of work relating to all Public Bodies
Why Use An Outcomes-Based Approach?
An outcomes-based approach encourages us all to focus on the difference that we make and not just the inputs or processes over which we have control. Success for the Government and its Public Bodies is about impact and it is right that we should be judged by tangible improvements in the things that matter to the people of Scotland. Government is therefore committed to an outcomes based approach and will work with Public Bodies to:
i. Align activity to connect explicitly to the Government's over-arching purpose of sustainable economic growth through the National Performance Framework Scotland Performs.
ii. Better integrate activities with local government, with other Public Bodies, and in partnership with the third sector and private sector, to deliver the Government's Purpose Targets and National Outcomes. The current development of Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) with community planning partnerships, under the leadership of local authorities, offers a significant opportunity for Public Bodies which are delivering local services to help achieve this locally.
iii. Focus activity and spend on achieving real and lasting benefits for people and as such minimise the time and expense on associated tasks which do not support this purpose.
iv. Create the conditions to release innovation and creativity to deliver better outcomes.
Successfully achieving and sustaining outcomes goes hand in hand with embedding a culture of continuous improvement. This guidance sets out what is expected between now and 1 April 2009 to establish a sound basis for an outcomes-based approach. All Public Bodies should submit a corporate or business plan which demonstrates alignment between corporate objectives and national outcomes to Government prior to the next financial year, 2009-10. Further development and refinement of an outcome based approach will be required building on this experience.
Download the guidance
Download the annexes (8 case studies and 6 templates)
For further information, please contact:
The Public Bodies Policy Team
or email PublicBodiesUnit@Scotland.gsi.gov.uk