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Why is this National Indicator important?
Scotland's public services need to be high quality, efficient, continually improving and responsive to the needs of local people. Public services serve all the people within their remit: either a geographic area, Scotland as a whole or a community of need, perhaps spread across many different areas. Public services cannot pick and choose their 'customers'. Some people are direct users of services such as schools or health services; other people have a wider interest in public services and how they affect their lives and areas.
This indicator provides an overview of satisfaction with public services, based on three types of public services which we know are important to the public. These are health services, public transport and schools.
Satisfaction is different from quality. Quality can be assessed in a number of objective ways. Satisfaction reflects the fact that people are the experts on how it feels to use a service. Increasing people's perception of quality in public service allows us to address all the factors that drive forward customer satisfaction. It also shows that we are tackling differences within the wider population.
What will influence this National Indicator?
In general, people tend to be satisfied when their perceptions of the service they have received matches (or exceeds) their original expectations. When the service provided does not match their expectations, they are likely to be dissatisfied. The individual needs and characteristics of a person are crucial therefore in shaping their individual expectations.
While users of a service are generally more satisfied than those who do not have first-hand experience, people's expectations of public services are shaped by a number of factors, many of which are outwith the control of the service provider, such as reading or hearing about the service from other sources.
However, general indicators can show how people perceive a service. These include: accuracy; being treated fairly; sympathetic staff; how long the service takes overall; the way the service kept its promises; the quality of the final outcome; and the way the service handled any problems.
The survey on which this indicator is based therefore differentiates between people who have used the services in the past 12 months and those who have not. So, if a survey respondent said they were satisfied with local health services and public transport, but had no opinion about local schools (perhaps because they were not users of that service) they are counted as being satisfied with the services in their area.
What is the Government's role?
Health services, public transport and schools are very important for our national priorities and the Scottish Government has a direct policy interest in these services.
The Government already provides a framework which enables all public services to be assessed on: how efficient they are; how well they communicate with the public they serve; how well they measure and report on their performance; and how transparent and accountable they are.
By publishing these national figures, the Government is allowing all public service providers, and users, to compare individual service figures with the national trend. This helps users and service providers think about whether they are gathering high quality information about their services, the people who use them and, just as crucially, the people who do not use them.
The indicator will show us nationally that, over a time period, public services are showing they understand people, that they are using performance and other data to drive their work, that the user experience of public services is improving and, crucially, public service providers are providing transparent feedback to users. Tracking public satisfaction is a powerful way of showing how well public services are listening to what people want, that they are improving services accordingly and that they are improving over time.
Rising satisfaction levels will show that people receive the services they really want, rather than what someone else thinks they should have.
The Scottish Government also manage the Scottish Household Survey (SHS), which provides the data ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/16002).
How are we performing?
In 2010, 64.0% of adults were satisfied with local health services, local schools and public transport. This is a slight decrease, of 0.9 percentage points, from 64.9% in 2009. However, there has been an overall increase of 6.9 percentage points from 57.1% since 2007 (the first year these data were collected).
View data on public service perceptions
Source: Scottish Household Survey (SHS)
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
For more information see Scotland Performs Technical Note
Who are our partners?
Regional Transport Partnerships
All bodies providing public services
Related Strategic Objectives
Wealthier and Fairer
Safer and Stronger