WORKING TOGETHER FOR A STRONGER SCOTLAND
16. The Edinburgh Agreement committed the Scottish and UK Governments to work together constructively in the light of the outcome of the referendum in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Government will honour this agreement and has indicated its willingness to work closely and constructively with the UK Government on the next steps in Scotland's constitutional journey.
17. The UK Government has now instituted a process under Lord Smith of Kelvin to produce proposals for further devolution according to a timetable laid out by the UK parties during the campaign, endorsed by the Prime Minister and now adopted by the UK Government. In line with the Edinburgh Agreement, the Scottish Government is engaging constructively with this process.
A Stronger Scottish Parliament
18. On 10 October, the Scottish Government published proposals for substantial, additional powers for the Scottish Parliament in the document More Powers for the Scottish Parliament. The proposals, which focus on equipping the Scottish Parliament to create more jobs, reduce inequality and protect public services, were also sent to the Commission led by Lord Smith.
19. The Scottish Government's approach towards new powers is one aimed at delivering progress through self-government. We propose maximum self-government within the Union, underpinned by the following clear principles. Further devolution must:
- Respect the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and enhance financial and democratic accountability to them. As part of this, the Scottish Parliament should have the power to devolve power further, to local authorities and communities.
- Transform the ability of the Scottish Parliament and Government to meet the challenges we face as a country, in particular to enable Scotland to be a more prosperous country, a fairer and more equal society and have a stronger voice in the EU and internationally on matters within devolved competence.
- Be equitable and transparent in its approach to resources, risks and rewards including arrangements for Scotland to have access to taxes raised in Scotland and transitional or residual transfers of resources to be based on the current Barnett formula.
20. The outcome of the next steps in developing proposals must be meaningful measures for further devolution that command widespread support amongst the people of Scotland and from the Scottish Parliament. Only a radical and substantial package will address the issues raised during the referendum campaign.
Bringing Government Closer to the People
21. Scotland's greatest asset is our people, and the people who live in Scotland are best placed to make decisions about our future. But Scotland can only truly harness the collective knowledge and experience of its people if our democratic mechanisms are modern, inclusive and fit for purpose.
22. In the summer of 2014 we launched a consultation exercise aimed at seeking views on how we can improve the quality of democracy in Scotland by encouraging wider engagement and participation in elections. The incredible participation levels in the referendum served to emphasise that there is a huge appetite in Scotland to participate in the democratic process. We will develop ways of working to ensure that our government is run on a collaborative basis and use the lessons from the referendum to continue the process of making voting more meaningful for our people and our communities.
23. We are committed to being a more open, accessible Government, engaging directly with people on the issues that matter to them. This approach will underpin the whole range of our policies, and will be reflected in how we carry out the business of Government itself. We have already held very successful Summer Cabinet meetings throughout Scotland, and these will be expanded so that at least one meeting of the Scottish Government's Cabinet will take place outside Edinburgh every two months. These, and similar initiatives, will seek to bring Government closer to the people of Scotland.
A DISTINCTIVE APPROACH TO GOVERNMENT
24. A priority for the Scottish Government is to deliver an approach to public services that values communities and the efforts of individuals; works in partnership with the third sector and civic Scotland in all its diverse forms across the country; acts early to make best use of resources; and values the contribution made by public services and public servants.
25. To deliver this, we have already developed a distinctive approach which is widely recognised as being innovative and which we will continue to evolve. We focus on the outcomes people want to see, work with our partners, and value the diversity of Scotland, delivering for people and communities across the country, and not solely focusing on the more densely populated 'central belt'.
26. The power of public services to enhance quality of life and to improve economic opportunities has never been more important. The Scottish Government remains focused on delivering a cross-sector programme of public service reform. Informed by the findings of the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services, a consistent and clear strategic direction for protecting and improving Scotland's public services is now well established. This is built around the four pillars of reform: partnership; prevention; people; and performance.
27. Public, third sector and private organisations must work more effectively in partnership with communities and with each other to design and deliver excellent public services which meet the needs of local people. Through Community Planning Partnerships and the Single Outcome Agreements the Government is seeking to support public and third sector partners to come together and share budgets to achieve outcomes.
28. Future demand on services can be reduced by preventing problems arising or dealing with them early on. The Scottish Government has invested more than £500 million over the Spending Review period in three Change Funds in relation to early years, reducing reoffending and health and social care provision to catalyse the shift towards prevention across mainstream services. We will press ahead with this work.
29. A focus on performance is demonstrated through continuous improvement of national outcomes, applying reliable improvement methods to ensure that services are consistently well designed and are delivered by the right people to the right people at the right time. All partners are aligned in the pursuit of improving outcomes as set out and monitored in Scotland Performs.
The Scottish Government's National Performance Framework provides a clear, unified vision of the kind of Scotland we want to see and how our actions improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland. It is a single framework to which all public services in Scotland are aligned and provides a clear direction to move to outcomes-based policy making. It provides the platform for wider engagement with the Scottish Government's delivery partners including local government, other public bodies, third sector and private sector organisations.
By aligning the whole public sector around a common set of goals, we can deliver lasting change through collaboration and partnership working. Different organisations are now working towards shared goals defined in terms of benefits to citizens, rather than simply efficient service delivery. An example of this is the Strategy for Justice in Scotland, which is an outcomes-focused plan, developed and committed to collectively by the Scottish Government, the Courts, the Prosecution Service, the Prison Service and other agencies. It involved the joint identification of the key priorities for action, based upon sound evidence, and sets out a coordinated response, which requires working across boundaries, to deliver a wide range of financial and societal benefits.
The purpose of the Scotland Performs website is to provide a continually updated, impartial and transparent stocktake of how Scotland is performing as a nation and as a society against the wide range of indicators set out in the National Performance Framework:
Scotland's outcomes-based approach to government and National Wellbeing has been internationally recognised as world leading. In its 2013 report 'Shifting the Dial in Scotland', the Carnegie UK Trust noted:
"We did not expect to find international innovation on our doorstep. But our work has repeatedly found that the Scottish National Performance Framework is an international leader in wellbeing measurement, a sentiment repeated by Professor Stiglitz in his address to the OECD World Forum in India, in 2012."
30. Scotland can take advantage of its scale in order to bring together partners from diverse areas in order to develop policy and drive improvements. For example, the Scottish Leaders' Forum is a network focused on nurturing these forms of collaboration and brings together leaders from a wide range of organisations contributing to public services in Scotland.
31. Digital technology is a powerful enabler for improving public services and reducing their cost. Technology is transforming many aspects of our lives and we need to ensure that we transform our digital public services to take advantage of the digital age. Designing and delivering good-quality online services which meet user needs is a priority. The opportunities go well beyond transactional services, providing new ways of tackling more complex service needs, such as self-management of long-term health conditions. Better use of data, in all forms and using new tools and techniques, can also deliver major improvements in the quality of public services. The Scottish Government will take forward these priorities, with public service partners, as we implement Scotland's Digital Public Services Strategy.
Scotland's Place in the World
32. In 2014 there has been more international attention than ever on Scotland. We will build on this profile, and Scotland's already positive reputation, to promote our country's interests overseas. We will also continue to build on the constructive role Scotland can, and does, play in international affairs. At the same time, we will continue to export goods, people and ideas around the world and welcome ideas and people into our national culture. At the heart of this approach is our belief that a global outlook, for Scotland's government as well as its people, is more vital than ever for our health, prosperity and safety.
33. We will work with and beyond the United Kingdom to help attract business, investment and tourism, and to further Scotland's wider interests. Our role in the European Union is particularly important in this respect. A strong Scottish voice will enable us to have a real influence over issues that have a significant impact on the people of Scotland, including youth employment, economic growth and public health. We have set out our proposals for reform of the EU within the context of the current EU Treaty framework that would ensure that the European institutions focus on taking action in areas that can provide clear and tangible benefits for all citizens of the Union. We will develop a clear action plan for EU engagement focused on securing a strong and positive Scottish influence on key elements of EU policy which affect prosperity, fairness and sustainability in Scotland and developing strong partnerships with like-minded European partners to secure tangible benefit for Scotland.
34. The Scottish Government has set out its determination to tackle inequalities in our own country. But poverty continues to be a global problem, one which we are determined that Scotland should play its part in addressing. We will continue to contribute to a fairer, more equal world through the key strands of our international development programme, and look for ways to ensure that the programme maintains and intensifies its impact in years to come.
Driving Improvement, Working in Partnership
35. At the heart of the Scottish approach to government is working with the people of Scotland to deliver the best possible outcomes. There is an increasing focus on approaches which build on and extend the resilience and capabilities of individuals, families and communities (known as an 'asset based approach') and in enabling people to shape and assist with the production and delivery of the services they use (known as 'co-production'), drawing on their knowledge and skills to develop solutions tailored to the people and communities that need them.
36. This is supported by an 'improvement approach', which provides guiding principles to help achieve improvement on the scale needed. This recognises that across public services and communities there is no lack of ideas or will to make things better, and therefore outlines key principles to turn this into practical action and make change happen at a local level, at the scale and the pace needed.
37. The distinctiveness of the Scottish approach was recognised in a Carnegie Study which found that "Scotland was the only jurisdiction where we were able to clearly observe a strategic approach and trace it to a series of cross-cutting policies". It is an approach which has also delivered measurable improvements across Scotland. For example, the National Performance Framework identifies early years as a national outcome of "Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed". The objective of the Early Years Collaborative is to move this ambition into practical action. This is a coalition of Community Planning Partners, including social services, health, education, police and third sector professionals which aim to deliver tangible improvement in outcomes and reduce inequalities for Scotland's vulnerable children.
38. The Scottish Government believes that neither government nor citizens have all the ideas or resources needed to solve complex social problems on their own, and that only by working together can we develop solutions that will meet social needs and ensure these issues will be properly addressed.
39. This approach will redress the balance of power and resources between professionals, such as the Scottish Government and delivery partners, and individuals and communities, as service users become more closely involved in the delivery of their own services. It often generates new and innovative ways of designing and delivering services, and is concerned with making better use of individual and community assets to improve outcomes for people.
40. It is also essential that the improvement of services in Scotland benefits from an evidence-based and consistent methodology. This has been pioneered by the NHS in Scotland in its Patient Safety programme, are being brought to scale in the Early Years Collaborative, and are increasingly part of development programmes for staff at all levels in a variety of organisations.
41. Satisfaction levels with public services in localities have risen, and in health and across a wide range of services there are measurable improvements in both outcomes and the closure of equality gaps. These encouraging data stand alongside wider social outcomes such as the significant reductions in crime, in youth unemployment and in the misuse of drugs and alcohol. As part of the National Performance Framework, these data are published and updated on Scotland Performs.
42. This approach is beginning to deliver proven benefits, and is still evolving, gaining international acclaim in the process. It underlies the approach to how we will deliver on our commitments for the coming year, helping us to work together to deliver for all of Scotland.