On Board - A guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland (April 2015)

This Guide provides much of the basic information that a Board Member will need to understand their role as a member of the Board of a public body in Scotland.

Best Value, Efficient Government and Relocation

Best Value

Best Value provides a common framework for continuous improvement in public services in Scotland, and is a key foundation of the Scottish Government's public service reform agenda.

The principles of Best Value complement good governance standards and offer a sound approach to running a public service organisation.

The duty of Best Value, as set out in the SPFM, is to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in performance whilst maintaining an appropriate balance between quality and cost and in making those arrangements and securing that balance, to have regard to economy, efficiency, effectiveness, the equal opportunities requirements and to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. Best Value ultimately is about creating an effective organisational context from which public bodies can deliver their key outcomes.

Accountable Officers appointed by the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Administration have a specific responsibility to ensure that arrangements have been made to secure Best Value. The Scottish Ministers expect all Accountable Officers to comply with the duty of Best Value and for any associated matters relating to Value for Money, judged for the public sector as a whole placed upon them. In addition the Boards (or equivalents) of relevant public service organisations have corporate responsibility for promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources by the organisations in accordance with the principles of Best Value. Under the terms of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 the implementation of the duty of Best Value by relevant public service organisations is subject to scrutiny by the Auditor General for Scotland.

As a Board member, you should always bear in mind the need for your public body to continually secure Best Value in the performance of its functions. In a tight financial climate, service improvements may need to be funded from internal efficiencies.

Audit Scotland has adopted a generic framework for Best Value for all public bodies. This enables a consistent approach to auditing against Best Value principles across the public sector. Sustainable development and equalities are themes that run through the framework. It is a risk-based approach, recognising the increasing focus on partnership working, with the specific aim of:

  • Reporting on overall governance and management arrangements
  • Reporting on the delivery of outcomes
  • Protecting taxpayers' interests by examining the use of resources
  • Increasing the emphasis on self-assessment by public bodies with audit support and validation.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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