The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, section 32(1)(b) provides that as soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year each listed public body must publish a statement of the steps it has taken during that financial year to improve efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the exercise of its functions. Efficiency is not about making cuts, it is about enhancing Value for Money, improving public service and raising productivity and as such efficient Government is focused on the sound management of resources and ensuring that public bodies continually review their operations to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements. Efficiency improvements are about improving the ratio of resource inputs to outputs and can be made in any area, including the administration and delivery of services and in the procurement of goods and services. By making efficiency savings, more resources are available for re-investing in the delivery of public services.
Opportunities for efficiency improvements within your body should be identified as part of the corporate and business planning processes. As a Board member you should ensure that such opportunities are being identified and that arrangements are in place for measuring, monitoring, and reporting on the delivery of efficiency savings to the Board.
This should include having efficiency performance indicators (such as a range of input/output ratios) that will allow you to routinely monitor the efficiency of your public body's operations.
Audit Scotland's report on Improving Public Service Efficiency identified that public bodies will need to improve productivity and efficiency in the delivery of public services to meet continued demands on public spending. Audit Scotland concluded that public bodies will need to take a more fundamental approach to identifying priorities, improving the productivity of public services, and improving collaboration and joint working. A Good Practice Checklist was produced to help leaders in public bodies check and challenge their approach and ultimately support better productivity and efficiency.
Email: Gordon Quinn