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.


The Christie Commission

In 2010 the Scottish Ministers invited Dr Campbell Christie to lead a Commission to identify the best ways to address the challenges of delivering public services, based on evidence of what works.

The Christie Commission concluded that to achieve the outcomes that matter most to the people of Scotland, public, third sector and private organisations had to work more effectively in partnership with communities and with each other to design and deliver excellent public services that meet the needs of local people. The need for new ways of delivering public services has never been more important than it is today.

The Christie Report provided an assessment of the challenges facing public services and recommended an urgent, sustained and coherent programme of public service reform.


In its response to the Christie Report, the Scottish Government identified four pillars of reform in order to deliver better outcomes for the people of Scotland, to reduce inequalities and to ensure the delivery of sustainable services now and in the future:

Prevention - reduce future demand by preventing problems arising or dealing with them early on. To promote a bias towards prevention, help people understand why this is the right thing to do, the choices it implies as well as the benefits it can bring.

Performance - to demonstrate a sharp focus on continuous improvement of the National Outcomes, applying reliable improvement methods to ensure that services are consistently well designed, based on the best evidence and are delivered by the right people to the right people at the right time.

People - we need to unlock the full creativity and potential of people at all levels of public service, empowering them to work together in innovative ways. We need to help create ways for people and communities to co-produce services around their skills and networks.

Partnership - we need to develop local partnership and collaboration, bringing public, third and private sector partners together with communities to deliver shared outcomes that really matter to people.

The Scottish Government's approach to public service delivery and reform also focuses on the importance of "place" (locality) in the design and delivery of public services. The focus on place provides the basis for partnership and stronger community participation in the design and delivery of local services, harnessing the full spectrum of talents and capacities of public bodies, citizens, third sector organisations and local businesses.

In the next sections some of the information provided may not directly impact on your role as a Board member of a public body. However, it is essential that Board members have an awareness of work being taken forward by the Scottish Government in relation to public service reform.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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