Social security agency: central functions location analysis

Report setting out evidence base for making a decision on where the social security agency’s centrally based functions will be located.

3. Phase 2 of location analysis - methodology

Phase 2 analysis builds on Phase 1 by considering additional quantitative evidence against four location criteria which broadly align with the criteria sets used in the Outline Business Case.

1. Implementability and Risk - Ability to Recruit – this criterion captures access to the labour force, skill and education levels and skill shortages.

2. Economy and Environment - Inclusive Growth – this criterion captures local economic performance both long and short-term, current employment opportunities, the business climate and levels of economic diversity.

3. Equality and Poverty - Regeneration – this criterion captures levels of deprivation (as measured by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) and population trends.

4. Dignity and Respect - Contribution to Local Delivery – this criterion captures the total number and concentrations of recipients of devolved benefits.

The fifth criteria - Efficiency and Alignment – was deemed less relevant for the location analysis for Phases 1 and 2. However, it could be considered during the Phase 3 of the process.

It is possible to assign a score to each Local Authority based on the above criteria, and this what the rankings presented are based on. This approach is presented schematically in Figure 5.

Weights and scoring

As shown in Figure 6, the four location criteria are made up of 12 indicators. These 12 indicators draw on data on 43 sub-indicators (the list of these is provided in Annex B). Each of the Local Authorities is given a score based on their performance against each of the 43 sub-indicators, which are aggregated up into 12 indicators and further into 4 location criteria.

In order to aggregate scores, weights are assigned at each stage. Each of the four location criteria is equally weighted (at 25%) in the calculation of an overall score. The weights assigned to each of the indicators within them vary depending on the perceived importance of each indicator, as well as the quality of data that are available to measure performance against them.

For most sub-indicators the data was available at Local Authority level. However, for a small number data was available for the broader region. This was reflected in the weighting – i.e. those sub-indicators for which specific Local Authority data was not available had their weight adjusted downwards.

Figure 5 – OBC criteria sets and Phase 2 location criteria

Figure 5 – OBC criteria sets and Phase 2 location criteria

Figure 6 – Phase 2 analysis - 4 location criteria and 12 indicator sets

Figure 6 – Phase 2 analysis - 4 location criteria and 12 indicator sets

Each Local Authority is assigned a score between 0 and 10 on each of the 43 sub-indicators. The Local Authority that performs weakest on a given indicator is given a score of 0 and the Local Authority that performs best is given a score of 10. Local Authorities that perform somewhere in between the two extremes are assigned a score between 0 and 10 depending on how close they are to the strongest/weakest Local Authority area.

In addition, some of the sub-indicators used to measure Ability to Recruit take into account characteristics of Local Authority areas which are within commutable distance.


Email: Leila Akhoundova,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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