Christie Commission on the future delivery of public services

Report on the future delivery of public services by the commission chaired by Dr Campbell Christie. Published on 29 June 2011.


Setting up the Commission

A.1 On 19 November 2010, First Minister Alex Salmond launched the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services to examine how Scotland's public services can be delivered in future to secure improved outcomes for communities across the country. The Commission was to operate independently of government, and report its recommendations by June 2011.

A.2 Dr Campbell Christie CBE accepted the role of Chair of the Commission and was joined by nine other members, independent of party politics and representing a wide spectrum of expertise (see Annex B). Together, the Commission members have vast experience in all aspects of Scottish society and brought that experience from various different sectors including local government, the voluntary sector, the private sector, the media, academia and the trade unions. The Commission members all gave their time freely.

A.3 The Commission was assisted by three Expert Advisers, and was supported by a small secretariat team seconded from the Scottish Government.

A.4 In the Commission's remit (see Annex C), the Scottish Government set out a vision for the public services of the future. The Commission was asked to identify the opportunities and obstacles that will help or hinder progress towards this vision, and to make recommendations for change.

A.5 More specifically, the remit asked the Commission to:

  • address the role of public services in improving outcomes, what impact they make, and whether this can be done more effectively;
  • examine structures, functions and roles, to improve the quality of public service delivery and reduce demand through, for example, early intervention; and
  • consider the role of a public service ethos, along with cultural change, engaging public sector workers, users and stakeholders.

Our Work as a Commission

A.6 We explored the questions in our remit by seeking, receiving and considering relevant evidence. We believed that our recommendations would need to be based on a comprehensive body of information and evidence about the current operation of Scotland's public services, and possible options for the future. We sought that evidence through receiving and considering written evidence; a wide range of discussion events; and by a large number of bilateral meetings with stakeholders.

A.7 A Call for Evidence was issued in December 2010, asking for views on:

  • experiences of the operation of public services;
  • examples of projects, services, innovations or improvement work, including evaluations or assessments, which may be relevant to the work of the Commission;
  • the obstacles to and opportunities for improvement; and
  • the options for the future.

A.8 We received over 200 responses from various organisations and individuals including public bodies, voluntary organisations and private sector companies (See Annex D). All the responses were analysed and formed a key part of the evidence base for the review. The responses can be found on our website. (

A.9 We conducted a large number of discussion events and bilateral meetings with organisations and individuals across Scotland and across different sectors. These included political parties, local government, voluntary and private sector organisations and, most crucially, users of public services (see Annex E) . We were involved in over 60 such meetings and events, and gained valuable evidence, views and case studies which together with the written responses formed a key part of the evidence base for the review. The notes from the discussion events can be found on our website.

A.10 To bring all this evidence together, share our views and opinions, and develop the content of this report, the Commission met formally on ten occasions. These meetings were held in various locations in Glasgow, Falkirk and Edinburgh where organisations had given the Commission free use of their meeting facilities.

A.11 We were aware that aspects of the future delivery of public services in Scotland, and the issues of public service reform which they raise, have been or are currently being explored by a range of reports and initiatives. These include:

  • the Independent Budget Review;
  • work to pursue the integration of health and social care;
  • the Scottish Government's consultation on the future of policing;
  • the Scottish Government's consultation on the future of fire and rescue services;
  • the Clyde Valley Review on shared services;
  • the Deacon Report: Joining the dots: A better start for Scotland's children;
  • the McClelland Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland; and
  • the Roe Review of 16-18 vocational education and training.

We have engaged with and heard evidence from each of these initiatives.

A.12 We would like to thank all those who took time to submit a response and those that met with us, without whose input this report would not have been possible.



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