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.


Facing the most serious budget reductions for at least a generation, there is an urgent need to ensure the sustainability of Scotland's public services. At the same time we must continue to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland: by driving up the quality of services (so the average meet the standards of the best); and by redesigning services around the needs of citizens, tackling the underlying causes of those needs as well as the symptoms.

We are ambitious for Scotland's public services and wish to take them from good to excellent in every facet and in every place. We have a vision of Scotland's public services that:

  • are innovative, seamless and responsive, designed around users' needs, continuously improving
  • are democratically accountable to the people of Scotland at both national and local levels
  • are delivered in partnership, involving local communities, their democratic representatives, and the third sector
  • tackle causes as well as symptoms
  • support a fair and equal society
  • protect the most vulnerable in our society
  • are person-centred, reliable and consistent
  • are easy to navigate and access
  • are appropriate to local circumstances, without inexplicable variation
  • are designed and delivered close to the customer wherever possible, always high quality
  • respond effectively to increasing demographic pressures
  • include accessible digital services, that are easy to use and meet current best practice in the digital economy
  • have governance structures that are accountable, transparent, cost-effective, streamlined and efficient.

The Commission is therefore asked to identify the opportunities and obstacles that will help or hinder progress towards this vision and make recommendations for change that will deliver us to our destination. In particular the Commission is asked 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
  • consider the role of a public service ethos, along with cultural change, engaging public sector workers, users and stakeholders.

The Commission should take a long term view and not be constrained by the current pattern of public service delivery, but should recognise the importance of local communities and the geography and ethos of Scotland as well as the significant direct and indirect contribution the delivery of public services make to Scotland's economy.

It should have clear regard to joint work already underway to take forward the increasing integration of health and social care and to develop sustainable police and fire services for the future. Updates on work in both areas are expected to be available to the Commission in good time for it to take into account in its recommendations.



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