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.


A first key objective of reform should be to ensure that our public services are built around people and communities, their needs, aspirations, capacities and skills, and work to build up their autonomy and resilience.


4.1 In our work as a Commission and in our individual experience, we are aware of positive approaches already being pursued that we believe point the way to the future delivery of public services.

Positive approaches

4.2 These approaches reflect some or all of the following features:

  • they are grounded in people's lives - helping them contribute socially and economically and to be who they want to be;
  • communities and services work together to decide what needs to be done, and how it is going to be done - so that services fit people's needs, rather than the other way round;
  • best use is made of all the resources available, building the capacity of all those involved;
  • they take a long-term view, anticipating and preventing problems wherever possible - saving human and financial costs over the longer term;
  • front-line staff seek solutions actively with a 'can-do' attitude, empowered by managers and leaders; and
  • the essential authority of people and their communities is acknowledged.

4.3 We believe that building services around people and communities should be a key objective of the reform of public services.

4.4 Research evidence 10 and our submissions suggest strongly that our public services can become more efficient and effective in working collaboratively to achieve outcomes. To do this, they must focus clearly on: the actual needs of people; energising and empowering communities and public service workers to find innovative solutions; and building personal and community capacity, resilience and autonomy.

4.5 Positive approaches must involve everyone - service users, service providers, professionals, public sector organisations, political leaders and their constituents. Our evidence demonstrates that most people want the removal of barriers, allowing all available resources to be brought to the table. We recognise this will be challenging but it is clear that there are very real possibilities of making a difference.

4.6 Rather than treating symptoms, these approaches demonstrate it is possible to treat the root and long-term causes of problems, driving demand out of the system. They can also promote greater transparency, allowing people and communities to see that services are fair and legitimate . And, they advance the development of strategic relationships between the communities, sectors and organisations involved, based on trust and mutual respect at all levels, from front-line staff and service users to the most senior leaders.

People's needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals and others, working together to get things done.

NESTA/National Economic Foundation, Right Here, Right Now

4.7 We recommend that, in developing new patterns of service provision, public service organisations should increasingly develop and adopt positive approaches which build services around people and communities, their needs, aspirations, capacities and skills, and work to build up their autonomy and resilience.


4.8 Positive approaches are already being taken forward in Scotland at a local level under a variety of names, perhaps best expressed as asset-based approaches . They counter the more traditional philosophy where people are treated as passive recipients of services rather than active agents in their own lives. In short, these approaches do things for and with people rather than to them.

Asset approaches recognise that individuals and communities are part of the solution, work with people rather than viewing them as passive recipients of services, and empower people to control their future.

Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland

4.9 These positive approaches get better outcomes by bringing together the assets and skills of everyone involved to identify the best solutions. In that sense, they are also about developing new relationships between services and the public. It need not mean dismantling mainstream services, but rather transforming them to focus on helping people to achieve their full potential, and developing new models which allow individuals and communities to take the lead where this will achieve better outcomes.

4.10 They are about a society where people can take part in deciding how public services should support them, their families and their communities, and where they are enabled and empowered to have full and fulfilling lives. They are about recognising and respecting people's right to control of their own lives, the part they play in the lives of others, and working to help them maximise both.

4.11 These approaches place the focus of service delivery firmly on responding to human diversity and richness, rather than asking individuals to negotiate an increasingly complex and self-sustaining system. We believe that these approaches are applicable to a broad range of public services, though their form will vary depending on the nature of the service being delivered and the desired outcome. While we recognise that these approaches will not be relevant in all circumstances, it is nevertheless the case that understanding the needs of service users is essential to deliver an effective service.


Research in 2010 by Alzheimer Scotland demonstrated that, when empowered to direct their own support, families effectively combine state resources around their own natural supports to create truly personalised support.

Alzheimer Scotland


4.12 One aspect of the asset-based approach is personalisation. This term is used to describe user-led collaboration which focusses services on individuals, their needs and aspirations. There is growing evidence 11 that personalisation is effective in meeting service users' needs more directly, through peer support and access to high quality information and advice. This is most developed in the areas of health and social care, although the principles can be applied to varying degrees elsewhere.

4.13 The Independent Living Movement has been advocating this approach for disabled people for some time, and Pam's story illustrates just how this can work in practice.

Pam's story (Independent Living in Scotland) - With flexible and personalised community care support Pam has realised her dream of studying at university and is now employed, an active citizen representing disabled people and active in politics. Until she left home, her parents provided her care. However, at university Pam relied on community care to meet her basic daily needs, but she was not originally central to the design of this care. She had to continually challenge providers to deliver services in ways that met her needs to study, work and have a social life - what student wants to be "put to bed at 9pm?". With support, Pam is able to make a full and valuable contribution to the wider community, although there are still barriers: Pam cannot afford to work full time because of rules about benefits.

Independent living means disabled people of all ages having the same freedom, choice, dignity and control as other citizens at home, at work and in the community. It does not mean living by yourself or fending for yourself. It means rights to practical assistance and support to participate in society and live and ordinary life.

Independent Living in Scotland

4.14 Pam's story illustrates the positive outcomes that can result from delivering services that enable people to be all they can be, although she had to fight hard to have her voice heard. Research suggests that this approach can be more cost effective and efficient, compared to traditional approaches where people are fitted into services rather than the other way round.

Self-directed support

4.15 We have also heard evidence about self-directed support as a mechanism for making personalisation work. This is where an individual is given personal control over a budget, from which services are purchased.

4.16 In March 2009, the Scottish Government, NHSScotland and LTCAS launched the Self-Management Fund to explore how self-management might work in future. This approach has been developed by the Scottish Government/ COSLA in the national strategy on self-directed support 12 and the draft Self-Directed Support Bill issued for consultation by the Scottish Government in December 2010.

The Self Management Fund for Scotland is demonstrating that even a small investment in asset based approaches can produce a significant outcome in terms of quality of life for individuals, capacity building for people and communities, and reductions in the pressure on public services.

Long Term Conditions Alliance in Scotland

A recent report by the Kings Fund describes evidence that self management can have an impact on reducing the need for health care services. In one study self management education for people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) was found to not only produce improved quality of life and reduction of symptoms, but also to reduce the risk of at least one hospital admission by 36%. Another study found that asthma education for children, their parents, or both reduced the risk of further hospital admissions by 21%.

Long Term Conditions Alliance in Scotland

4.17 A pilot project in Glasgow has been exploring how self-directed support can be taken forward in practice, and the following example illustrates the benefits of a system that is designed to collaborate with the service user.

Alan's story (from ENABLE) - Alan has been on a long journey which has led to receiving his individual budget and finding personalised services which work for him. Alan left Lennox Castle at 32 years old; he had been living there since he was 6 years old. Since leaving the institution Alan attended a day centre for many years. He also lived in shared accommodation. He didn't enjoy going to the day centre, it was not his choice to go there. When Alan was introduced to the East Glasgow Personalisation Pilot, he asked his support team and some friends to help him think about the kind of life he would like. Friends are very important to Alan. Spending time with old ones and having the chance to meet new ones. His team helped him to think about the different ways he could spend his individual budget that would allow him to do this. It was a challenge for Alan at first, thinking about how he could use his individual budget because he had never had that type of freedom before. He realised that he could combine some of his budget with those of his friends' to allow them to do things together. His individual budget puts Alan in the driving seat and surrounded by great friends he is now living the life he has always wanted.

4.18 We believe that there is scope for further development of self-directed support, particularly in considering how funds interact with other welfare, health and social care budgets that may be available to an individual.

A woman approached her social worker saying that she needed a wheelchair to get around and a ramp to get out of her house. Instead, she was offered a package of home care. This was because her social worker could not access other budgets to offer the wheelchair or the ramp. The budgets to do so were not part of a shared resource for health and community care.

Independent Living in Scotland

4.19 Evidence indicates that self-directed support programmes for long-term health conditions can reduce visits to GPs by up to 69 per cent, reduce hospital admissions by up to 50 per cent and more than pay for themselves through savings ( Self Care Support: The Evidence Pack, Department of Health, 2007). We are aware, however, other options must remain available as this support is not appropriate for some services ( e.g. acute health care) and some individuals.

4.20 Take-up of current opportunities for self-directed support has been low and action is needed to build capacity and awareness to encourage broader participation. The Commission supports the wider principle of individuals having a greater say in how public resources are used, and how services are provided; and we see the development of the personalisation approach as an important mechanism for achieving outcomes.


4.21 In considering the future delivery of public services, we have focussed on the importance of the 'community'. By this, we mean the myriad of overlapping ways in which people come together through a common set of needs, both as communities of place and communities of interest .

4.22 Place-based communities could be a street, neighbourhood, housing estate, village or small town - in fact, any geographically-defined area with which people identify. There are also multiple and overlapping communities within any one area, which will emerge through a focus on outcomes.

4.23 Interest-based communities , on the other hand, define people who come together through a shared need, interest, experience or concern. These can be national organisations, such as the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition and the Scottish Association for Mental Health, or geographically-based - for example the Inverness Dementia Group or YouthBorders.

4.24 Communities are diverse and different viewpoints are central to their makeup. We know that people will belong to several different communities, and that they reflect a huge diversity of interests and needs. They can offer a system of support, providing information and advocacy and making a contribution to the development of national and local policy and practice. They can also bring knowledge and expertise to the pursuit of local and regionally based solutions. This includes the third sector organisations which have, over time, expanded to take on a more active role in delivering services directly.

4.25 In gathering our evidence we have heard of many different communities working with public services to meet their specific needs. The following case studies have been selected to illustrate the benefits of working with service users at a community level to decide what will work for them . They also highlight that very little can be addressed in isolation from other interrelated issues.

The West Glasgow Grandparent Carers Support Group has around 30 members caring for approximately 50 children whose parents are unable to do so for a variety of reasons, including bereavement and placement by social work services. Community development workers from the then West Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership ( CHCP) supported members to plan and put into practice social, respite and campaigning activities. The increased skills and confidence gained by members mean that it is less likely that they will need the involvement of a foster carer.

This results in a much more effective service, delivering successful outcomes that brings wider benefits beyond the individuals and families concerned. It is also more efficient - there is roughly a £500 differential per week between costs for kinship carers and foster carers. A conservative estimate would be that if kinship carers in the four support groups around Glasgow keep 50 children from being fostered, albeit at considerable cost to the carers, this would save Glasgow City Council around £1.5 million per year.

4.26 This example highlights the need to ensure that, in taking these approaches forward, carers are supported so that they can help to deliver the best possible outcome.

Lanarkshire Recovery Consortium ( LaRC), Hamilton - We met with this third sector group during our visit to Hamilton. They recognise that the first two years of recovery from addiction are critical to sustainable long term recovery, and help service attendees rebuild their lives and prepare for employment. They focus on the individual, using a strengths-based approach which enables the development of recovery capital. LaRC volunteers have direct experience of drug or alcohol problems and provide peer-support, advice and advocacy to help recovering addicts make sense of the complex world of public services. LaRC emerged because people who had direct experience of the system saw how they could make a difference, by providing a service based on what people who are recovering from addiction need to sustain their recovery. This extends to families and carers of people with addiction problems who have so much to contribute to the development and provision of existing services. If we can improve how public services work, we have more chance of meeting the desired outcome of reducing the number of people suffering from addiction.

4.27 The following examples illustrate what can be done when local authorities work closely with users to design services that help people to help themselves.

Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative - In 2005, Perth and Kinross Council established a health promotion project, enlisting local older people from communities to lead. The initial topic focused on initiatives aimed at reducing falls in the over-65s, with the added benefits of strengthening communities and encouraging statutory agencies to work in collaboration with local people. Recruited volunteers attended learning workshops which gave them the knowledge and skills to take the work forward. In 2008, the volunteers elected to broaden the topic focus to include mental health and well-being in later life, addressing issues of loneliness, isolation and social exclusion, and promoting healthy active ageing.

The project has also created community and social networks for people, many of whom had previously been isolated. One participant noted: "It's we older people ourselves who choose what we to do in our own communities. Nothing is imposed on us. We are also the volunteers - we want to help ourselves." Another participant, who is getting help with exercise to strengthen her bones after a fall which took her to hospital, said: "The big thing for me is the encouragement I get from everyone at the lunch club, the meetings and especially the exercise classes. We manage to have a good laugh and I have certainly made some new friends. My husband and I attend all the coffee mornings also, so we are never weary."

The Bridges Programme, Shetland - About 10 per cent of the 300 Shetland school leavers each year struggle to follow a path into further education, employment or training. Bridges is run by Shetland Council through a separate building which has a very relaxed and welcoming feel and offers an alternative learning programme for young people aged 15-19 years. The small team of support workers recognise that whilst young people may have particular needs - for example around self esteem, behaviours and interactions with others - their aspiration for making the most of their potential is no different from any other young person. They concentrate on the individual person as an asset and help them gain the confidence to decide their own future, while also building core skills and relationships.

4.28 The Bridges Programme has been a very successful alternative to the 'one size fits all' approach, affirming value in young people and enabling resources to be used more positively and effectively. Similarly, the Home Care Re-ablement project has focussed on building confidence in older people:

City of Edinburgh Council introduced the Home Care Re-ablement Service with the aim of actively helping older people to regain life skills and maintain as independent a life as possible. The concept is based upon a focussed and intensive six-week period of support, in some cases following hospitalisation, to maximise capability, dignity and independence. The service was re-designed by working with users, carers and others to enhance independence and deliver better outcomes, while also building user confidence.

The scale of the changes that have been made is significant. Over 12,000 people have been referred to the Home Care Re-ablement service since April 2009 and 15,000 hours per week of care have been freed up to meet increased numbers of older people and complexity of people's needs. The balance of care has continued to improve through the increase in the numbers of older adults receiving intensive levels of support at home. In 2002, 14 per cent of older adults received intensive levels of support at home. In March 2011, this figure was 29 per cent. Building upon efficiencies delivered in 2008-09, further cash-releasing savings of £1.5 million were realised in 2009-10 and additional savings will accrue over the next four years as its coverage is increased.

4.29 Service providers often work in direct partnership with third sector organisations who have skills and expertise that mean they are able to recognise the very specific needs of individuals and work with them to achieve a positive outcome. For example:

The Homelessness Prevention Service ( HPS) run by the Edinburgh Cyrenians is funded in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and is designed specifically to prevent people from presenting as homeless by either keeping their current housing, or moving on to an alternative home in a planned way. In 2010-11 the service worked with 376 people at imminent risk of homelessness. Of these, 374 had not presented to other homelessness services six months later, and 373 after 12 months.

Research on 50 clients of the HPS by Cyrenians showed that employment rose (11 people moved into employment); rent arrears dropped (from a total of £24,424 to £5,811) and the number of people in rent arrears fell from 29 to 11. Housing arrangements became more stable for almost every client. Mental health levels also improved - 36 per cent who started with the HPS were struggling to cope, by the end this had dropped to 8 per cent. Becoming homeless is a major personal crisis and is often a trigger for and linked to other problems such as unemployment, family breakdown and mental health problems. Supporting people to keep their home makes a major impact on individuals and their families, public services and the wider community.

4.30 The examples outlined above demonstrate that collaboration between individuals, communities and service providers can become important multi-dimensional partnerships, generating wider benefits and building individual and community capacity. In considering what defines a particular community, it is essential that public service organisations build relationships with groups and individuals, reaching out to include those people who are usually isolated and excluded, rather than designing and imposing community boundaries to suit their own service delivery.

Services built around communities of place

4.31 Place-based community groups take a number of different forms - principally those actively involved in decision-making on service delivery with mainstream providers and those taking independent action. Some emerge autonomously, while others are the direct result of development support.

4.32 Some local authorities and health boards have already taken steps to increase the community participation in the management of services, through establishing local area networks and establishing formal links with communities to proactively involve them in local decision-making. For example, the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership has created six area groups to take communication and decision-making to another level.

The Marr Community Planning Group - brings together representatives from the community and from the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partners. The group aims to identify the needs of communities in the Marr area and work together either to address these, or to support people in dealing with them. Over 50 per cent of the membership of the Marr Community Planning Group are community representatives. A community plan has been agreed for 2010-14. Achievements over the last few years include: a new graveyard in Finzean, which was built by the community with support from Aberdeenshire Council; the new NHS Grampian dental facility in Huntly; and the community management of Braemar Castle with support from the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Council. The relationships established through the group also enabled, during severe winter conditions, the use of a four wheel drive vehicle from Forest Enterprise to allow vulnerable people to be visited or to get to hospital appointments.

4.33 We have also received evidence on the value and strength of independent community action , and have been particularly impressed with the recent expansion of community development trusts , which are enabling communities to make their own plans and aspirations a reality. These organisations are about local people deciding what is important to them, and then taking action. The following examples illustrate the breadth of issues that concern local communities, and demonstrate that a significant difference can be made.

The Renton Community Development Trust was established in 2003 in response to local demand to explore opportunities for improving the development of the community. It employs 22 people and currently delivers a range of services to elderly people in the Vale of Leven area. It has taken over a council community centre, establishing 'Ma Centre', a local youth centre run by teenagers with a café and access to sport facilities. The Trust is currently in the process of buying a nursery from West Dunbartonshire Council which will help 20 pre-school children. They have set up trading subsidiaries and also run another centre with a lunch club, youth club, radio hams and meeting space for any community groups that require it. This centre has a restaurant, conference facilities and a small theatre. The Trust is now 'the glue' that binds local organisations and partnerships together, and is looking to work with neighbouring communities and to restore a community woodland.

The Rosneath Peninsula West Community Development Trust was set up with the blessing of the local community council in April 2010. It has a 15-strong directorate, who employed experts to help them develop an action plan. This involved wide consultation with 1,268 residents, 59 community groups, youth and business interests, to identify priorities (covering transport, health and welfare, the physical environment, employment and tourism, community and recreation and business and housing). This was followed by a community event where residents had the opportunity to learn about, and offer opinions on, some 18 initial project ideas. Research showed how the selected projects might be financed and a feasibility study into developing renewable energy has been undertaken, funded by a Climate Challenge Fund grant. The results of the study will be available in 2012 when there will be further discussion and consultation. The exercise has built up local confidence, partnerships and entrepreneurial spirit and additional sub-groups have been established for priority areas.

4.34 We believe strongly that all public service organisations should recognise the value that local groups can bring, both in terms of the services that are provided, and the community cohesion that results. Relying solely on public sector organisations to provide all local services constrains innovation and creates unhelpful boundaries, and the context for any decision must be finding the best means to achieve shared outcomes.


4.35 The case studies illustrate just what communities can deliver when they have the opportunity. They also illustrate two very important roles - first, that of independent action where groups of people can make a difference in areas that they choose and, second, providing a vehicle through which they can collaborate effectively with public service providers.

4.36 Public services are most effective, and provide best value for money, when users have a pivotal role in designing and evaluating them. Evidence indicates that better, more sustainable outcomes and higher levels of satisfaction for users and staff also result. 13 Regardless of what brings communities together, they not only work towards the desired outcome, but the process itself increases community cohesion. Strong communities have good social networks and contacts which may not be so developed in those which are disadvantaged and deprived.

The challenge is to work with communities, not to find out what they want and then provide it, but to enable them to take control and provide their own solutions. Communities need to be involved in the delivery of services, behaviour change initiatives and solutions, as well as in their design.

Tayside Health Board

…we are pleased that the Commission seeks to address how public services can be more participative, prevention oriented, outcome focused and equality driven. The SCDC believes that this vision can be achieved by building on existing community engagement through increased community capacity building to give people the skills and confidence required to participate in service design, delivery and evaluation. This will put Scotland in a better position to take forward a 'co-production' approach to public services.

Scottish Community Development Centre

Community development is an active process, which occurs when somebody intervenes to help people to achieve new things. It is an approach to achieving social change, based on the idea that disadvantage and social injustice cannot be tackled by top-down solutions alone. It involves changing the relationships between ordinary people and the institutions that hold power.

Community Development Alliance Scotland

4.37 It is vital that communities are able to engage effectively with public services in setting priorities and designing services. We recognise that communities themselves must decide the level of empowerment that they want and how to achieve it. Empowerment cannot be imposed and some communities may be more interested in taking action than others.

4.38 With support to build the appropriate skills, confidence, networks and resources, communities can be given the opportunity to take the action that they want. Better organised communities have already demonstrated what can be done, and we believe that every community has the capacity to participate. However, those facing multiple social and economic challenges, particularly in terms of deprivation, may require extra support to help them release their potential. Capacity building guidance has been produced, but we believe it is now imperative for a step-change in the number, and nature, of communities who are able to participate.

4.39 In Chapter 6 we will explore further inequality issues. Careful attention must be paid to equalities and inclusion when developing strategies for community empowerment to ensure that it is not just the 'trained voice' which is heard, but that all members of a community are able and encouraged to participate and contribute.

4.40 We believe that it is essential to the future delivery of public services that communities are empowered. We note the wider political consensus for more local community control, and the proposal for a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill in the new Parliament, giving powers to communities to take over under-used public assets for their benefit. While we recognise that the acquisition of assets can be a catalyst for community development, we believe that a new Bill must include a more comprehensive incentive to community empowerment.

4.41 We recommend that in developing proposals for a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill the Scottish Government explores the potential of the Bill to promote:

  • significantly improved community participation in the design and delivery of public services; and
  • action to build community capacity, recognising the particular needs of communities facing multiple social and economic challenges.


4.42 The approaches outlined above present challenges, but also significant opportunities to public service organisations, and their staff. Implementation is dependent on the public service workforce at all levels. Staff are key and their contribution must be central in the proposed transformation of service delivery. They will need support from management, where they are empowered to take responsibility for the continuous improvement of services. This requires organisational leaders who establish priorities based on a clear understanding of shared outcomes and actively encourage a 'can-do' culture.

4.43 More specifically, the wider adoption of these approaches would provide opportunities for public service staff to:

  • optimise skills, knowledge and expertise, and be supported in further development;
  • reconnect with the purpose of their work; and
  • express a strengthened public service 'ethos', based on enabling, empowering and improving the lives of people and communities.

Empowering staff

4.44 International and cross-sectoral research shows that workers value respect for their knowledge and experience, involvement in designing and improving their own job and fairness. Staff also place a high premium on being valued for what they do, and trusted and empowered to do a good job. These factors, along with shared purpose and leadership, are all major drivers of job satisfaction and engagement. 14

4.45 Our evidence shows public service workers are generally held in high esteem. We appreciate that they want to provide the best services they can; to make a real difference. Personal relationships are critical in driving outcomes, trust and satisfaction with services. The case studies outlined above illustrate that many public service staff are already working with people and communities to bring real improvements in their lives. However, there is compelling evidence that many staff feel their skills and knowledge are not being fully used, and that their levels of autonomy are diminishing. How they go about their day to day work can either empower and enrich lives, or treat people as problems, or as passive recipients.

4.46 We believe that front-line staff, along with people and communities are best placed to identify how to make things work better. It is critical that managers at all levels support staff in empowering users and communities, and to give fresh meaning to their own work. This approach requires a flexibility in service provision that may present challenges to staff in terms of how and when they work and will require a focus on new skills and capabilities - on mentoring, coaching and on support.

4.47 Engaging staff in the design of services is reflected in the concept of systems thinking. In this approach service providers study demand to find out what works for users. Systems are designed against that demand and improvements achieved by managing demand and flow. The cost of a service is in flow, not transaction. Failure demand represents poorly designed flow which organisations can control. Studies show that as much as 80 per cent of transactions handled in traditional call centres relate to failure demand.

The systems approach to designing the housing benefits service teaches that sharing back offices will lead to high costs and poor service; having a back office itself is a design mistake. Housing benefits is best designed as a front-office service. Whenever people turn up to get the service, they should be met by someone who can help them through it. As soon as you create a split between front and back office, you also create waste. To do the same on a larger scale is to mass produce it.

Systems Thinking in the Public Sector - John Seddon

4.48 We recognise this is a difficult time for the public service workforce, dominated by uncertainty about the impact of change, combined with wage restraint and pressure on terms and conditions. If we are to secure a sustainable future for public service delivery in Scotland at this time, respecting staff and improving their experience of work is essential. Research clearly shows that employee engagement drives innovation and business improvement, which is, in turn, driven by individual staff doing work that is understandable , manageable and meaningful . Evidence also shows that efficiency rises in these circumstances. There is a temptation when budgets are constrained to limit investment in training and professional development. However, we believe strongly that the necessary ground shift in public service delivery will only be successful if staff feel empowered, trusted and supported to make the necessary changes.

4.49 Leaders alone cannot provide meaning for the workforce but in helping to clarify the purpose of the organisation, they can help employees renew their own sense of purpose. Involving staff in designing their own role in providing an appropriate service and meeting organisational outcomes is a powerful way to improve their work experience and deliver organisational benefits.

Employee engagement will be a major challenge for any public sector leader in the next five years; not just as a feature of the future effective organisation, but as an enabler of change in transforming the way in which organisations work.

Investors in People Scotland

At the heart of this concept is the view that providers and users should be consulted and empowered in the design and delivery of services. In particular there is a vision of empowered and active citizens working alongside paid public servants to create additionality which offers genuine opportunity for change but which runs contrary to budget cutting, centralisation and privatisation.

Scottish Trades Union Congress ( STUC)

4.50 The objective of public services must be to provide a positive and creative environment for the workforce, which will require a substantial shift in attitude within many existing organisations.

4.51 We recommend that managers and leaders within public service organisations develop and extend empowerment of front-line staff to support their engagement with people and communities to improve service provision.

Public service ethos

4.52 We believe that the approaches set out earlier in this chapter can and should be the foundation of a renewed 'ethos' within the public service workforce. By this, we mean the beliefs and motivations of people who are contributing to public services, of whatever kind. What defines this ethos must be:

  • a respect for the autonomy and potential of the people and communities of Scotland, and the ambition to help maximise both;
  • the ambition to improve the lives and opportunities of the people and communities of Scotland, and a commitment to work with them to achieve their aspirations; and
  • a commitment to get maximum value and impact for public resources, and to account openly to the public for what is done in their name.

4.53 These elements stand alongside the established principles and standards of public life, including integrity, honesty and openness and are the counterpart to what we believe to be a wider public service ethos, as discussed elsewhere in this report.

Training and development

4.54 Repeatedly, staff we met asked to be allowed to function as 'public service workers' - wanting to operate in an integrated system of public services without the constraints of organisational boundaries. We strongly believe that traditional professional and sectoral boundaries are restrictive. Delivery of services will benefit from loosening them through building strategic relationships between people and organisations who share common outcomes.

4.55 The development of the public service workforce must support the reform programme. We recognise that steps have been taken to increase collaboration on leadership and training programmes by Scottish Government and its partners. This must now be a strategic priority.

4.56 We recommend that the Scottish Government, local government and relevant organisations develop a systematic and coordinated approach to workforce development and, in particular, should:

  • consider how the educational and development infrastructure across the different elements of the public service could be better coordinated;
  • bring together leadership and management development into a single cross public service development programme;
  • develop a competency framework to apply to all public service workers which focusses on the skills required for delivering outcomes in collaboration with delivery partners and service users; and
  • ensure inter-disciplinary training and development modules are included in all professional training for public service.



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