Covid Recovery strategy activity overview and next steps report

This report identifies and captures key learnings from the implementation of the Covid Recovery strategy in order to inform future approaches to public service reform.

Conclusions and next steps

Over an 18 months period, the work of the CRS Programme Board identified that to work effectively to drive systemic change, there is significant value to be gained from a multi-sectoral forum where the practical delivery of reform and associated issues can be discussed. With the conclusion of the CRS Programme, the importance of ensuring that a mechanism is identified to allow a continued joint approach to reform was recognised.

A key feature of this activity was an understanding that the public sector was able to respond in new ways. There was real enthusiasm for utilising the empowerment and sweeping aside organisational barriers to deal with the next challenge in the public sector.

Delivering the Verity House Agreement

The clear priorities stated in the Verity House Agreement demonstrate how local government and the Scottish Government will work together. This will only be deliverable by working differently through having an outcomes-led, place-based model of service delivery, and a new focus on prevention.

These changes need to take place not just in Scottish Government and local government but they also need to align change in public bodies and agencies, and to focus on prioritising and sharing resource and intervention to deliver outcomes.

Supporting a 10-year programme of reform

Work and learnings from the CRS have increasingly fed directly into the reform agenda, aligning with the reform principles, identified by the Christie Commission, of prevention, partnership, people, performance, and place.

The Scottish Government has committed to focus on four key areas to deliver a 10-year programme of public service reform;

  • Convening: Agreeing a common vision across the public sectors for achieving sustainable public services and establishing the infrastructure that enables us to collectively make progress.
  • Saving: Identifying where the Scottish Government and public bodies can deliver clear and quantifiable, cashable savings, setting out clear targets for cost reduction/cost avoidance through achieving efficiencies and which support the longer-term approach to reformed services.
  • Enabling: Creating the conditions for systemic reform, removing barriers to change and establishing ways that the public can see, understand, and influence the changes.
  • Aligning: Driving policy coherence and consistency across significant policy led reforms that will shape the future service landscape.

The necessity of changing ways of working cannot be overstated – currently our public services must focus resource on dealing with and mitigating the impacts of crisis and of poverty, rather than focussing on early intervention and prevention. As Christie predicted, the significant financial costs to the public purse, alongside the human impact, demonstrate that previous ways of working can no longer continue.

To allow people to fulfil their potential, a move must be made to a preventative mode of public service that breaks this cycle and reduces financial impacts. The Covid Recovery Strategy demonstrated that the public sector and its partners have the potential to respond in new ways to actively move towards the goals of public service reform. To do this, they need to be empowered, driven by a clear and common purpose, and with barriers removed.

The Scottish Government and COSLA must now seek to build on the lessons learnt through the delivery of the Covid Recovery Strategy in order to support, empower and drive a new approach to reform across the public sector.



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