Annex B – A better future.
Sections 1-3 of the Charter involve commitments about the responsiveness of the Agency to the needs of benefit applicants and claimants, and so the Core Group was deeply involved in deciding what makes for a service which treats people with dignity and respect.
Section 4: A better future, sets out commitments about the quality of the policy-making process, and the environment created by the Scottish Government through its statements, and long-term direction of the benefits system.
As policy making is an ongoing process, involving identification of issues, consultation, balancing of different interests, and evaluation – in a repeated, yet overlapping cycle – it does not lend itself to the same level of objective measurement. Each policy has a unique situation, and the issues faced day-to-day, and year-to-year throw up different expectations at the time.
That being said, it is important that government can show what its actions are, and justify them, to parliament, and citizens in general. Secondly, that it measures the impact of its policies, where it can, through evaluation. Finally, that there is a record that it has fulfilled its commitments.
Accordingly, the bulk of the Measurement Framework for “A Better Future” focusses on the actions that the Scottish Government has taken to deliver its commitments. It is also important to note that this is not the end of the process. These actions are open to scrutiny – and it is reasonable for stakeholders to show us where we fall short and tell us what new actions they think we should take.
We have shared this approach with Core Group 2, the Scottish Commission on Social Security and a range of other stakeholders. They accept that the approach to the section needs to be different, but rightly intend to feed back to us on how we are fulfilling the commitments, and we will take this into account when we fill it in.
When we publish our reports, there will be further opportunity to identify what else we should be doing, in the light of what we have found, and what stakeholders say.
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