Publication - Progress report

Open Government Action Plan commitment 1: provide financial and performance transparency

Progress reports on our commitment to provide financial and performance transparency as part of our open government action plan.

Open Government Action Plan commitment 1: provide financial and performance transparency
Progress to December 2020

Progress to December 2020

Scottish National Investment Bank


1. Adopt open government principles and culture

Status: 🙂 On track

The Scottish National Investment Bank opened for business in November 2020. The Bank has been established and will operate following the spirit and practice of Open Government.

In the Open Government Act Plan 2018-20 we committed to develop the Bank “openly and transparently, listening to the views of the public about how to make Scotland’s public finances more transparent and accessible”. We consulted publically twice on our proposals for the Bank.

The Bank will hold to the principles of equality; transparency; diversity; and inclusion and will be subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2003

The Bank is expected to produce an annual report on investment performance for Ministers. The report will be made publically available in line with our commitments for the Bank to be established and run according to the principles of Open Government.

An Advisory Group will be established with membership drawn from a cross‑section of external stakeholders and civic society.

2. Explore setting up a Citizen Advisory Group

Status: 🙂 On track

The Scottish National Investment Bank Act 2020 places a duty on Scottish Ministers to establish and maintain an Advisory Group to provide them with advice on the Bank’s objects, conduct and performance.

The Advisory Group membership will be drawn from a cross‑section of external stakeholders and civic society and as provided for in the Act must include at least 1 member appointed to represent the interests of trade unions.

3. Develop an Ethical Statement with public participation and input 

Status: 🙂 On track

The Scottish National Investment Bank Act 2020 sets out that the articles of association must provide that the Bank’s board is responsible for the Bank having ethical investment standards which align with the Bank’s main object and ancillary objects as set out in its articles of association and its strategic missions, and having in place processes to ensure that the Bank’s investment decisions are taken in accordance with those standards.

The Scottish National Investment Bank is operationally and administratively independent of Government and will decide where and when it invests. The Bank will publish its Ethical Investment Policy soon, setting out how it will meet the objectives set for it by Scottish Ministers.


Scottish Exchequer


4. Young People's understanding of Public Finances Report will be published

Status: ✔ Complete

Launched by the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy on 3 September 2019.

5. Make links between budget and outcomes. Publish more information about Scotland’s progress in relation to the National Performance Framework and Sustainable Development Goals

Status: ✔ Complete

The Wellbeing Scotland review on progress against the NPF outcomes was published in May 2019. A further report in the light of the impact of Covid was published in December 2020.

Scotland’s contribution to the UK Government Voluntary National Review on SDG progress was published in July 2019. This contribution and the Scottish SDG review were developed with the SDG Network Scotland, COSLA, and other partners using an open government approach. The Scottish SDG Review was published in July 2020.

Improved linking and cross-referencing existing performance reporting on areas of major spend from within SG’s annual consolidated accounts 2018/2019. Following the enhanced prominence of the National Performance Framework outcomes in the 20-21 Scottish Budget - where narrative description of each portfolio’s contribution to national outcomes was included for the first time – the 2019/20 Consolidated Accounts published in December 2020 repeated elements introduced in 2018/19 with the further enhancement of including identification of the National Outcomes portfolio spend contributed to, consistent with that given in the 20-21 Budget. 

Budget Statements and Associated documentation, including additional information on outcomes intended to be progressed, completed February 2020. Developed further in January 2021 including through the Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement (EFSBS).

6. Making the Scottish Government budget more accessible and easier to understand, experimenting multimedia formats around the budget announcement.

Status: ✔ Complete

Tax Directorate Pre-Budget roundtables  with a broad range of stakeholders,  Oct 2019                                     

Pre-Budget consultation on the role of tax policy and fiscal framework in the Covid-19 recovery, Sept - Oct 2020

Incorporated digital media recommendations from Young Scot research, February 2020

7. A Spending Review framework will be published by June 2019 which will set out the economic and political context, the criteria which will govern the assessment of budgets and the process and timetable for the review

Status: ✔ Complete

A Spending Review Framework was published for the first time in Scotland in May 2019. This set out the criteria governing the assessment of budgets, and the process and timetable, for the 2019 Spending Review. It was part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for Scotland which set out the key financial challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and which provided the context for the upcoming Spending Review and Scottish Budget. The MTFS was published for the first time in 2018.

8. The Scottish Government will work with partners and expert civil society actors to review and incorporate good practice on transparency, accountability and citizen engagement into the work of the Scottish Exchequer. This will include a number of round table events to bring together experts on fiscal transparency to share learning and understanding.

Status: 🙂 On track

Development of the Scottish Exchequer Aims, including being open about our fiscal position.

Pre-Budget tax roundtables 2019 - Ministerial engagement with a broad range of stakeholders.

Pre-Budget tax roundtables 2020 are in progress - Ministerial engagement with a broad range of stakeholders.

Scottish Exchequer - Tax


9. Development of a tax communications and engagement strategy

Status: 🙂 On track

The development of a tax communications and engagement strategy is underway and will

  1. Promote the positive case for tax by illustrating the link between taxes and spending on public services in Scotland.
  1. Enable a wide range of stakeholders to understand our approach to tax in Scotland.
  1. Enable the Scottish Government to develop tax policy through wide ranging stakeholder collaboration and involvement.
  1. Communicate a narrative around tax which resonates with stakeholders and citizens more widely, and through which we can build knowledge and awareness of the Scottish Government’s distinctive approach to tax policy.

This work is currently incomplete due to covid redeployment

10. Public consultation on a devolved taxes policy framework.

Status: ✔ Complete

Consultation closed in June 2019.  Consultation events, which were an opportunity to learn more about devolved taxes, were held across Scotland.  Consultation responses were published in August 2019

11. Reviewing the scope and breadth of communications around income tax in Scotland and who delivers it

Status: ✔ Complete

A workshop was held in September 2019, with a wide range of stakeholders, to explore the provision of timely and relevant information to the public and to Scottish taxpayers.

Scottish Exchequer - Infrastructure & Investment


12. Enhance openness and transparency relating to  Infrastructure Investment

Status: 🙂 On track

Infrastructure Investment Plan: We established the ICfS in early 2019 and it has produced its first report (Jan 2020) and it has published its second report on Delivery in July 2020. The Draft Infrastructure investment Plan was published for public consultation on 24 September, the first consultation we have undertaken on our Infrastructure Plan, and closed on 19 November. The consultation attracted 147 responses.



13. Consult with civil society on how best to make published procurement information useful and accessible by May 2019

✔ Complete

Consultation event held May 2019.

14. Publish Scottish Government contract documentation, starting with large collaborative frameworks by June 2019

✔ Complete

Documents for a number of Category A  contracts have   been published on the Scottish Government website and this is now a business as usual process

15. Publish Scottish Government procurement related spend information by December 2019

✔ Complete

Procurement related spend information was published 4th December 2020