Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Scottish Government: operating framework

Sets out how we will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, including roles and responsibilities.

Introduction / purpose of document

Document Version Control & Signatories

Version Month / Year Chief Executive Officer Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Signature / date
Director or Deputy Director Planning and Quality Health and Social Care Scottish Government
Signature / date
1.0 February 2019 Signed by Robbie Pearson
Signed by Jason Leitch
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1. This Operating Framework sets out the framework within which Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the Scottish Government (SG) will work together. It defines the key roles and responsibilities which underpin the relationship between HIS and the SG. The framework describes the detail of the relationship between HIS and SG. HIS retains functional independence and its executive directors are accountable to the HIS board through the Chief Executive.

2. HIS is required to provide assurance to the people of Scotland about the quality of care within a health setting. It must be seen as robust, transparent and independent if it is to fulfil this requirement.

3. We recognise our respective statutory roles, responsibilities and independence but will always seek to collaborate and co-operate in the public interest, in delivering our core functions and in the course of our day to day working relationship. This Operating Framework acknowledges the importance of the clear separation of roles and the need to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest.

4. This Operating Framework forms a key part of the accountability and governance framework and should be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every 3 years. Any proposals to amend the framework either by the SG or HIS will be taken forward together and with due consultation, taking account of priorities and policy aims.

5. The Operating Framework will support:

  • an effective, strategic working arrangement between HIS and SG based on a shared understanding of respective roles and responsibilities;
  • risk management arrangements that allow both parties to effectively identify and alert the other to risks and potential areas of tension;
  • a clear two-way communication channel between the organisations;
  • a robust system for agreeing HIS's priorities, which includes a view of the priorities and resources for the future;
  • a constructive dialogue and input to the formulation of SG policy and initiatives based on HIS's evidence and intelligence; and
  • the further strengthening of our relationship based on openness, honesty, learning support and constructive challenge.



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