Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010: guidance on duty of co-operation for scheduled scrutiny authorities

Guidance for scrutiny bodies on statutory duty of co-operation.


1.1 Section 114 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 1 (the Act) requires the scrutiny authorities listed in schedule 20 to co-operate and co-ordinate their activity with each other and, where appropriate, the Scottish Ministers. The purpose of the duty is to improve the exercise of their scrutiny functions in relation to local authorities, local authority services, social services and health services, having regard to efficiency, effectiveness and economy. ( NB Section 114(5) allows for the duty to be disapplied only in certain circumstances.)

1.2 Scrutiny authorities must comply with any directions given by the Scottish Ministers in respect of this duty. Scrutiny authorities must also have regard to the following guidance provided by the Scottish Ministers and should take account of the principles of external scrutiny described in AnnexA, namely: public focus; independence; proportionality; transparency; and accountability.

1.3 In this guidance scrutiny includes:

  • "regulation": meaning the provision of a permit to carry out regulated activity, enforcement of legislation and regulations, monitoring the quality of services provided and, if the context requires, may include elements of service inspection, and other activity designed to drive up quality and/or enforce standards; and related activity;
  • "audit": meaning external scrutiny of corporate governance and management; financial statements and underlying financial systems; and performance, performance management and reporting of public bodies; and related activity;
  • "inspection": meaning the targeted scrutiny of specific services, to check whether they are meeting national and local performance standards, legislative and professional requirements, and the needs of service users; and related activity.


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