Renewing Scotland's public services: priorities for reform in response to the Christie Commission

The Government's response to the Christie commission on the future delivery of public services.

Our Approach

Taking advantage of the relative stability created by our unique Parliamentary mandate, we will build on our successful track record of competence and achievement in public services with an expanded programme of reform to equip Scotland's public services to meet the challenges ahead.

In response to the Christie Commission's recommendations, we will reform our public services through: a decisive shift towards prevention; greater integration at a local level driven by better partnership; workforce development; and a sharper, more transparent focus on performance.

We will maintain our emphasis on achieving the outcomes that matter most to the Scottish people and lead our public services into new ways of working and thinking, new understandings of people's needs and innovative ways to meet those needs.

Engaging with Scotland's People

Being in constant dialogue with Scotland's people - listening, engaging and responding to their needs and aspirations - is our way of working. Everyone is entitled to have the opportunity to shape our nation's shared future and this principle should be reflected in the way we design our services.

We believe that transformational change can be successful only with a broad base of popular consent so our approach will continue to be open, inclusive and responsive. Over the last four years, Summer Cabinet events have taken place across the country, providing opportunities for Ministers to hear what people have to say and answer their questions directly.

Following publication of the Independent Budget Review last year we consulted the people of Scotland about the challenges and choices we face, the priorities for our communities, and the services that matter most. This dialogue included an online consultation and a series of open public meetings across Scotland at which nearly 1,000 people took part.

We will empower local communities and local service providers to work together to develop practical solutions that make best use of all the resources available. The focus of public spending and action must build on the assets and potential of the individual, the family and the community rather than being dictated by organisational structures and boundaries. Public services must work harder to involve people everywhere in the redesign and reshaping of their activities - and we will develop workforce capabilities to deliver that aim.

Enhancing Value for Money

Faced with deep cuts in the Scottish budget, we are determined to continue to act decisively and prioritise our resources to maximise their positive impact: nurturing economic recovery; protecting employment and frontline services; and investing in Scotland's future prosperity.

Tackling waste, duplication and inefficiency is now a top priority for all those in public service and we will encourage the swifter adoption of proven strategies for improvement and the rapid roll-out of reforms. In so doing, we will not shirk the difficult decisions and we will be resolute in prioritising the public interest in achieving better outcomes ahead of narrow sectoral concerns.

Communities want services that work effectively and efficiently. Leadership and culture change matter more than organisational structures in achieving better outcomes and value for money but where structural reform is required it should be pursued vigorously.

Driving Improvement and Reform

To drive forward and co-ordinate progress on a comprehensive programme of improvement and reform we recently established a Cabinet Sub-committee on Public Service Reform (chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth). This Ministerial group will be supported by a Public Service Reform Board comprising key executive leaders from across public services.

Over this 5-year Parliament our public service reform programme will intensify the focus on improving service outcomes for the people of Scotland. It will be built on four pillars:

  • a decisive shift towards prevention;
  • greater integration of public services at a local level, driven by better partnership, collaboration and effective local delivery;
  • greater investment in the people who deliver services through enhanced workforce development and effective leadership; and
  • a sharp focus on improving performance, through greater transparency , innovation and use of digital technology.
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