Resource Spending Review Framework: Analysis of consultation responses

Analysis of responses to our consultation on the Resource Spending Review.

1. Introduction

This report presents the analysis of responses to a consultation on the Scottish Government's Resource Spending Review. It also includes analysis of the external engagement programme that accompanied the consultation.

The consultation opened on 9 December 2021 and closed on 27 March 2022.[4] Alongside the consultation, a number of external engagement events were held with Scottish Ministers looking at specific issues within the spending review. These events were held virtually in March, April and May 2022.

1.1 Number and profile of respondents

In total, 72 responses were received to the public consultation. Most responses were received through the Scottish Government's Citizen Space consultation hub. All organisations submitting a response to the consultation were asked to complete a Respondent Information Form (RIF) or provide consent to publish on Citizen Space. Where consent has been given to publish a response, it can be found on our online consultation page.

Respondents were asked to identify whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation. Of the 72 responses received, 15 were from individuals and 57 were from organisations. A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1.

Table 1: Number and percentage of respondents by type
Number Percentage
Individual 15 21%
Organisation 57 79%
Total 72 100%

For those responding via Citizen Space , organisations were able to identify themselves according to one of five respondent types. Where an organisation did not use Citizen Space, a "best fit" approach was adopted where Scottish Government officials coded organisations based on knowledge of the organisations themselves and the information provided in the RIFs.

A breakdown of the number of organisational responses received by type is set out in Table 2 below. A full list of organisational respondents can be found in Annex A.

We received no returns from private businesses and only one response from the trade union community. The limited response from these sectors naturally impacts what we are able to report on in this analysis.

Table 2: Number and percentage of organisational respondents by type
Number Percentage
Local Government 2 3.5%
Academic and Education Institutes/Charities 3 5.3%
Professional and Representative Bodies 10 17.5%
Public Bodies 5 8.8%
Voluntary/Charity/Third Sector 34 59.6%
Parliamentary Committees 3 5.3%
Total 57 100%

Well over half of all respondents replied directly to each of the six questions in the consultation. Questions one and four (on the stated priorities, and on how to secure best value from public spending respectively) received the highest number of responses (over 80% in each case).

1.2 Analysis and reporting

This report presents a question by question analysis of the responses received. The questions asked in the consultation were open; as a result, the analytical approach we have taken is qualitative in nature.

All responses were screened to ensure that they were appropriate/valid. No organised campaign responses were received and there were no duplicate responses. While some organisational responses were similar in content, indicating an element of collaboration in the submission process, none were duplicated in their entirety. All were also submitted on behalf of separate bodies and were therefore counted as discrete responses.

Some respondents did not make their submission using the Citizen Space questionnaire but submitted their comments in a statement-style format. This content was analysed qualitatively under the most directly relevant consultation question.

We were provided with responses from three Scottish Parliament committees. Given the nature and format of these responses, we have considered them separately, and these are presented in Section 8 of this report.

As with all consultations, it is important to bear in mind that the views of those who have responded are not representative of the views of the wider population. Individuals (and organisations) who have a keen interest in a topic – and the capacity to respond – are more likely to participate in a consultation than those who do not. This self-selection means that the views of consultation participants cannot be generalised to the wider population.

With this in mind, the main purpose of our analysis is not to identify how many people or organisations held particular views, but rather to understand the full range of views expressed.

1.3 The external engagement programme

A series of virtual meetings were held focusing on particular issues outlined in the Framework. Meetings were held with stakeholders from think tanks, climate change organisations (youth and civil society), third sector organisations, public bodies, and the Equality Budget Advisory Group (EBAG). Participants were asked to contribute and share their views on the RSR. The meetings were chaired by Ministers and supported by Scottish Government officials. All engagements were held over Microsoft Teams to support wider attendance.

The meetings allowed for open dialogue between participants enabling them to freely express their views and provide ideas. Ministers and supporting officials guided the conversation but stressed that it was an opportunity for participants to express views rather than a question and answer session. At the end of each session, participants were thanked for their attendance and contributions, and were informed of the steps which would follow the engagement.

Following the roundtables, officials prepared succinct notes on key discussion points. The notes were shared with participants and attending Ministers for comment and approval. Following sign off from participants and Ministers, the notes were fed into the RSR process. All meeting notes can be found in Annex B-G.

It should be noted that some of those who took part in the external engagement sessions were attending as representatives of organisations that also submitted formal online consultation responses. While this may mean that there was duplication in some of the feedback received, especially relating to some organisations' interests, care was taken in reporting not to double count feedback given by the same organisations using the two different response formats.

In relation to terms used, this report refers to respondents when referring to those who have responded to the online consultation and participants when referring to those who attended and contributed to the series of six meetings.



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