Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation

Sets out the priorities for Scotland’s economy as well as the actions needed to maximise the opportunities of the next decade to achieve our vision of a wellbeing economy.

This document is part of a collection

7. A Culture of Delivery

Success demands a culture of delivery and accountability in which objectives are shared and responsibilities are clearly allocated and accepted across the public, private and third sector.

7.1 Our Aim

To ensure we successfully deliver the interconnected policy programmes of action set out in this strategy and transform the way in which the Government and business listen to, support and work with each other.

7.2 The Opportunity

Achieving the ambition set out in this strategy is critically important for Scotland.

Success demands a culture of delivery and accountability in which objectives are shared and responsibilities are clearly allocated and accepted across the public, private and third sector. These must be built on a willingness to challenge and to adapt any aspect of this strategy that does not deliver and to draw on the strengths of people and organisations from all sectors of the economy in what is commonly described as a "Team Scotland" approach.

It requires strong leadership in the public and private sectors, with leaders working across these boundaries and learning lessons from the innovative approaches that have been implemented by other organisations, such as the third sector.

To deliver this strategy businesses need access to a range of support that is designed around the requirements of businesses and innovators, not the internal structures of the public sector, as well as increased access to investment, improved connectivity and stronger skills pipelines. Government needs actions from business such as investment in improving productivity, innovation, support for skills training as well as data on outcomes. This strategy should act as a compass to guide the actions of all partners.

Our enterprise and skills organisations work well together and have made real strides towards collaborative working, however our future economy requires us to radically rethink and reform the way in which they operate. We need to build a new model that reaches every community, rural or urban, and connects people and businesses with the support they need and leverages private sector networks, at home and abroad, in a more efficient way. This includes new tailored support for businesses with alternative ownership models, including cooperatives and social enterprises as well as in our rural and island areas, and we need more effective data and feedback on what our support delivers.

The state will continue to play a crucial role in making mission-based public investments and will do so in a way that drives forward wider innovation. Whilst government has shown we can take effective action with partners, for example developing Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc when faced with the closure of the previous Michelin factory, we need to bring the same purpose and energy to new opportunities like ScotWind.

And when businesses in Scotland achieve individual success we need to ensure that the success of one business reinforces another so that when our economy does well Scotland as a whole does well.

It will take time to deliver, but the prize is enormous.

7.3 Foundations of Success

Successful delivery of this strategy will require all of our partners to work together. These include:

  • Scottish Government Ministers and officials.
  • Industry Leadership Groups and sectoral organisations who will develop and deliver sectoral strategies aligned to this strategy.
  • Scotland's businesses and entrepreneurs who have a right to expect that the services we provide will be designed around their needs and who in turn will invest in improving productivity and providing Fair Work.
  • Regional Economic Partnerships which ensure that all of Scotland's regions are able to maximise their potential (see Box F).
  • business organisations which represent the views of businesses and play the role of a critical friend to government as well as being an active partner in policy development and implementation, as confirmed by the Partnership Principles Agreement.[23]
  • trade unions who give a voice to Scotland's workers and are central to the delivery of an economic model in which everybody has the opportunity to participate and share in its success.
  • local government and our agencies, including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Business Gateway.
  • third sector groups, including local community organisations which are best placed to identify the actions and opportunities that matter to them and ensure that they share in economic success.
  • further and higher education institutions which supply the skills and research base that drive economic transformation and are key economic actors in their own right.
  • Scotland's international networks, including alumni, the Scottish diaspora, Global Scots and Scottish businesses, Scottish Development International's and the Scottish Government's own international networks.

7.4 Our Programme of Action

Project 16: Strengthen Accountability and Transparency

Who / We will

Government, Public Sector, Business and Partners

Restructure the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board so that it becomes the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) Delivery Board. The newly structured NSET Board will be co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy and a figure from the private sector, will include worker representatives and will hold to account the public sector, business and third sector partners for the delivery of this strategy (see Figure 4).


Establish a Scottish Government Economic Leadership Group. Ministerial group to be chaired by the First Minister to ensure the public sector is delivering on its contribution to this strategy.

Government and Public Sector

Introduce a common accountability framework with delivery partners with senior named leaders both inside and outside the Scottish Government responsible for delivering specific programmes, including establishing key milestones and agreeing metrics of success.

Government and Public Sector

Provide multi-year budgets through Resource Spending Reviews to provide greater certainty for business and delivery partners enabling industry to develop complementary programmes in support of their actions.

Government, Public Sector, Business and Partners

Ensure the NSET Board has the best available data, drawn from the public sector, academic and private sources.

Figure 4: Governance Structure
Diagram showing the Governance Structure of the National Strategy. Scottish Government sits at the head of the governance structure, and is responsible for policy development. The NSET delivery board, co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy and a figure from the private sector,  feeds into the Scottish Government, providing scrutiny and accountability. The Scottish Government Economic Leadership Group, chaired by the First Minister, also provides scrutiny and accountability and feeds into the NSET delivery board, along with the NSET Workstream leads who are accountable for the successful delivery of each NSET workstream. Partners (Enterprise and Skills Agencies, Business Gateway, Local Authorities, Regional Economic Partnerships, The Scottish National Investment Bank, Third Sector, Further and Higher Education Institutions, Industry Leadership groups Trade Unions and Business Organisations) feed into NSET workstream leads and also cover delivery. However partners also directly feed into Scottish Government by inputting into future policy development.

Project 17: Transform the Way Support is Delivered to People and Businesses across Scotland

Who / We will

Government and Public Sector

Establish a programme to radically transform the way in which the public sector in Scotland provides support for workers and businesses. Building on the work of the Business Support Partnership, this includes reviewing the products and services available, tailoring them to reflect the priorities of the strategy, and targeting grant support to delivery of local and national aims. It will provide businesses with greater clarity on the support they can expect at a local, regional, national and international level through clear and consistent communication.

Government and Public Sector

Ensure that strategic guidance to our key delivery agencies aligns with the priorities and delivers the programmes of action set out in this strategy and is consistent with multi-year budgeting that will allow delivery partners to plan ahead.

Government, Public Sector, Business and Partners

Target support more effectively to businesses in every region of Scotland by introducing common data sets and systems to be used by every delivery partner. Work with business customers to design and develop the model and the supporting technical and data architecture for future services.

Government, Public Sector, Business and Partners

Work with stakeholders to consider how regulation can be used to support economic and societal aims and use this work to continuously improve the approach to regulation and guidance in the future.

Project 18: Measure Success

Who / We will

Government, Public Sector, Business and Partners

Finalise detailed delivery plans within six months of publication of the strategy, setting out how the programmes will be taken forward, demonstrating collaborative working with business. These will be strongly aligned with other strategic delivery plans, including the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, and will be published and overseen by the NSET Delivery Board. We will ensure delivery plans and their actions take full account of different regional circumstances, especially in rural and island areas.

Government and Public Sector

Publish an annual progress report from the NSET board in order to enhance public accountability. The report will include equalities monitoring.

Government and Public Sector

Publish a wellbeing economy monitor, to build on Scotland's leading work on integrating wellbeing into its measurements and policy development and monitor how we are performing as a wellbeing economy (see Box A).

Government and Public Sector

Ensure a consistent approach to evaluation to drive continuous improvement and greater understanding of the return on investment and assessing the impact of support which will guide future spending decisions. This will scrutinise the performance of public sector investments and operating budgets over a longer time period, avoiding the risks of "stop start" initiatives or those that fail to translate to action at scale.



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