Improving access to accountability of public services - engagement: final report

Final report and recommendations from commitment 4 of the Open Government National Action Plan: improving peoples’ access to accountability of public services. This work identified common journeys and barriers to accessing accountability in Scotland.

Introduction - Project Overview

Summary of the brief

Scotland is a member of the Open Government Partnership, an international collaboration of over 90 governments across the world committed to three key principles of openness, transparency and public involvement. In delivering on these principles, the Scottish Government, COSLA, and the wider public, have partnered to take forward Scotland's second National Open Government Action Plan, 2018-20.

In September 2019, Snook were commissioned by the Scottish Government to conduct research with the diverse residents of Scotland, exploring Commitment 4 of the Open Government National Action Plan: improving citizens' access to accountability of public services.

Through national public engagement activities, Snook captured the real stories and experiences of public service accountability from a representative selection of Scottish residents. The main barriers to accessing accountability of public services in Scotland were identified and, through engagement with service delivery, civic society, scrutiny bodies, and wider decision making representatives, these were translated into opportunities for improvement.

Snook's qualitative investigation is complemented by a quantitative survey study conducted by Citizens Advice Scotland and YouGov, which outlines an overview of the public's understanding and experiences of complaints processes in Scotland.

Intended outputs and adjustments

Intended project outputs included opportunities for 'tests of change'. These would address the most significant challenges and barriers in accessing effective accountability experienced by people living in Scotland.

The establishment of a People's Panel was required to then prototype and test pilot solutions with a representative sample of Scottish residents. Due to the constraints of COVID-19, the project was unable to establish the People's Panel. Instead, two digital stakeholder events were hosted to develop propositions for solution development: one with service delivery representatives, and another with public sector and civic society representatives and scrutiny bodies.

About this report

This report outlines the methodology and findings from the research, along with a set of recommendations for further action. These will be considered by the Scottish Government and the Open Government Commitment 4 Collaborative Working Group, to inform next steps in delivery and the development and testing of pilot solutions.

The findings from this report are reflective of the public's experiences and perceptions of access to accountability of public services in Scotland, and representative of the individuals who participated in the research.

If you have further inquiries about the report, please contact Zoë Prosser at



Back to top