Sustainable growth and efficiency progress report 2014-2015

Steps taken to promote and increase sustainable economic growth and improve efficiency, effectiveness and economy in 2014-15

Sustainable economic growth

Scotland's Economic Strategy (SES) sets out how we will continue to make full use of the levers currently devolved to the Scottish Parliament in order to deliver on the Purpose established in 2007:

  • to focus the Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth

The approach set out in the SES is focussed on two interdependent pillars for achieving the Scottish Government's purpose: increasing competitiveness, and tackling inequality.

The SES also identifies four priority areas for policy to focus on: Investment, Innovation, Inclusive Growth and Internationalisation.

During 2014-15, we continued to take forward a range of targeted initiatives to build on the positive growth seen over the previous year and to help mitigate the impact of on-going uncertainty in global economic conditions on the Scottish economy.


  • continued significant investment (£4 billion) in major infrastructure projects, including the Forth Replacement Crossing, the New South Glasgow Hospitals and Scotland's Schools for the Future Programme, alongside progressing a wide range of other projects
  • completed and brought into use infrastructure projects included in the Infrastructure Investment Plan in 2014, with a value totalling almost £750 million. In addition, projects totalling more than £75 million completed construction in 2014 and became operational early in 2015
  • as well as delivering 7069 new affordable homes in 2014-15, the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) supports around 8,000 construction and related jobs, and generates around £1 billion of economic activity during each year that it operates
  • published the Third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy on 23 June 2014, and received a national award for Planning for Infrastructure from Royal Town Planning Institute in 2015. Implementation is being progressed through the NPF3 Action Programme and ensuring compliance with national policy in development plans
  • continued to work collaboratively with our cities through the Scottish Cities Alliance which is building collaborative investment propositions to attract new sources of funding and create jobs
  • Funded training opportunities - which included 25,247 Modern Apprenticeships in 2014-15, as well as delivering the Opportunities for All commitment to an offer of an appropriate place in learning or training for those 16-19 year olds not already engaged in education, training or employment
  • Provided a total of £219 million to maintain free higher education for over 129,000 eligible students studying in Scotland
  • Provided a total of £379 million for Higher Education Research and Knowledge Exchange including the Innovation Centres programme and other strategic research and knowledge exchange projects
  • Supported 12,161 individuals and 252 unique employers over 392 sites during the year April 2014 until March 2015 through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative, to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work
  • Continued to deliver the Small Business Bonus Scheme which is estimated to have removed or reduced the business rates burden for over 96,000 properties across Scotland in 2014-15
  • attracted major international companies and new investment to Scotland, with planned inward investment from projects announced in 2014-15 amounting to £433 million, creating or safeguarding 9,658.5 planned jobs (3,192 HVA)
  • Supported business investment in Scotland through Regional Selective Assistance, with Scottish Enterprise having 121 offers of Regional Selective Assistance accepted in 2014-15, totalling over £57.8 million and which are anticipated to create / safeguard 8,991 jobs
  • invested in young innovative companies. In 2014-15, the Scottish Investment Bank's (SIB) invested £60 million, including European Regional Development Funds, in 144 companies, leveraging an additional £99 million from private sector partners
  • Supported growth and exporting companies with access to loans, from £250,000 to £5 million through the SIB's £113 million Scottish Loan Fund, which distributed just over £55 million
  • Published the Scotland CAN DO Action Framework in April 2014, which sets out the key actions and priorities for achieving Scotland's ambition to become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation
  • Continued to take forward our Scotland's Digital Future – Infrastructure Action Plan, including having invested around £120 million in supporting Highlands and Islands Enterprise and BT roll out next generation broadband to the Highlands and Islands completing in 2016 and investing around £157.6 million in the Rest of Scotland project to deliver fibre broadband to over 700,000 homes and businesses in 130,000 postcode areas completing in 2017
  • Established the £76 million Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) – a Scotland wide, cross-sector project development unit, to support the development and acceleration of over 100 low carbon infrastructure projects by 2018
  • Took forward our National Renewables Infrastructure Plan and other actions to support growth in the Scottish renewables industry, including continued investment in renewables through the £103 million Renewable Energy Investment Fund
  • Confirmed an additional £200,000 of funding for the Poverty Alliance to promote take up of the Living Wage Accreditation Scheme and increase the number of employers across Scotland paying the Living Wage. Achieved the target of at least 150 accredited employers by the end of 2015 eight months ahead of schedule, and FM set a further target of 500 Living Wage accredited employers by the end of March 2016
  • took action to expand funded early learning and childcare for all three and four year olds, and the most disadvantaged two year olds, to 600 hours per week through investment of £329 million over 2014-15 to 2015-16
  • Promoted economic security through our policy of no-compulsory redundancies in the areas under our control
  • Continued the council tax freeze for a seventh year in a row to help support households at a time when household incomes have been under pressure
  • Continued to support the shift to preventative approaches, through investing £500 million in three Change Funds over the period 2012-13 to 2014-15
  • took significant steps to address the effects of poor health on the economy by investing in alcohol and drug misuse treatment and prevention and improving health outcomes, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer

Efficiency, effectiveness and economy activity

The Scottish Government Efficiencies Report for 2014 to 2015 provides details of the efficiencies made by Scottish Government Directorates. It confirms that the core Scottish Government delivered efficiencies of 4.8% (£85.0 million) in 2014-15. Ministers have made clear their expectation that all public sector bodies in Scotland deliver efficiencies of at least 3% each year during the course of the current spending review.

The Scottish Government is committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of the public sector to ensure that our public services work with maximum efficiency, delivering maximum benefit to all the people of Scotland. By operating more efficiently, public bodies, including the core Scottish Government, release resources which can be recycled into supporting public services.

The Scottish Government provides a range of services for organisations within the public sector.

  • Scottish Government Finance and Internal Audit provides Internal Audit assurance to 15 public bodies and SEAS our accounts and payments system is provided to 30 public bodies making payments of £32 billion per year.
  • Scottish Procurement and Commercial Directorate provides a suite of eCommerce / eProcurement systems and supporting user groups and networks to Scottish Government and Central Government Agencies; NHS; Local Authorities, Universities and Colleges. This includes: Public Contracts Scotland, the national advertising portal with over 450 buyer organisations and over 65,000 supplier registrations; Public Contract Scotland Tender, the national eSourcing platform that includes standardised Qualification Questions that suppliers can save and re-use responses for; Catalogue Content Management, the national hub that holds nearly 7,000 catalogues detailing 1.8 million products and services available through collaborative contracts; PECOS the national purchase to pay system that has transacted over £5.5 billion of spend in the last year; the new eInvoicing solution that has captured over 10,300 invoices and delivered efficiency savings of over £168,000; and The Scottish Procurement Management Information Hub which provides spend analysis and best practice indicators to circa 106 public bodies in Scotland.
  • In addition, use of Scottish Government-led collaborative frameworks and contracts has delivered significant savings on goods and services totalling £113.3 million across the Scottish Public Sector in 2014-15. The core Scottish Government share of this saving is £23 million. In addition the Scottish Government have saved £27.6 million on contracts providing bespoke goods and services, i.e. non-collaborative, bringing the total savings for SG to £50.6 million.
  • The Scottish Government's Human Resources and Organisational Development Directorate provides a range of HR and payroll services to 25 public bodies.
  • Scottish Government ISIS currently provides SCOTS and other services to 58 public bodies at a value of £5.4 million per annum. This breaks down as: £3.6 million for the provision of SCOTS and £1.8 million for the provision of 'Other Services' (e.g. Data Centre, Off-SCOTS Environment, virtual application hosting, systems management, etc.)
  • Scottish Government Facilities Services provide various services to a range of public sector bodies (including NHS and the Scottish Court Service) in its buildings. This brought in income of £4 million in 2014-15.

The Scottish Government realises the benefits of collaboration in the efficient delivery of public services and participates with the wider Scottish Public Sector in developing information and guidance on the benefits of collaboration and shared services. We are currently reviewing our processes and methods for communicating information to better support the many facets of collaboration and shared services and how this can leverage the benefits of our service investments.

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