Sustainable growth and efficiency progress report: 2015-2016

Steps taken to promote and increase sustainable economic growth and improve efficiency, effectiveness and economy in 2015 to 2016.

Sustainable Economic Growth

Scotland’s Economic Strategy (SES) sets out how the Scottish Government 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 2015-16, the Scottish Government 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. We:

  • Continued significant investment in 2015-16 (over £3.97 billion) in major infrastructure projects, including the Forth Replacement Crossing, Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, Borders Rail, A9 and A96 upgrading, Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, M8, M73 and M74 upgrading, 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 2015, with a value totalling £1.5 billion;
  • As well as delivering 6,518 new affordable homes in 2015-16, it is estimated that the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) supported over 6,000 construction and related jobs, and supported over £700 million of economic activity in that year;
  • Appointed an independent panel to carry out a review of the planning system. During 2015/16 the panel gathered extensive evidence from stakeholders on how to improve the planning system focusing on 6 themes including housing delivery, infrastructure and community engagement. The panel reported in May 2016;
  • 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. We are a full partner in all the City Region Deals agreed in Scotland so far, matching and in some cases exceeding the financial contributions made by the UK Government. In 2015/16, a £30 million grant – split evenly between the Scottish and UK Governments – was paid to Glasgow City Council as lead authority for the Glasgow City Region Deal;
  • Funded training opportunities - which included 25,818 Modern Apprenticeships in 2015-16, 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 £254 million to maintain free higher education for over 134,760 eligible students studying in Scotland;
  • Invested £282 million in university core research and knowledge exchange in 2015-16 through the Scottish Funding Council;
  • Supported 17,883 individuals and 301 unique employers during the year April 2015 until March 2016 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 around 100,000 properties across Scotland in 2015-16;
  • Attracted major international companies and new investment to Scotland, with planned inward investment from projects announced in 2015-16 amounting to £443 million, creating or safeguarding 7,090 planned jobs (2,211 High Value Added);
  • Supported business investment in Scotland through Regional Selective Assistance, with Scottish Enterprise having 65 offers of Regional Selective Assistance accepted in 2015-16, totalling over £17 million, relating to projects with planned capital expenditure of £99 million and the expected creation or safeguarding of 1,889 jobs;
  • Continued to provide the Scottish Loan Fund (SLF) and equity investment through the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), aimed at innovative technology based companies and established growth and exporting companies. In 2015-16, the SIB equity schemes invested £52.4 million in 133 companies, leveraging £277 million from private sector partners; SLF had distributed £66.5 million to 29 companies;
  • Extended the provision of expert advice and support for SMEs to consider “options” before seeking finance, through an extended Scotland wide Financial Readiness Programme so that a greater number and wider range of companies could benefit from the service, 418 companies were supported in 2015-16;
  • Continued to support the network of eight Innovation Centres which use academic expertise to address real world business issues and established the Ministerial-led Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum to promote collaboration and focus on increasing demand for, and investment in, business innovation. Through our Enterprise agencies, supported and created demand for business innovation, encouraging more companies to be innovation active;
  • Continued to take forward our Scotland’s Digital Future – Infrastructure Action Plan, including having invested £69.5 million in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme during 2015/16 to provide fibre broadband access to homes and business across the length and breadth of Scotland. At December 2016, the DSSB programme had brought fibre broadband access to over 700,000 premises and will extend to at least 95% of premises across Scotland by the end of 2017;
  • Continued with the £76 million Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) which was established in March 2015: a Scotland wide, cross-sector project development unit, to support the development and acceleration of over 100 low carbon infrastructure projects by 2018. As at January 2016, LCITP had provided financial support to 19 projects to help them accelerate the development of their capital projects;
  • 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. The First Minister set a further target of 500 Living Wage accredited employers by the end of March 2016 which was surpassed to reach 517 employers;
  • Provided an additional £119 million in revenue and £69 million in capital to local authorities in 2015-16 to support the delivery of 600 hours per year of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) entitlement for all three and four year olds, and around a quarter of two year olds, and to support greater levels of flexibility in ELC provision;
  • Promoted economic security through our policy of no-compulsory redundancies in the areas under our control;
  • Fully funded the Council Tax freeze for the eighth 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, building on earlier change funds to further strengthen our approach to tackling inequalities and mainstreaming prevention practice. For example, investing £100 million to support delivery of improved outcomes from health and social care integration; £8.5 million of transitional funding to further embed the strategic and structured approach to the early years at a local level; and up to £4 million per annum in 2015-16 and 16-17 to extend funding for Public-Social Partnership offender mentoring initiatives;
  • 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 2015-16 provides details of the efficiencies made by Scottish Government Directorates.  It confirms that the core Scottish Government delivered efficiencies of 4.58% (£81.55 million) in 2015-16.  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 and to report publicly on the actions undertaken and the results achieved.

The Scottish Government remains committed to improving and simplifying public services, in order to increase quality and to reduce costs, 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 17 public bodies and SEAS our accounts and payments system is provided to 26 public bodies making payments of £33 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 1000 buyer organisations and over 69,000 supplier registrations; Public Contract Scotland Tender, the national eSourcing platform that includes the European Single Procurement Document; Catalogue Content Management, the national hub that holds just over 6,700 catalogues detailing 1.7 million products and services available through collaborative contracts; PECOS the national purchase to pay system that has transacted over £5 billion of spend in the last year; the new eInvoicing solution that has captured over 31,300 invoices and delivered efficiency savings of approx £412,000; and The Scottish Procurement Management Information Hub which provides spend analysis to circa 102 public bodies in Scotland. The Directorate also provides the Procurement Journey which provides one source of guidance and documentation for the Scottish public sector which can be updated on a continual basis with any changes in legislation and policy facilitating best practice and consistency.  It provides best practice and consistency across the Scottish public sector.
  • In addition, use of Scottish Government-led collaborative frameworks and contracts has delivered significant savings on goods and services totalling £121 million across the Scottish Public Sector in 2015-16.  The core Scottish Government share of this saving is £22 million.  In addition the Scottish Government have saved £13.4 million on contracts providing bespoke goods and services, i.e. non-collaborative, bringing the total savings for SG to £35.4 million.
  • The Scottish Government’s Human Resources and Organisational Development Directorate provides a range of HR and payroll services to 27 public bodies.
  • Scottish Government ISIS currently provides SCOTS and other services to 54 public bodies at a value of £5.2 million per annum. This breaks down as:
    • £3.8 million for the provision of SCOTS
    • £1.4 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 £4.1 million in 2015-16.
  • Scottish Government Digital Transformation Service (DTS) provides high quality strategic advice to Public Sector Bodies and Scottish Government directorates and has been fully operational for a year. The demand for CGDTS services continues to grow. To date:

      o   Over 95 out of the 117 organisations across Central Government have expressed an interest in the services that DTS provides

o   A total of 104 Statements of Work (SoW) have been issued to clients though some did not take up the offer (12)

o   Of these 30 organisations have used our services through to completion (49 SoWs)

o   There are currently 25 SoWs where DTS are actively engaged with organisations

o   A further 12 Statements of Work are approaching sign-off with a view to commencing delivery

o   A further 13 more organisations have recently engaged with DTS.

  • The Talent Team which are currently part of DTS are responsible for identifying programmes to ensure that Scottish Government (SG) is developing the digital talent of the future. SG is undertaking a 2nd pilot of the Digital Academy in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions, with Central Government organisations and SG staff  in Feb/Mar 2017.  Operating this on a more  permanent basis in Scotland is currently being explored with a view to ensuring the courses delivered are relevant for Scottish delegates attending.   The ambition is to increase digital capability of all SG staff, to an agreed baseline.  
  • The Talent team have also developed a Skills Availability Matrix, which is a survey that helps identify the potential skills that a digital transformation team would require. This has been developed in response to demand from DTS partner organisations, and has been piloted within the DTS and 5 partner organisations.  The tool will enable organisations to understand whether to buy, build or borrow digital talent The skills matrix is currently being tailored for use on the Social Security programme to assess new employees and will be used to recruit additional staff later in the year.
  • 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 continually assessing our processes and to better support the many facets of collaboration and shared services and how this can leverage the benefits of our service investments.


Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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