The Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD)

The vision for the Scottish Approach to Service Design is that the people of Scotland are supported and empowered to actively participate in the definition, design and delivery of their public services (from policy making to live service improvement).

Creating the right culture

Designing with, not for, is the basis of our approach. This means giving citizens, service staff, and public sector organisations the opportunity to be involved in designing the services, and making them part of the design team.

This includes staff working day-to-day in the service, and also the people who make decisions about how the service is designed and delivered.

We know we need to look beyond organisational boundaries if we want Scotland’s public services to work for users. By enabling collaboration with staff and citizens alike, we can gain a richer understanding of organisational needs (in addition to user needs), and uncover actionable insights that help foster effective links between different organisations involved in delivering a service.

Collaborative decision making

Designing collaboratively involves taking the needs of stakeholders into account at all stages - from how you plan your time to how you deliver your service. It’s about modelling, and embedding, a culture of collaboration in projects.

As well as designing with users, it’s also about empowering them to be part of the decision making process.

Having an active design mindset means understanding how the individual decisions you make about parts of a service can influence the overall design of a service.

Your design process should make it as easy as possible for all users to:

  • understand the problem or current service, so everyone can decide how best to approach solving the problem together
  • work with staff, other service users and other members of the public
  • invest their time, knowledge and skills in engaging design activities


Back to top