Enterprise and Skills Board: strategic plan

This full plan provides clarity around strategic direction to enterprise and skills agencies and a blueprint to Government to turn up the dial on productivity and drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

5. Next Steps for the Board

The outcomes from the initial four missions set out a clear direction for the agencies. They create a positive agenda for transforming performance as attention turns to delivery, and the Board looks to the Scottish Government to incorporate these recommendations within Letters of Guidance to the agencies. Specifically, the actions and recommendations are designed around those critical areas where evidence suggests there is potential for Scotland to close the productivity gap with the top OECD countries.

The next steps for the Board itself can be characterised as:

1. Implementing the actions within the plan

2. Promoting the development of the processes and culture to ensure delivery of commitments, improved performance and deeper collaboration, and

3. Continuing to look ahead to future opportunities.

The Board will adopt a proportionate programme management approach to oversee the implementation of the actions and recommendations (where applicable) within this plan. It will monitor and report on progress with delivery - as well as measuring impact and outcomes - through the performance framework and other tools. The nature of the proposals means that some can be progressed immediately while others will naturally take longer to implement.

A more streamlined and co-ordinated approach to providing strategic guidance to the agencies will also help embed the aims of the Strategic Board. Again, this new approach will be implemented later this year through Letters of Guidance to the agencies and will influence the more aligned agency plans due for publication in spring next year.

In addition, there are elements of the plan which call for a movement for change, notably towards a national culture of entrepreneurship and innovative business models and practices. This goes far beyond the agencies, and will be enabled by more businesses recognising the advantages of pursuing new ways of doing things, and then embracing enhanced working practices. The Board and agencies will continue to build relationships with others to expand on our 'Team Scotland' approach.

The building blocks for improvement

System improvements can come through a number of routes:

  • Driving greater impact through individual interventions
  • Reprioritising resources to those interventions that represent best value for money
  • Increasing alignment and collaboration
  • Simplifying support and putting the customer first

The Strategic Board will use each of the above through a combination of effective strategic planning, evidence-led performance reporting, closer alignment with Scottish Government policy priorities, and overseeing a culture of collaboration across agency activity.

The strategic direction set in this plan takes a lead from Scotland's Economic Strategy, the National Performance Framework and the priorities in the recent Programme for Government. In turn, this direction - in conjunction with consistent letters of guidance - will be used to guide the strategic and operational planning processes of the agencies.

The Board will continue to explore opportunities to drive sustainable and inclusive growth, and is keen to hear the views of others as to other areas of potential. The initial set of four missions in no way represents the extent of the Board's ambitions in transforming Scotland's economic performance, and there is potential for new missions and other approaches to address other priorities identified by the Board in the future.

Engagement will be ongoing with the agencies, government (national and local), partners and, in particular, customers including businesses and learners. as we move into this next phase.

A regular review of this plan will incorporate that learning and feedback.

As with businesses themselves, the Board is also alive to the need to adapt its approach based on lessons learned. It will continue to identify the key data and analytical requirements to inform the future work programme and expand the capacity of the Analytical Unit to service that demand. An early example will be to increase the evidence on key parameters such as the rate of return against activities.

Finally, to continue implementing a customer focus across all aspects of support, the Board will explore how it can extend the customer journey approach into wider relevant areas. The Board looks forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to identify the biggest opportunities.

What should this mean for you?

  • If you are a business looking to grow, innovate or internationalise and are seeking support, it will be easier for you to access simple, smart and streamlines support to help reach your potential
  • For budding entrepreneurs with aspirations to start a new business, you will have support at every stage of your journey
  • For everyone - whatever stage of your career you will have easy access to the learning opportunities you need to develop the skills to thrive in a changing labour market
  • For our agencies it means working together to deliver a seamless, joined up system that competes with the best in the world
  • For colleges, universities and training providers, it means ensuring our skills provision better matches the demand from both industry and learners

Strategic Board, October 2018

Nora Senior (Chair), UK Regions & Ireland, Weber Shandwick

Wendy Alexander - University of Dundee

Karen Betts - Scotch Whisky Association

Liz Cameron - Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Mike Cantlay - Scottish Funding Council

Sara Carter - University of Strathclyde

Lorne Crerar - Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Audrey Cumberford - Edinburgh College

Jeanette Forbes - PCL Group

Russel Griggs - South of Scotland Economic Partnership

Poonam Gupta - PG Paper Company

Steven Heddle - COSLA

Bob Keiller - Scottish Enterprise

John McClelland - Skills Development Scotland

Gerry McCusker - Dog Digital, BIMA Scotland

Scott McLarty - Spirit Aerosystems

Grahame Smith - STUC



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