We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site


This is an archived section of the Scottish Government website. External links, forms and search may not work on archived pages and content/contact details are likely to be out of date.

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

SP Two columns

Current Status

There were 145 public bodies in December 2011 (including the Sentencing Council which is on the baseline list but has not yet been brought into being), compared to the baseline value of 199. This represents a total reduction of 54 public bodies, 28 of which are a direct result of the Scottish Government's Simplification Programme.

More on public bodies

National Indicator


Reduce the number of Scottish public bodies by 25% by 2011

Reduce the number of Scottish public bodies by 25% by 2011

<Previous : Next>

Why is this National Indicator important?

Scotland has a complex and often confusing landscape of national public bodies - 199 in total. The Scottish Government believes that this is too many for a country of Scotland's size and can lead to inefficiency, unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication/overlap within and between organisations.

Ensuring that Scotland has well run, cost effective public services is essential for Scotland's competitiveness and overall economic performance. This is even more important in the current economic climate. Making sure that the landscape of public bodies is proportionate and effective is a key element of the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy. This means ensuring that Scotland has the right number and configuration of public bodies necessary to deliver first class public services and providing value for the public pound.

Changes to the size, shape and effectiveness of the public bodies landscape are being progressed through the Scottish Government's Simplification Programme which is committed to delivering a 25% reduction in the number of national public bodies by 2011.

This National Indicator tracks and demonstrates progress towards achieving that target.

What will influence this National Indicator?

To date, changes to the public bodies landscape, have been delivered without the need for legislation. However, further changes will require the approval of the Scottish Parliament. Provisions to deliver these changes will be included in two Bills:

  • The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill; and
  • Children's Hearings (Scotland) Bill.

What is the Government's role?

Following the First Minister's statement on the 30 January 2008, the Scottish Government has been, and is continuing to working closely with stakeholders, directly affected organisations, management teams, staff and Unions in order to deliver the changes outlined.

The Scottish Government is responsible for the presentation of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill and the Children's Hearings Bill to the Scottish Parliament.

How are we performing?

The number of national public bodies reduced from 146 in September 2011 to 145 in December 2011 (including the Sentencing Council which is on the baseline list but has not yet been brought into being).

The overall number of public bodies in December has fallen from the baseline position of 199 to 145 (including the Sentencing Council which is on the baseline list but has not yet been brought into being). This includes:

1) A net reduction of 28 public bodies as a direct result of the Simplification Programme:

Scottish Building Standards Agency

Scottish Agricultural Science Agency into Scottish Government

Mental Health Tribunal Agency

Fisheries Research Service

Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency

Rowett Research Institute

Scottish Institute of Sport

HM Fire Services Inspectorate for Scotland

Scottish University for Industry, Careers Scotland and most of the skills and training functions of the enterprise networks

Scottish Civil Enforcement Commission

Health Procurement HUB

Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen - abolished and replaced by Creative Scotland

Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board

Scottish Records Advisory Council

Deer Commission for Scotland

Advisory Committee on Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Building Standards Advisory Committee

Historic Environment Advisory Council

Office of the Scottish Prison Complaints Commissioner

Fisheries (Electricity) Committee

General Register Office for Scotland and National Archives of Scotland - merged into National Records of Scotland

Social Work Inspection Agency and the Care Commision - became Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland

Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland and the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner - become Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

Scottish Crop Research Institute and Macaulay Institute - merged to form the James Hutton Institute

Sustainable Development Commission in Scotland

HMIE and Learning and Teaching Scotland - brought together to form Education Scotland

Waterwatch Scotland - dissolved and functions transferred to Scottish Public Service Ombudsman and Consumer Focus Scotland

Scottish Commission for Public Audit

2) The reduction of 26 Justice of the Peace Advisory Committees, taken forward by the previous Administration, but which did not come into effect until December 2007.


Simple count - a reduction in the number of public bodies suggests the position is improving, with any increase resulting in a worsening arrow. If the number of public bodies remains the same this will result in a maintaining arrow.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Simplification Programme Tracker

Who are our partners?

National Public Bodies


Trade Unions


Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer



Safer and Stronger





Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected