Public services reform: Strand 3 - developing new ways of delivering services

 

Remit

This is the final strand in the Committee's three strand examination on public services reform and local government in Scotland.

The remit of this inquiry it to examine progress in relation to: the development of shared services and other innovative ways of achieving economies of scale and: harnessing the strengths and skills of key public sector partners to deliver the best possible quality services in local areas.

Timetable

The Local Government and Regeneration Committee launched its call for written evidence (154KB pdf), on its inquiry on public services reform: Strand 3 - developing new ways of delivering services, on 9 November 2012. The call for evidence closed on 25 January 2013. The committee took oral evidence on the inquiry between 30 January and 1 May 2013, and published its report on the inquiry on 26 June 2013.

Evidence

Strand 3 call for written evidence

This call for evidence closed on Friday 25th January 2013.

  • Public Services Reform: Strand 3 - call for evidence (154KB pdf)

Background

In December 2011 the Committee commenced work on a three-strand inquiry into public services reform. Each strand examines specific aspects of public services reform, with a specific focus on local government in Scotland. The intention of this approach was to allow the evidence gathered during each strand, to inform the subsequent strands of the inquiry. The remit and objectives for each of the strands are:

  • Strand 1 – Partnerships and outcomes: To examine the ongoing development of community planning partnerships and the community planning process, and assess how these could be built upon to support outcome-based approaches to service planning and delivery in local areas. This strand consisted of written and oral evidence, and the Committee reported on Strand 1 on 22 June 2012;
  • Strand 2 – Benchmarking and performance measurement: To examine the development of work that has taken place over the last two years in relation to the development of benchmarking and comparative performance data and cost measurement, and assess how it can contribute to the performance of local authorities in Scotland. This strand consisted of a day-long Parliamentary seminar with key stakeholders in September 2012, followed by targeted follow-up oral evidence sessions. The Committee reported on Strand 2 on 28 November 2012 (705KB pdf);
  • Strand 3 – Developing new ways of delivering services: To examine progress in relation to the development of shared services and other innovative ways of achieving economies of scale and harnessing the strengths and skills of key public sector partners to deliver the best possible quality services in local areas. The Committee launched this strand in November 2012. The Committee reported on Strand 3 on 26 June 2013 (1.56MB pdf).

The Committee issued an initial call for written evidence on all three-strands in December 2011. This call for evidence closed on 17 February 2012. Responses to that call for evidence are available online.

As many of the initial responses tended to focus on the first and second strands of the inquiry, and a year has passed since the Committee sought written evidence, a fresh call for evidence focussing on strand 3 alone, was launched in November 2012. This closed on 25 January 2013, and submissions received have been published on the inquiry website.

The Committee has also published a summary of the written evidence received: 

The following submissions were received in response to the Committee's call for evidence on Strand 3 of the inquiry:

Oral evidence

The Committee took oral evidence at its meetings on 30 January, 20 March, 27 March, 15 April, 24 April and 1 May.

Read the meeting papers and Official Reports 

Written submissions were received from witnesses in advance of giving oral evidence:

Report

The Committee published its report on Strand 3 of its inquiry on Wednesday 26th June 2013

Debate

On Tuesday 26 February the Parliament debated the work of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee on public services reform in Scotland. The motion for the debate was as follows:

“Inquiry into Public Services Reform: Developing New Ways of Delivering Services

S4M-05612 in the name of Kevin Stewart MSP on behalf of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee - That the Parliament recognises the importance of the work of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee in its inquiry into public services reform; welcomes its examination, at strand 3 of the inquiry, of progress being made in relation to the development of shared services, other innovative ways of achieving economies of scale and harnessing the strengths and skills of key public sector partners to deliver the best possible quality services in local areas, and notes that the committee’s work is designed to build on its earlier inquiry reports, at strand 1, into partnerships and outcomes and, at strand 2, into progress on benchmarking and performance measurement.”

Read the Official Report for the debate

Additional Information

Committee Adviser

The Committee has appointed Bill Howat as adviser to the inquiry.

Information on local authority savings plans

As part of the PSR inquiry the Committee wrote all local authorities in early 2013 requesting information on the approach have taken to both short and long term budget planning since late 2009, when local authorities, COSLA and the Scottish Government began joint planning for future budget reductions. The Committee asked local authorities to respond to the following questions—

1. Can you describe the approach that your local authority has taken to both short-term and long-term budget planning since the onset of the financial crisis? For example, has your local authority taken a “zero-based” approach, or has it set out a range of options for savings? Please supply any relevant supporting documentation, for example copies of any budget planning exercises etc.

2. Can you describe the consultation that your local authority undertook on your budget plans, both with stakeholders, and the general public?

3. How have the outcomes of your consultation fed into and influenced your budget plans?

4. What involvement has there been from external consultants/advisers in your budget planning, and what influence has this involvement had on your final plans?

SPICe has produced a summary of the responses received—

The Committee received responses from 23 local authorities—