The Local Government and Regeneration Committee of the Scottish Parliament undertakes an annual examination of the development of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework. This was developed by the Improvement Service (IS) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executive’s (SOLACE Scotland), to assist Scottish local authorities to improve their delivery of public services.
The Local Government and Regeneration Committee has agreed to take evidence from Improvement Scotland and SOLACE Scotland on progress towards a local government benchmarking framework at its meeting on 24 February 2016.
Further information on the local government benchmarking framework is available here
To help inform this session, the Committee is inviting comments on the following questions—
1 - How often do you use the Local Government Benchmarking Framework?
2 - In what ways do you use the Framework to see how your local authority is performing?
3 - What further data would you find helpful and what would help you to make use of the data in the Framework?
The call for views is now closed. Read the responses here:
Written responses on Local Government Benchmarking Framework (1271KB pdf)
Solace and Improvement Service (1163KB pdf)
Accounts Commission (1119KB pdf)
The Committee wrote to organisations and individuals involved in the inquiry:
The Convener to Colin Mair, Chief Executive, Improvement Service (99KB pdf)
The Convener to David O'Neill, President, Scottish Convention of Local Authorties (85KB pdf)
The Convener to Malcolm Burr, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers Scotland (98KB pdf)
The Convener to Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment (35KB pdf)
Organisations responded to the Committee's letters:
COSLA to the Committee regarding letter from 8 March (96KB pdf)
The National Benchmarking Overview Report for 2014/15 is available here.
Following the evidence session on 25 March, the Committee wrote to SOLACE and IS for further information. Read the letter here:
Call for views (closed)
The Committee issued a call for views on the Benchmarking system in February 2015 (with a closing date of 13 March). Views received will be taken into account when IS and SOLACE Scotland give evidence to the Committee on on 25 March 2015 on the benchmarking system.
Read the responses here (272KB pdf).
The below information and questions were those asked in the call for views:
(Please let us know what capacity you are responding in, i.e. as a private individual; as a local authority councillor; as a member of a voluntary body or other stakeholder etc.).
The Committee also wanted to know—
- Were you aware of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework?
- Would you use the Framework to see how your local authority is performing?
- What would help you to make use of the data in the Framework?
What is the Framework?
Benchmarking is an improvement process that helps organisations understand how they perform in comparison to other relevant organisations. To work well it needs to be a systematic and rigorous process designed to help organisations learn together.
The Local Government Benchmarking Framework contains a wide range of information about how all Scottish councils perform in delivering better services to local communities, including the cost of services and how satisfied citizens are with them.
The Third National Overview Report highlights the national trends across all areas of the Framework. The Framework website also has a useful “FAQ” section.
The data on the framework can be accessed either through the “my local council” tool, or the more technical data by indicator.
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) produced a fact sheet on the Benchmarking Framework in 2013. Please read it for further information:
Using the data
The Framework notes that: “When looking at the information on this site, you should bear in mind that Scottish councils are democratically elected bodies which represent very diverse communities in terms of geography, population, deprivation levels and community needs. The information presented here should be read and understood in that context, as some of the variation highlighted by the data is significantly affected by such differences between communities.”
Bearing this in mind, there are a number of issues that you can consider when looking at the data in the Framework:
- The reasons why performance varies between councils, especially similar councils.
- How councils use the data to assess their own way of doing things, and how they learn from other similar councils.
- How service users could use the data to assess their council’s performance.
To assist with using the data, below are some examples of the indicators, one for each of the seven major service areas of local authorities. These are only a small snapshot of the depth and breadth of information in the Framework and are intended to give a snapshot of what is available.
At it's meeting on 20 August 2014, the Committee took evidence from local authorities on the local government benchmarking system. Read the meeting papers, Official Report and Minutes for that meeting here:
At it's meeting on 16 January 2013, the Committee took evidence on public services reform and local government: strand 2 – benchmarking and performance measurement from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. Read the meeting papers, Official Report and Minutes for that meeting here:
In 2012, the Committee carried out a small enquiry on 'Public Services Reform and Local Government in Scotland: Strand 2 - Benchmarking and Performance Measurement'. For further details, see the following link: