The Finance Committee report on the Scottish Spending Review 2011 and Draft Budget 2012–13 has welcomed the Scottish Government’s emphasis on preventative spending and the £500 million funding of three new Funds.
These are defined as a continuation of the Change Fund; Early Years and Early Intervention Change Fund; and Reducing Reoffending Change Fund. However, the Committee notes that some witnesses have cautioned that it is too early to say that this amounts to a “decisive shift” to preventative spending as stated by the Government.
The Committee is therefore looking for clarity on whether the £500 million funding will come from new money or existing expenditure. It also wants to know who will manage each of the three Funds and what outcomes have been set by the Government.
The Committee also recognises that public-sector organisations are looking for greater direction and guidance from the Scottish Government on how to ensure the “decisive shift” towards preventative spending becomes a reality through greater integrated working and fewer silo mentalities.
Committee Convener Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s budget and its emphasis on preventative spending. However, we are looking for clarity on a number of issues as a result of evidence we received.
“These include more detailed information on the funding for the three new Government Funds and the challenges of ensuring the preventative spend agenda is embedded across the delivery of public services and the committee intends to monitor the progress of each of the Funds.”
The Committee also made further recommendations including:
- A six-monthly update from the Cabinet sub-committee on the progress made in implementing the Christie Commission’s recommendations, specifically the drive towards new inter-agency working to reduce silo mentalities.
- The Scottish Government should lead the public debate on the need for investment and disinvestment to ensure preventative spending becomes integral to public-service delivery in the long term.
- The Scottish Government should clarify what systems it is putting in place to facilitate good practice across all agencies and the creation of a solid evidence base.