Committee to probe Public Services Reform


A policeman talking to a member of the public while standing on the paved area outside the main entrance to the Scottish Parliament.Public-services reform is to be examined by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee, which has announced a call for evidence today for the first part of what will be a three-strand inquiry running throughout 2012.

The first strand – partnership and outcomes – is to look at how local councils work with their community-planning partners like the police, NHS boards and local communities in developing single-outcome agreements and how this process can evolve and develop. The Committee will start taking oral evidence in mid-February 2012.

The second strand, expected to take place next summer, focuses on benchmarking – the process of comparing performance in the same service area across different councils.  The final strand, scheduled for later in 2012, will look at some of the options in shared services and other innovative ways of delivering council and other services.

Committee Convener Joe FitzPatrick MSP said: “Following the recent work by the Christie Commission, this is a very rapidly moving field. That’s why the Committee has decided to break its work in this area into three parts, so that at each stage we can be completely up to date with what’s happening across the public sector. Local government will be central to whatever developments are around the corner in public-sector reform, so it is essential that the Committee has a thorough examination of the issues as this agenda develops.”


The objectives for 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. 

Key questions for this strand of the inquiry

  • How could councils better integrate their partners into the process?  How could the degree of commitment to the process amongst other community-planning partners be improved? 
  • How can any legislative or administrative barriers that make partnership working more difficult be overcome?
  • How can local authorities and their partners move further towards real, integrated working?
  • What steps would facilitate the sharing of budgets in pursuit of shared outcomes?
  • How can the partners further improve on the progress that has been made and overcome the remaining challenges on engaging communities and voluntary-sector organisations in the process?
  • How can the community-planning arrangements be adapted and developed to promote outcomes-based and preventative approaches?
  • How is the work of delivery on Single Outcome Agreements (SOA) managed, coordinated and driven through the various community-partnership structures and agreements? 
  • How could SOAs be improved to deliver on community-planning targets?
  • What is the purpose of a SOA in assisting the delivery of improved outcomes?
  • How are local SOAs developed and how do they relate to national priorities?
  • How could local authorities and other public bodies contribute more to influencing and improving outcomes in their area?
  • How can arrangements, processes and accountability be improved?

The closing date for submissions is Friday, 19 February 2012.

Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to [email protected]

Hard copy responses may be sent to:

Local Government and Regeneration Committee
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

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