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Public Services

Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people's needs

Public ServicesWhy is this National Outcome important?

The quality of public services and the way in which they are delivered has a major impact on Scottish society and the overall performance of the Scottish economy.

Better and more efficient public services enhance our quality of life, support sustainable economic growth and assure those that fund and rely on them that their public services are responsive, provide value for money and are continually improving.

What will influence this National Outcome?

The achievement of this outcome will be determined by: the public sector's success in developing new user-focused planning; the delivery and monitoring arrangements aimed at achieving specific outcomes to improve accountability to ministers, parliament and the public; and create incentives for improving services and drive forward progress. Other key contributory factors will be to simplify the delivery of public services and to make partnerships work across organisational boundaries.

As a small country, Scotland's public sector can make better use of its potential advantages. These lie in areas such as: quick decision-making; nimbleness and co-operation between departments; and making best use of the innate talent and experience of its staff - in short, become a more enterprising Government.

The public has a right to expect public bodies to do much more to streamline the way they deliver services and also to share their services, buildings and other assets wherever possible. The aim is to simplify and refocus Scotland's public sector to better serve Scotland's people and businesses.

What is the Government's role?

Government must be more effective with a clear emphasis on achieving higher levels of sustainable economic growth. This can be achieved through a focus on and delivery of our Purpose and its five associated Strategic Objectives.

By building on the new, more focused structure of the Scottish Government, we will work to reduce duplication, bureaucracy and overlap across the public sector in pursuit of greater efficiency, effectiveness and speed of delivery. We will invest in infrastructure which can transform the delivery of public services and support multi-agency working and services designed around the needs of citizens.

A key part of delivering a wealthier Scotland is to ensure the Government supports business. We can do this through more effective use of public sector procurement and through the creation of a regulatory climate that balances the costs of regulation with the need to ensure a safer, fairer, healthier and greener Scotland.

The Government already provides a framework which enables all public sector bodies to be robustly and independently assessed on how: efficient they are; well they communicate with the public they serve; they measure and report on their performance; transparent and accountable they are.

An outcomes-based approach for all of the public sector and their delivery partners will mean that the focus and efforts of all contributors can be aligned with the Government's core Purpose, Strategic Objectives and National Outcomes.

The Government's approach to public services will be advanced greatly through a new relationship with local government, based on mutual respect and partnership. This is being supported by the implementation of Single Outcome Agreements and a performance framework for local authorities, to be delivered in association with Community Planning Partners.

As well as being a significant provider of services in its own right, the public sector is a major purchaser of services from both private and third sector (i.e. charities, voluntary and volunteering organisations, faith organisations, co-operatives and mutual societies and social enterprises) sources. A rigorous options appraisal system already governs the approach of public sector bodies in considering the best way to provide services to the public.

In addition, the Government's programme of procurement reform will provide a structured approach to collaboration across the wider public sector. The establishment of a National Procurement Centre of Expertise will lead to collaborative procurement of common goods and services on behalf of the wider Scottish public sector and develop a sustainable procurement plan.

Government also has in a role in involving business more effectively in its work and in building a consensus on Scotland's economic future.

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer



Safer and Stronger


Public Services