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Legal and Parliamentary Services: Business Delivery Plan: 2005-2006

DescriptionThis is the Business Delivery Plan of Legal and Parliamentary Services. It is a statement of the department's high level structure and our strategy for delivery of key business objectives, including continuous business improvement. It is kept under review by the Departmental Management Board, and it underpins business planning at Group and Divisional levels across the Department.
ISBN0 7559 1276 4
Official Print Publication DateJanuary 2006
Website Publication DateDecember 08, 2005

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    Contents

    Introduction
    Race Equality Action Plan
    Diversity
    Benchmarking
    Best Value Reviews
    IT Strategy
    IT Projects
    CPS - Freedom of Information
    electronic Record and Data Management ( eRDM)
    Office of the Solicitor to the Scottish Executive
    Aims
    Subsidiary Aims
    Objectives
    Resources
    Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency
    Office of the Scottish Parliamentary Counsel
    Aims
    Continuing Objectives
    Staff Development
    Resources
    Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency
    Legal Secretariat to the Lord Advocate
    Aim
    Resources
    Subsidiary Aims
    Continuing Objectives
    Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency
    Constitution and Legal Services Group
    Aims
    Resources
    Continuing Objectives
    Constitutional Policy Unit
    Parliamentary Liaison Unit
    Freedom of Information Unit
    Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency
    Annex A: Organisation Chart

    Introduction

    1. This is the Business Delivery Plan of Legal and Parliamentary Services. It is a statement of our high level structure and our strategy for delivery of key business objectives, including continuous business improvement. It is kept under review by the Departmental Management Board, and it underpins business planning at Group and Divisional levels across the Department. LPS is firmly committed to delivering a first class service across the range of its responsibilities to Ministers, Departments and Agencies of the Executive, and other stakeholders such as the Scottish Information Commissioner and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

    2. Legal and Parliamentary Services is headed by Robert Gordon, and brings together four commands:-

    The Office of the Solicitor to the Scottish Executive ( OSSE), headed by Richard Henderson

    The Office of the First Scottish Parliamentary Counsel ( OSPC), headed by John McCluskie, QC; and

    Constitution and Legal Services Group ( CLSG), headed by Ken Thomson, and

    The Legal Secretariat to the Lord Advocate ( LSLA), headed by Colin Troup.

    3. The Departmental Management Board consists of Robert Gordon, Richard Henderson, John McCluskie, Ken Thomson, Colin Troup, Patrick Layden, Head of OSSE Group A, and Lynda Towers, Head of OSSE Group C.

    4. An organisation chart is at Annex A. LPS has 225 staff, 33 SCS posts and a budget in 2005-06 of £9.1m. The budget is managed and monitored by the LPS Finance Committee which is chaired by Ken Thomson.

    5. The Department has been at the core of the devolution project since its inception. Its strategic role is to maximise the Executive's effectiveness in terms of its statutory functions, its legal powers and its relationship with the Scottish Parliament. Its key business function is to support central Ministers, and in particular the Law Officers and Ministers for Parliamentary Business, across the range of their legal and Parliamentary responsibilities. Most of its staff are legally qualified, and are either Parliamentary drafters or solicitors, but the Department also includes a small group of administrative staff in the Constitution and Parliamentary Secretariat ( CPS), with the Constitution and Legal Services Group( CLSG) who work closely with the rest of the Department and other Departments on the delivery of business objectives.

    6. LPS is the repository of the Executive's expertise on constitutional issues in the widest sense including the operation of the Scotland Act 1998, the relationship in the new settlement between the executive and the legislature, and the drive for open government. The Departmental Management Board of LPS takes a corporate view of the issues on which we lead.

    7. Key functions and services in 2005-6 and beyond include:

    • the management and delivery of a substantial legislative programme, instructed and drafted primarily within LPS;
    • co-ordination of the legislative programme with the UK Government's legislation;
    • the preparation and management of a growing volume of subordinate legislation (the number of Scottish Statutory Instruments has trebled since devolution);
    • tthe delivery of legal advice and services to line Ministers and Departments within a fundamentally different and novel constitutional framework, working within a written constitution;
    • central oversight of the relationship between the Executive and the Scottish Parliament;
    • the implementation of Freedom of Information legislation across the Scottish public sector, and improvements in public record and archives policy;
    • putting in place and developing a range of guidance for departments, e.g. the Bill Handbook, and working assumptions in handling FOI requests;
    • the management of Parliamentary questions, with the aim of continuous improvement in turn around times; and
    • liaison with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman following the passage of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 and the setting up of he Ombudsman's office.

    Race Equality Action Plan

    8. The Department has issued advice to staff about their responsibilities in terms of the Race Equality Scheme which was published by the Executive in 2002.

    Diversity

    9. We ensure that managing diversity is part of our everyday business and that all staff are managed fairly and equitably, regardless of irrelevant difference.

    Benchmarking

    10. LPS attaches importance to benchmarking its strategy and functions with comparable organisations in both the public and private sectors. In taking forward initiatives such as the development of our client strategy and knowledge management strategy, and improved business planning, there is and will continue to be close contact and sharing of experience with Whitehall comparators and the major private sector firms in Scotland. Our outsourcing strategy has involved the establishment of a framework agreement involving 12 leading private sector law firms in Scotland. This has led to the forging of strong links with the firms concerned resulting in exchanges on training, knowledge management and other issues.

    Best Value Reviews

    11. A key work stream for the Business Division within OSSE is to ensure that the scope for securing best value is maximised. It supports similar review activity across LPS as a whole.

    12. A Best Value Review on the effectiveness and efficiency of our outsourcing policy has recently been completed. The membership of the Review Steering Group, chaired by Michael Lugton, included staff of the OSSE Business Division, Robert Millar from Scottish Enterprise and Fiona Robertson of the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General.

    13. There are a number of other key areas of activity which we shall expressly consider to subject to best value review. These have been selected on the basis firstly, that they are the key components of LPS's strategic objective of maximising the Executive's effectiveness in the exercise of its legal and Parliamentary functions, and secondly that an underlying theme is to maximise client satisfaction. Subject to assessment of the practicability of conducting several best value reviews in LPS over the same period, we plan to review some or all of:

    • the knowledge management system which was put in place in 2003, by late 2005/early 2006;
    • the systems for oversight of the legislative programme involving OSSE, OSPC and CPS, by late 2005/early 2006;
    • the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, including the relationship between the Executive and the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office by the end of 2006;
    • the strategic oversight of the National Archives of Scotland, by Summer 2006.

    14. Each review will take on board the "4 C's" (Challenge, Compare, Consult and Compete) as suggested by the Executive's Business Support Unit. We will establish Steering Groups to take forward reviews the membership of which will include clients and, where appropriate, private sector interests.

    IT Strategy

    15. The LPSIT strategy is to maximise the benefits from the investment in SCOTS and eRDM; corporate IT systems; and business specific IT applications. The strategy includes using SCOTS or other ICTs to support new or innovative ways of delivering the Department's objectives:

    • to support efficiency improvements and service delivery enhancements.
    • to maximise any opportunities for greater collaboration and joined-up working.
    • to help develop our knowledge management strategy of sharing legal advice and legal opinions.

    IT Projects for 2004-2005

    CPS -Freedom of Information

    16. The FOI Unit, with support from CISD, has put in place IT solutions to meet the core need for an Executive-wide mechanism for monitoring key elements of the Freedom of Information ( FOI) regime. This needs to be developed and enhanced during 2005, in the light of practical experiences of FOI.

    17. FOI supports the Executive's stated commitments to openness and Management Group highlighted FOI as one of the four top management issues for the Executive in 2004-5. FOI is a core legal requirement which applied to the Executive from 1 January 2005.

    electronic Record and Document Management ( eRDM) - Case Management

    18. In June 2005, the Scottish Executive Information Systems Steering Group ( SEISSG) approved funding for the development of a CMS system for OSSE using the workflow element of the objective eRDM system. This was based on a successful pilot of a workflow system for the Scottish Executive Inquiry Reporter's Unit. OSSE is now working closely with CISD to take this project forward. A Project Board, chaired by Richard Henderson, Solicitor to the Scottish Executive, has approved a project initiation document and it is hoped that the roll-out of the project will be completed by April 2006. end

    Office of the Solicitor to the Scottish Executive

    Aims

    19. To provide a complete range of legal services to the Executive, both proactively and reactively, whether directly or through other suppliers.

    20. With Constitution and Legal Services Group to play a key role in the delivery of the Executive's four year legislative programme for the second session of the Scottish Parliament.

    21. To provide high quality legal services to our clients on a continuous improvement basis so as to support our clients in achieving their objectives.

    22. To be first-choice legal advisers to the Scottish Executive.

    Subsidiary Aims

    23. To provide a proactive service to help clients to meet their legal obligations, including compliance with the Scotland Act 1998 and under corporate governance.

    24. To:

    • take forward the Change initiative;
    • earn the respect and trust of our clients;
    • recruit, train and develop high quality staff;
    • provide a service to meet and where possible exceed agreed client requirements and expectations;
    • make the best possible use of our resources; and
    • develop meaningful and effective relationships with other organisations both within and outside government.

    Objectives

    25. Implement strategies and supporting policies in the following principal areas:

    • Management;
    • Client relations;
    • Staff;
    • Business operations;
    • IT; and
    • Financial Management

    26. Provide advice and drafting instructions to assist the progress of Executive and Executive-supported Bills in the Scottish Parliament and Government and Government-supported Bills in the Westminster Parliament (where the Executive has an interest).

    27. Provide advice on and drafting for Scottish Statutory Instruments ( SSIs) and Statutory Instruments ( SIs).

    28. Provide advice on, and process, litigation in accordance with client requirements and relevant rules.

    29. Provide services in accordance with agreed client requirements, whether in terms of service level agreements, other formal agreements or otherwise.

    Resources

    30. OSSE has 178.6 FTE staff and a budget (2005-2006) of £6.9m.

    Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency

    31. One of the objectives of the OSSE Business Division is to secure improvements in efficiency and effectiveness both within OSSE and within the wider Government Legal Service for Scotland ( GLSS)( a) Its activities include:

    • the establishment of working groups to make recommendations on improving the legislative process; management and development of staff; communication and risk management;
    • improving client relations, and developing new ways of engaging with clients( b);
    • developing the knowledge management strategy of the GLSS, involving sharing of legal advice and legal opinions to minimise reinvention of the wheel;
    • the improvement of business planning at divisional and group level across OSSE;
    • outsourcing of the provision of some legal services, to draw on expertise which may not be available internally and to allow OSSE to concentrate on its core business;
    • the promotion of training and assignment policies to meet the personal development needs of staff and the business; raising the profile of the latter;
    • managing the LPS budget to ensure that resources are allocated in accordance with the Government's aim to improve the way public services are delivered;
    • ensure OSSE is properly represented on restructured Government Legal Service forums through representation on new sub groups;
    • the development of the use of Standing Junior Counsel for the provision of advice to the Law Officers;
    • the maintenance and improvement of the OSSE Intranet site;
    • improving the Personnel function within OSSE with the aim of improving succession planning, recruitment, regrading and staff placement processes;
    • taking steps to ensure examples of good practice in OSPC and OSSE are shared; and
    • the introduction of new procedures for managing litigation.

    32. OSSE has in place systems to ensure continuous improvement and the involvement of staff and clients in our planning process. Over the last few years the Office has conducted client and staff surveys. Clients and staff, therefore, have the opportunity to comment on how they think OSSE is performing. The results of these surveys were analysed and discussed at away days held by each Division which all staff attend. The outcome of the discussions, together with the overall survey results, are included in the agenda of OSSE Senior Management Conferences held. Action plans are prepared following these Conferences which are circulated to all staff.

    33. A number of Working Groups have been appointed which will review and make recommendations on these processes. The Groups will report in October 2005.

    Office of the Scottish Parliamentary Counsel

    34. Aims

    • To prepare the Executive's legislation accurately and timeously.
    • To see legislation through the Parliament efficiently and in accordance with Ministers' directions and wishes.
    • To secure that new legislation is not only effective, precise and clear but structured and stated so as also to serve the purpose of making the whole body of the statute law of Scotland effective, precise, clear, comprehensible, accessible and coherent.

    35. Continuing Objectives

    • Prepare each of the Executive's Bills in accordance with the requirements stated above.
    • Employ the drafting process as a test of the coherence and workability of the policy requirements.
    • Ensure, and assist in ensuring, that Bills continue accurately to implement the Executive's policy requirements and are appropriately and efficiently considered by the Parliament, including by:
    • drafting Executive amendments to Bills; and
    • drafting financial motions

    36. Keep under scrutiny the Parliament's procedures for dealing with Bills, and identify and assist in the implementation of improvements in those procedures.

    37. The timescales for these continuing objectives are:

    • In the case of the preparation of a Bill for introduction, that fixed by the Cabinet for that Bill; and
    • In the case of work done in relation to a Bill being considered by the Parliament, such as the drafting of amendments or motions, those specified by Parliamentary Standing Orders or imposed by the Parliament's procedures.

    Staff Development

    38. The principal means of developing knowledge, expertise and skill is doing the job; this is particularly focused, in the case of junior Counsel, by the arrangement whereby they work alongside more experienced senior colleagues. That learning is supplemented and reinforced by:

    • regular internal seminars in which particular topics are analysed and discussed;
    • the systematic circulation, retention and cataloguing of papers which are explanatory of and authoritative on legislative and related matters;
    • the OSPC Intranet facility, which includes a database of office guidance, know-how and other relevant documentation; and
    • informal (but well understood) procedures for the pooling and dissemination within the Office of knowledge and experience gained.

    39. Recruits from private legal practice attend the various induction courses organised by the Scottish Executive, the Government Legal Service for Scotland ( GLSS) and the Government Legal Service ( GLS) respectively, and all members of the Office have the opportunity from time to time to attend courses and seminars.

    Resources

    40. OSPC has 15.5 FTE staff and a budget of £1.1m (2005/2006).

    41. Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency

    • involvement of the office in the management of the legislative programme as a whole to ensure that OSPC can plan the disposition of draftsmen to meet Ministerial needs and wishes;
    • maintaining a good working relationship with the legislation team in the Parliament to ensure that the processes for handling Executive legislation operate as efficiently and effectively as possible;
    • the provision of drafting services to the Scottish Law Commission whose reports on law reform and other projects are often accompanied by draft Bills;
    • involvement in an OSSE group set up to establish procedures to ensure sharing of examples of good practice in OSPC and OSSE;
    • participation in the OSSE Bill Training Courses aimed at ensuring that Solicitors with responsibility for drafting Bills are equipped to do so effectively and efficiently.
    Legal Secretariat to the Lord Advocate

    42. Aims

    • To provide the Scottish Law Officers with high quality legal advice and support in their performance of their civil functions.
    • As part of OSSE and in accordance with its aim and objectives to provide legal services to the FOI Unit of the Scottish Executive

    Resources

    43. LSLA now has a complement of 2.2. FTE stuff - and a budget of £120k.

    44. Subsidiary aims

    • To keep the confidence and respect of the Scottish Law Officers.
    • To maintain good and effective relationships with the UK Law Officers and their Legal Secretariats; the Private Office; and the Crown Office.
    • To make the best possible use of resources.
    • To contribute effectively to the GLSS functions of recruiting legal staff, training staff, and using IT and library resources.

    45. Continuing Objectives

    • To prepare draft advice for the Law Officers on requests for their opinion on issues referred to them by OSSE; being difficult legal issues, issues on which departments disagree, and issues with a sensitive political or presentational aspect.
    • To prepare draft advice for the Law Officers on the legislative competence of Executive and non-Executive Bills in the Scottish Parliament.
    • To provide advice and support to the Law Officers where they are acting as Senior Counsel in high profile litigation against the Scottish Executive.
    • To provide miscellaneous legal briefing and advice to the Law Officers, as appropriate, in relation to their Ministerial duties, and on matters raised with them by Ministers and MSPs.
    • To provide speech notes for the Law Officers.

    46. Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency

    • maintaining and enhancing the LSLA contribution to GLSS/ OSSE training and IT programmes;
    • maintaining and improving liaison with UK Law Officers;
    • improving distribution of minutes, notices etc between Private Office, LSLA/ OSSE and Crown Office;
    • maintaining good working relationships with Crown Office;
    • encouraging closer liaison between OSSE and LSLA.
    Constitution and Parliamentary Secretariat

    Aims

    47. To support Ministers and Departments of the Scottish Executive in maintaining and developing the devolution settlement, in securing the Executive's Parliamentary objectives, and in delivering more open government.

    Resources

    48. CPS has 25.9 FTE staff and a budget (2005-2006) of £1m.

    49. Continuing Objectives

    Constitutional Policy Unit

    • To provide advice on the Scotland Act, the devolution settlement and other constitutional issues.
    • To monitor and advise on devolved interests in primary legislation, SSIs and the application of the Sewel convention, and to oversee the SSI programme.
    • To support and monitor the work of the office of the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman.

    Parliamentary Liaison Unit

    • To support the offices of the Ministers for Parliamentary Business.
    • To co-ordinate and manage, at official level, the Executive's primary legislation, and provide the secretariat for the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation.
    • With the Parliamentary authorities, to develop the Parliament's procedures.
    • To support the Departmental Committee Liaison Officer network.
    • To monitor the Executive's performance in answering PQs and produce quarterly reports.

    Freedom of Information Unit

    • To support implementation of the statutory Freedom of Information ( FOI) regime, both within the Scottish Executive and across the wider Scottish public sector.
    • To provide advice on openness and public records policy.
    • To sponsor the National Archives of Scotland.
    • To develop and co-ordinate Scottish Executive policy on civic participation.

    50. Activities designed to improve Quality and Efficiency

    • To support the Ministers for Parliamentary Business by ensuring that the components of the legislative programme are delivered on time;
    • To ensure that arrangements introduced in 2003 to improve the quality of Scottish Bills are monitored and continue to assist the management of the legislative programme.
    • To develop a subordinate legislation tracking system to improve the timing and quality of the preparation of SSIs;
    • To support the work of Ministers and officials throughout the Scottish Executive in implementing the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, including through the provision of integrated guidance on FOI issues in a range of Executive business systems.
    • To oversee the extension of the accommodation of the National Archives of Scotland to accommodate the growing volume of archive material across the Scottish public sector;
    • To lead the development of policy proposals which will improve civic participation activities across the Scottish Executive;
    • To maintain close and effective liaison with the Scotland Office and the Department of Constitutional Affairs to exchange information and 'best practice', particularly in relation to proposals for legislation.
    Annex A: Organisation Chart

    -also head of group B
    LEGAL PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES ( LPS): ORGANISATION CHART

    Footnotes

    (a) The GLSS supervises certain activities in the provision of services to GLSS offices. In particular it supervises Training, IT and Knowledge Management matters through GLSS Committees on which the users are represented. Those committees report to the GLSS Managing Committee which is chaired by the Solicitor. The GLSS Offices are OSSE, LSLA, the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General, and Legal Secretariat to the Advocate General. GLSS Associated Offices are Scottish Law Commission and the Legal Adviser to Scottish Parliament. GLSS also supplies staff to Scottish Executive Justice Department, Scottish Land Court, Crofters Commission, and The Lord President's Private Office.

    (b) The OSSE client strategy includes regular meetings between the Solicitor and Heads of Departments, the development and promotion of client care guidelines, a new client-focussed section on the OSSE Intranet site, and seminars for senior administrators across the Executive on Understanding the Law.