CHAPTER 2: THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT'S PURPOSE
One of our first actions in government was to focus all of our resources on creating a more successful country.
This has involved re-aligning the Scottish Government to deliver on a single, overarching Purpose - through five Strategic Objectives. In turn, this has meant establishing a smaller, more effective Ministerial team, with the First Minister, five Cabinet Secretaries and ten Ministers - as well as putting in place a much more streamlined structure for the Scottish Government.
Scotland has the people, the talent and the ambition to become one of the world's most successful nations. It is high time that Scotland's economy and society flourished to their full potential. We believe that we must work differently, and that we must continue to develop this new approach.
The experience of other small nations that surround Scotland shows that higher, sustainable economic growth must be the basis of our national success. Above all else, sustainable economic growth is the key which can unlock Scotland's full potential and create benefits for all our people for decades to come.
Sustainable economic growth depends on everyone playing their part - workers, consumers, volunteers, social entrepreneurs and business people. The government has a crucial role to play - in providing the imagination and leadership, and in the way it invests in Scotland's people and places to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of sustainable economic growth.
A new approach for Government - a single, overarching Purpose
Our approach has therefore involved identifying the single, overarching Purpose that will help Scotland flourish and aligning, as never before, all the resources and policy of government to the achievement of that Purpose.
To focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.
By sustainable economic growth we mean building a dynamic and growing economy that will provide prosperity and opportunities for all, while ensuring that future generations can enjoy a better quality of life.
Therefore, sustainable economic growth will not just mean building up a rich economy - it will also mean building up a rich and responsible society.
The benefits from delivering this single Purpose must be shared by all of Scotland's people, helping to:
- generate greater and more widely shared employment;
- create more highly skilled and better paid jobs;
- provide better quality goods and services and additional choices and opportunities for Scotland's people;
- stimulate higher government revenues supporting better, higher quality, public services;
- foster a self-sustaining and ambitious climate of entrepreneurial advance;
- encourage economic activity and investment across Scotland, thereby sharing the benefits of growth;
- bring a culture of confidence and personal empowerment to Scotland; and
- secure a high quality environment today and a sustainable legacy for future generations.
The new Government Economic Strategy1 is central to the delivery of our overall Purpose. It sets out how government will work collaboratively with the private, public and third sectors in pursuit of increasing sustainable economic growth.
For over 30 years, Scotland has suffered because its economy has been locked into a cycle of low economic growth. Successive economic strategies, and successive governments, have tried and failed to lift Scotland's economic performance to where it should be - and, while small independent countries in the Arc of Prosperity have truly flourished, Scotland has lagged behind.
The rate of economic growth impacts on all aspects of national life because it affects employment opportunities, standards of living, the quality of people's lives and the resources available for investment in vital public services.
The delivery of the government's Purpose will be supported by five Strategic Objectives as outlined in the previous chapter - to make Scotland wealthier and fairer, smarter, healthier, safer and stronger and greener. In turn, these are supported by 15 national outcomes which describe in more detail what the government wants to achieve over a ten year period.
Taken together, these focus the resources of government in a new way, and describe the link between government's activity and what it is ultimately there to achieve. This creates greater clarity, and gives government and public services a sharp focus on a national Purpose that all of Scotland can recognise and endorse. Through this alignment of public policy and the resources, government in Scotland is equipped to deliver a step change in the prosperity of Scotland and in the nation's future success.
Chapter 8 sets out in more detail the new performance framework which will underpin delivery of the Purpose, including high level targets relating to the Purpose.