Scotland leads the way on public service reform
Two years on from the Christie Commission Swinney outlines Scotland’s progress.
Two years on from the Christie Commission report the Scottish Government has embarked on a transformational cross-sector programme of public service reform the Finance Secretary said today.
Delivering the keynote speech at the One Public Sector Scotland Expo 2013: Achieving Excellence and Innovating for Success in Edinburgh John Swinney said the Scottish Government, in partnership with Local Government, agencies and the third sector has made real steps forward in improving outcomes for people and communities, whilst reducing demand and costs by focussing on collaboration rather than cuts.
Mr Swinney told the Expo that Scotland was leading the UK in public service reform by implementing the lessons of the Christie Commission.
The Scottish Government has set a strong course focussed on four pillars – a decisive shift towards prevention, partnership between public services at local level, greater investment in people delivering services; and a sharp focus on performance.
Addressing the conference Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“We, in Scotland, are part of the most ambitious reform of public services in more than a generation.
“Our people are living longer, healthier lives; which is a cause for celebration but also means increasing demands on our services at a time when budgets are reducing.
“Scotland’s public services are facing the toughest financial climate since devolution and the Chancellor has made clear we should expect more of the same.
“The Scottish Government wants to give our children the best start in life, reduce the inequalities which people face, develop our economy and create jobs but we face an unprecedented challenge to deliver improved outcomes whilst making optimal use of increasingly limited resources.
“Changing the way we deliver public services helps to deal with the challenge of spending cuts but it is all the more important for the transformational improvements we can bring to the services we deliver.
“Our vision of public service reform is based on the four evidence based pillars of the Christie Commission and is underpinned by a social wage of universal benefits protecting household budgets through free education, prescriptions, concessionary travel and frozen council tax bills.
“On prevention we’re leading the way - we have invested more than £500m in three change funds to support public services to make a decisive and sweeping shift towards prevention over the Spending Review period.
“And since Christie we have introduced new legislation to drive the integration of health and social care provision to improve care for adults, particularly older people, and provide a more joined up service between health and social care. We have embarked on a major restructuring of further education resulting in a smaller number of larger regional colleges delivering more focussed results for young people. The Single Police Service of Scotland and a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are protecting frontline services, increasing access to specialist support and strengthening the connection between services and communities.
“We should be proud of these achievements and of the tremendous amount of positive change taking place at a local level which is directly improving people’s lives. I look forward to continuing our imaginative approach to delivering the most ambitious improvements possible for the people of Scotland.”
Local examples of Public Service Reform include:
In Perth & Kinross the Healthy Communities Collaborative, a community led health promotion initiative, is helping older community volunteers empower other older people in their communities prevent problems occurring and enhance their ability to lead independent lives. In one year they realised a 34% reduction in falls in care homes in the area and helped to reduce social isolation, strengthen communities and encourage collaborative working between public services and local people.
In East Renfrewshire volunteers at the Mousemates project are addressing isolation and general health and wellbeing amongst elderly residents in sheltered housing by helping them to develop their computer skills. Participants report happier, fuller and improved lives.
In Aberdeen the Youth Justice Whole Systems Approach is diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour. A preventative approach co-produced with young people and involving a whole range of partners, including the local authority, police, courts, health, education, those dealing with children’s hearings and the third sector.