A Reid Foundation Policy Paper by Dave Watson examines the context and development of public service reform in Scotland and analyses the approaches of the current government and those who advocate other reforms. Five years after the Christie Commission set out the principles of a particularly Scottish approach, it is time to take a holistic look at the next stage of reform.
He argues for the delivery of integrated public services built around recognisable communities, whose primary focus is to challenge underlying inequalities. Services should be delivered at the lowest practical level, allowing staff and citizens to design services in a way that best meets the needs of their communities. The role of central government should be to set the strategic direction based on outcomes. The paper attempts to break out of the sterile centralism v localism debate, with a different approach. It offers a co-operative more equal Scotland, rather than one left to the vagaries of the market.
The author is the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at UNISON Scotland. He was an expert advisor to the Christie Commission.