‘Cultural change’ needed to deliver public services

A ‘cultural change’ is needed in order that public bodies can work together to successfully deliver vital public services. This is the outcome of the first strand of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee’s inquiry into public services reform.

To date the inquiry has focussed on partnerships and outcomes in the public sector. The Committee heard that while many community planning partnerships (CPPs) are working together effectively to deliver services, there are equally other CPPs which are not, and in turn, are failing to deliver the best outcomes for their communities.

Committee Convener Joe Fitzpatrick MSP said:

“Community planning partnerships can effect genuine change in our communities. Our Committee experienced first-hand the positive impact that effective community planning partnerships can play in delivering public services in Scotland. Community Planning Partnerships can only do so, however, when all those involved in the partnership are prepared to work together and are working to shared goals. To do this there needs to be a cultural change within parts of the public sector and a recognition of the benefits true partnership working can bring.”

In a series of evidence taking sessions, the Committee also heard of the vital role which the voluntary sector and communities themselves can play in shaping and delivering public services. The report notes that giving the third sector a voice in CPPs is crucial in engaging views of the community as well as providing services themselves.

CPPs provide a structure for councils and other public sector bodies, such as NHS boards and the police and fire and rescue services, to work together to deliver and plan services such as care for the elderly or community safety projects.

The committee began its inquiry into public services reform in January 2012. It was agreed that the inquiry would be split into three stands in order that the committee could be responsive to what it heard and discovered as it progressed.

The agreed strands were as follows:

    Strand 1: partnerships and outcomes
    Strand 2: benchmarking and performance measurement
    Strand 3: developing new ways of delivering services

Strand 2 is due to begin in September 2012.