MSPs debate public service reform

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Local Government and Regeneration Committee convener Kevin Stewart said deliverers of public services should be moving towards a more "outcome based approach" rather than just focusing on inputs and outputs.

Mr Stewart was leading the debate on the committee's Inquiry into Public Services Reform: Developing New Ways of Delivering Services on 26 February 2013.

The third strand of the inquiry will focus on "progress being made in relation to the development of shared services, other innovative ways of achieving economies of scale and harnessing the strengths and skills of key public sector partners to deliver the best possible quality services in local areas."

The previous two strands inquiry reports, were at at strand one, into partnerships and outcomes and, at strand two, into progress on benchmarking and performance measurement.

Mr Stewart said a recent visit to Cumbernauld, Aberdeen and Glasgow had shown the committee communities were not being engaged to the level he thought they should be.

He said there should be more engagement with partners and local communities.

Finance Secretary John Swinney assured the committee the government attached the "highest priority to issues around public services reform".

Mr Swinney said he was absolutely determined a "vigorous process of public services reform" would be undertaken.

Scottish Labour's local government spokesperson Sarah Boyack said local government was now getting less money, with the next six years seeing "significant reductions in expenditure but huge increases in demand".

As a result some of the obstacles against public service reform were "incredibly real and credible" with the council tax freeze pressurising local authorities and putting them in a "straight jacket".

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