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The Elected Members' Briefing Series has been developed by the IS to help elected members keep apace with key issues affecting local government. A list of all briefing notes published is below.
While some briefing notes are directly produced by IS staff, we also work with a wide range of public bodies, commentators and observers of public services to produce materials. If you are interested in contributing to our Briefing Series, please contact David Barr.
You might also be interested in information for elected members from other organisations we work with.
The Improvement Service (IS) is the national improvement organisation for local government in Scotland.
Our purpose is to help councils and their partners to improve the health, quality of life and opportunities of all people in Scotland through community leadership, strong local governance and the delivery of high quality, efficient local services.
Through a series of principles, the IS works to promote improvement in local government and among its partners to support them improve outcomes and reduce the outcome gaps within populations and within areas.
The IS delivers a range of products and services that support CPPs to build their capacity to deliver the public service reform agenda.
The IS has a non-partisan role to support all elected members in Scotland.
The Improvement Services produces a series of newsletters on a range of subjects, including myaccount, elected members, tellmescotland as well as the main IS newsletter. Subscribe on this page.
COSLA and Scottish Government have agreed a framework to work together to have at least 1% of council budgets subject to participatory budgeting (PB) by 2021. This briefing note aims to support elected members to better understand PB and the role of elected members in a PB process.
Alcohol Harm in Communities
This briefing note aims to increase understanding of how alcohol consumption and harm impacts on local communities and across different areas of local authorities’ work. It examines the role elected members can play in tackling the harms caused in their communities and improving local outcomes.
Health Inequalities and Improving Health
Health inequalities are the unjust and avoidable differences in people’s health across the population and
between specific population groups.
The purpose of this briefing is to highlight the crucial role of elected members in reducing health
inequalities and improving health.
This briefing is intended to inform elected members of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013; specifically, its intention and implementation. The Act sits within the 10-year Self-directed Support Strategy, aimed at shifting the balance of power to people so they have more choice and control over their social care support.
It is acknowledged meeting the needs of Gypsy/Travellers and settled communities is complex and
sensitive, and can present a significant challenge for elected members. The purpose of this briefing is to raise awareness of a suite of recently published, and soon to be published, guidance and briefings relating to Gypsy/Travellers.
Scottish local authorities have a great deal of expertise in supporting the most vulnerable in society, including those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge. This briefing summarises the various humanitarian protection schemes that are currently in operation and the central role that local authorities have been playing to support them.
The Importance of Financial Capability in Scotland
This briefing will give elected members better insight into financial capability and encourage greater understanding of its importance. It is our hope that elected members will use this information to influence local government policies, provide leadership, and facilitate and negotiate solutions to the low level of financial capability in the UK.
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
This briefing provides an overview of complaints handling and explains the role of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) in dealing with complaints about public services. It provides advice to elected members on supporting constituents and learning from complaints .
#FollowMe: a Guide to Social Media for Elected Members in Scotland
This guide provides a good starting point for elected members interested in using social media. It explains why social media can be an important tool in engaging with communities and constituents as well as how to get started on using some of the main social platforms.
The Standards Commission for Scotland
This briefing note explains the role of the Standards Commission in Scotland, particularly in relation to elected members and the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. It outlines the key principles of the Code, the elected member’s responsibilities, and the Standard Commission’s enforcement powers.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation
This briefing note aims to increase understanding of the harm caused by commercial sexual exploitation and the contributing factors and drivers behind it. It makes suggestions about how local authorities have the potential to positively impact on the lives of women and wider communities.
Engaging Men in Tackling Violence Against Women
The purpose of this briefing is to raise awareness amongst elected members of the role that men can play in tackling violence against women (VAW). It details how men’s engagement can lead to effective prevention and challenging of VAW, and provide suggestions of how elected members can facilitate this.