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 Service has pulled together information on Scottish local authorities' decision making and governance arrangements. The information should help local authorities to see the different governance arrangements in place across all 32 councils. It should also help public service partner organisations as well as local people understand how their local authority makes decisions and what arrangements are in place for effective governance and scrutiny.
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.
The Improving Outcomes in Money Advice (MAO) project is aimed at improving the impact of Scotland’s money advice services and supporting councils and their partners in this process.
It is run by the Money Advice Service and the Improvement Service.
The project has now entered its’ second phase, funded for a further three years until summer 2017, which will focus on offering practical support around a range of key improvement areas identified by the initial research carried out in the first phase of the project.
The first phase of the MAO project started in August 2012 and a major output of this work included a detailed research report on ‘Money advice across Scotland’s local authorities’. The research included detailed interviews with councils and other key stakeholders in the field of money advice and identified a range of issues and areas for improvement.
We offer councils and their partners support with the following:
The IS Money Advice Outcomes team has carried out a review of the impact of 2016-17 local authority budget cuts on the provision of money advice services which are funded and/or delivered by local authorities The report provides a snapshot of the position in 2016, and identifies very clearly that the position in 2017-18 is likely to be one of continued reductions in budgetary provision and that the only way to maintain services is likely to be through wide-ranging transformational changes.
The analysis found that many local authorities have adopted, or are actively considering, a more strategic approach to the delivery of advice services. This is likely to include integration of services, strengthened resource planning, increased generic working, extended partnership working and a review of the channels customers use to access services. Accepting and participating in the transformation agenda will be an integral part of the process of sustaining Money Advice Services. The IS will continue to work with councils to build on and embed tools that can support these processes and the recommendations in the report will form the basis of further discussion with key partners.
The IS, together with the Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) have developed framework for a common approach to funding of advice services.
The framework sets out key elements that public funders should take into account when reviewing their current funding arrangements with advice and representation services or when funding new projects.
Get more information on our Framework for Public Funding of Advice page. You can also download the framework and access supporting materials.
Following the conclusion of the call for evidence and literature review, these are key points that were highlighted in the reports:
The full desk review can be read here: Literature Review: Performance Management Indicators.
The full Evidence Review can be read here: Evidence Review: Developing a Money Advice Performance Management Framework for Local Authorities in Scotland.
A steering group is now working on developing a draft indicator guide based on the feedback from stakeholders. We will consult on this draft with all 32 councils.
Anyone interested in knowing more about this piece of work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This report, carried out by the Improvement Service and Money Advice Service, provides a comprehensive overview of free money advice services across Scotland and the role councils play in funding and delivering them. It also makes a number of recommendations on how money advice services can be strengthened and improved.
The MAO project is overseen by a Project Advisory Board including representatives from different local authorities, academia, Accountant in Bankruptcy, Citizens Advice Scotland, COSLA, Money Advice Scotland, Money Advice Service, NHS Scotland, Scotcash, Scottish Legal Aid Board and Stepchange.
The Money Advice Outcomes team was asked to help plan and deliver an event bringing key stakeholders across the Highland and Island communities together, to share in their learning, knowledge and practice and identify ways to strengthen partnership working across the financial inclusion sector.
The event took place in Inverness at the Spectrum Centre on Friday, 29 April 2016.
The day was attended mostly by senior management stakeholders across council, housing, health, credit union and third sector organisations.
Videos of all the speeches, copies of the presentations and a summary of the workshops are all available on the event web page.
The Money Advice Outcomes team was asked to be involved in the planning of this vibrant event which took place on Tuesday 27 October 2015 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with more than 250 delegates participating on the day.
Attendees had the opportunity to hear about and help shape thinking on outcomes of advice and contribute to the national discussion on creating a fairer Scotland by exploring the developing role advice services play in tackling inequalities.
This was a collaborative approach with colleagues from the IS, NHS Health Scotland, Citizens Advice Bureaux service, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Legal Aid Board and Money Advice Service.
The Improvement Service was asked to participate in a Debt Conference which was funded and co-ordinated by Aberdeenshire Council. The main aims of the event were to:
A video, conference report and a copy of the IS presentation are now available on the event page.
The Money Advice Outcomes team were involved with the planning of two events on Health and Financial Inclusion, in partnership with NHS Health Scotland. The first event was held in Glasgow and was aimed at NHS, financial inclusion and advice services across Scotland. The second event was co-ordinated by Dundee colleagues and was aimed specifically at services operating in that area. These events tie in with the work streams that have emerged from phase 2 of the Improving Outcomes in Money Advice project.
The framework of good practice principles for funders of advice services was launched on 20 January 2015. The launch was intended to set the agenda for improvement work in the area of advice.
A Storify was also made summarising the key events from the launch event.
This summit, hosted by Derek MacKay, Minister for Local Government and Planning and held in April 2014, discussed concerns around the clustering and numbers of payday lenders and betting shops in Scotland, as well as measures, good practice and ideas for tackling the issues. Video highlights of the event, presentations and interviews are available on the event page.