The Public Service Improvement Framework (PSIF) Partnership's innovative work to fully integrate equalities and diversity into the PSIF has been welcomed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The EHRC praised the groundbreaking achievements of the PSIF Partnership and cited the mapping of Audit Scotland's Best Value 2 on to the framework as a positive example of the benefits of collaboration between audit and improvement frameworks.
In a letter to Mark McAteer, Chair of the PSIF Board and Director of Governance and Performance Management at the Improvement Service, Ros Micklem, National Director Scotland for the EHRC, said: "This provides an opportunity to begin to build a shared understanding of equality amongst those participating in public authorities."
Whilst making clear that "the implementation of the framework in itself does not guarantee compliance with the public sector equality duties for race, disability and gender", Ms Micklem went on to say that "Its implementation will be useful in helping public authorities develop equality practices and procedures to build into performance management and self-evaluation.
"We recognise that part of this work involved mapping Audit Scotland's Best Value 2 onto PSIF. The Commission welcomes this approach and would strongly encourage further integration between the different frameworks used by scrutiny and regulatory bodies in order to promote equality."
PSIF has been recognised as providing a corporate overview to performance and self-evaluation, realising improvements in service delivery that make a difference to the people in our communities.
Organisations using PSIF will have less of a scrutiny burden in preparation for audit and inspection activities by the relevant bodies. By incorporating an equalities element into the framework, PSIF has taken an innovative and pragmatic approach to integrating and harmonising key demands on the public sector.
Colin Mair, Chief Executive of the Improvement Service, said: "We are delighted by this welcome of our work from the EHRC and in order to make it fully applicable across Scotland, we want to actively work with partners and other public agencies to join up our equalities and improvement approaches. For example, we will strive to collaborate with our colleagues in Scottish Government, National Health Service (NHS) and police forces.
"We will also continue to offer guidance and support for other self-evaluation frameworks deployed within public sector organisations."
The PSIF Partnership will now actively seek pilot teams from within the 32 organisations using PSIF to ensure the mapping realises effective integration of equalities and improvement planning to further refine, and improve, the self-evaluation process.