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.
We publish news from the Improvement Service as well as other news relevant to local government improvement in Scotland. We welcome contributions from Scottish local authorities and partner organisations. If you have a story you would like to share, contact us.
An 'associates framework' is being commissioned by the IS as part of our support for councils and CPPs. The key purpose of the framework is to provide access to a wide range of expert support and resources to help the IS, CPPs and councils progress work where they need extra capacity on a flexible basis.
The National Entitlement Card Migration Project has been shortlisted for three awards at this year’s Scottish Transport Awards.
The Improvement Service (IS) welcomed the recent opportunity to input into this review of the planning system. The consultation highlights the key role of planning to nurture our places, our environment and our communities, and guide future change so that it benefits everyone.
Around 150 delegates gathered in Edinburgh for the first financial education conference held in Scotland since 2012.
Funding for a new accreditation model for the not-for-profit advice sector has been secured from the Scottish Government. The Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP) accreditation model is available for housing, welfare benefits and money/debt advice, managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Scotland's first Financial Education Week runs from the 20-24 March, organised by Education Scotland and the Money Advice Service, in partnership with the Scottish Financial Capability Partnership.
Thirty-one of Scotland's 32 councils are now using tellmescotland to publish public information notices (PINs) as Aberdeenshire Council becomes the latest to join the portal.
Total current spending by Scottish councils has reduced by 11% in real terms from £17.18 billion to £15.30 billion in the last six years according to a new report. The report also highlights that despite this 11% reduction across the period, the vast majority of productivity, output and outcome measures within councils have improved.
Three induction notebooks for intended for councillors due to be elected in May have been published by the IS. The notebooks make up the first of a series of seven that will be available to new councillors.
Locating advice workers in health centres and allowing them access to individual medical records (with consent) results in positive outcomes for vulnerable people and represents good value for money, finds a new report.
Brexit, City Region Deals and budget challenges were among the topics under discussion at the first joint conference of EDAS (Economic Development Association Scotland) and SLAED (Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development) in December.
Delegates from across Scotland gathered in Kilmarnock last week for a national conference on community empowerment.
The event, entitled 'Our journey to people-powered transformation', was jointly held by East Ayrshire Council and the Improvement Service and it attracted representation from public sector agencies and local authorities from across Scotland.
The Improvement Service is offering support to Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) in using and applying the Place Standard tool.
The Place Standard tool is being welcomed as a way of finding out what communities think of their place. It provides a valuable input into any place-based, collaborative working.
The UK’s first Financial Capability Week is taking place from 14–20 November, aiming to raise awareness about what financial capability means, its importance, and the organisations involved in making a difference.
Councils undergoing change can look forward to more support from the Improvement Service (IS).
The IS has expanded its change management team and is developing an enhanced programme of work in this area. The focus will be on providing support to councils and partnerships to deliver transformational and operational level change.
A NHS Scotland website that helps diabetes patients and their carers manage their condition has been commended at the National Quality in Care Diabetes Awards 2016.
Two senior officers have been appointed to the newly created local government digital office to help a group of Scottish councils drive change across local services.
Martyn Wallace and Dr Colin Birchenall will take up their new posts as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Technology Officer in the coming weeks.
East Ayrshire and West Lothian councils are widening their use of tellmescotland, publishing new types of public notices to the portal.
Local authorities will need to implement wide-ranging transformation in order to maintain advice services in the face of budget cuts, according to a review by the Money Advice Outcomes Project.
A new web portal signposting the support available for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) has been launched.
Developed by the Improvement Service, the Community Planning in Scotland portal brings together information about the support available from national improvement agencies (Improvement Service, Education Scotland, NHS Health Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland) and national programmes such as Workforce Scotland.
In a move to further encourage take-up of online services, Aberdeenshire Council has launched a new Alerts Service using myaccount - the first time the sign-in service has been used in this way.
As Scottish Ministers consider recommendations to simplify and strengthen the planning system, the IS is asking itself what it can do to support public services through the impending change.
The Improvement Service has launched the Spatial Hub, a single point of access to Scottish local authority data.
Developed and managed by the IS' Spatial Information Service, Spatial Hub takes datasets submitted by individual local authorities, standardises the format and publishes as a national dataset.
A best value review of the Public Service Improvement Framework (PSIF) has provided positive feedback on the impact and value of the programme.
Twenty-five councils in Scotland are joining forces to drive digital transformation in local services by establishing a Digital Transformation partnership and they are recruiting a Chief Digital Officer and team to work across the sector.
The Chief Digital Officer will be expected to shape and lead a programme of change that will radically improve how local services work and how councils serve citizens.
Localcouncillor.scot, a new website for candidates standing in the 2017 local government elections and beyond, has been launched by the Improvement Service.