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.
Thanks to a brand new membership platform, young people aged 12-26 in Scotland can now discover and access Young Scot discounts, rewards and additional bespoke opportunities all in one place for the first time.
The Digital Public Service team at the Improvement Service has won the Connect Innovate Award at Holyrood’s 2019 Connect ICT Awards.
The Spatial Information Service (SIS) has published several new datasets as part of the Spatial Hub data publication schedule.
The Improvement Service recently supported a STEM Jobs and Skills Fair, held in the Livingston Football Stadium, run by Developing Young Workforce West Lothian.
The recent national Cedar (children experiencing domestic abuse recovery) conference took place at COSLA, with keynotes including Cllr Kelly Parry, Trevor Owen (Scottish Government), Anne Marie Hicks (National Procurator Fiscal) and Cedar graduates.
The Spatial Information Service (SIS) team exhibited at the annual GeoBusiness/ GeoData conference in London in May. It was specifically promoting its offer of commercial partnerships to help get local government data out to the 100+ companies that have been requesting it over the past few years.
It is with great sadness that we announce that Colin Mair, former Chief Executive of the Improvement Service, passed away on Friday, 17 May.
The Digital Public Service team at the Improvement Service have been shortlisted as a finalist in three categories at the upcoming Holyrood’s 2019 Connect ICT Awards.
The Awards are Scotland’s only event which celebrates the excellence and achievements of ICT in the Scottish public sector. The categories reflect the innovative and creative solutions found to solve public service challenges through the use of technology to bring real benefits to Scotland’s citizens.
West Lothian Council launches parentsportal.scot for schools in the Linlithgow area. parentsportal.scot is a new secure online service to transform communications between schools and parents. With direct digital communications replacing the schoolbag run, it provides secure access for parents to a wide range of online services and information about their child’s education.
The Improvement Service has made great progress in creating a sustainable model for increasing the use and maintenance of key local government data assets.
Given that we are currently looking for partnership opportunities to help in those endeavours, the Spatial Information Service will be exhibiting and hosting a workshop at the upcoming GeoDATA Forum/GEO Business conference in London from 21-22 May 2019.
The Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, visited the Improvement Service to find out more about the organisation’s role in supporting local government improvement and transformation. The visit specifically focused on the close partnership work between the Scottish Government and the Improvement Service in delivering high quality digital public services which are continually improving and responsive to citizens' needs.
In 2017 the Money Advice Service (now part of the Money and Pensions Service) brought together a consortium of 14 advice and guidance organisations from across the UK to consider how to raise the quality of money guidance through practitioners.
Systems to prevent public money being lost to mistakes and fraud in Scotland's councils may be becoming strained, says Scotland’s public spending watchdog for local government.
At the end of January, I was delighted to attend a Parliamentary reception in Holyrood, to celebrate Shared Lives in Scotland. Sponsored by Richard Lochhead MSP, the event brought together Shared Lives Shared Lives carers, service users, scheme staff and members of the Scottish Parliament to celebrate all that Shared Lives schemes in Scotland have achieved over the past year.
Planning’s well-evidenced impact on the creation of successful places contributes to the National Performance Framework ask to improve physical and mental wellbeing.
The Improvement Service and the Local Government Digital Transformation Partnership have signed a partnership agreement with the aim of providing more seamless support for digital transformation within councils.
Fourteen Scottish councils have expressed interest in taking part in a community lottery, with a number of others wanting to be kept informed of progress. Fourteen councils express interest in community lottery
The IS' Spatial Information Service (SIS) recently reimbursed local authorities a total of £250,000 to assist with improving their spatial data.
During January 2019, the Improvement Service funded technical software training for Scottish local authority staff to assist with the management of their street and property data.
Scotland’s councils have done a very good job in delivering essential services for their communities in light of increased demand for services. They are very aware, however, of the increasing challenges ahead as budget pressures begin to bite, as a new report highlights.
The Roads Collaboration Programme welcomes the second cohort of aspiring road service managers to the Routes to Leadership course, commencing in March 2019.
The Improvement Service, in partnership with the University of Stirling, has successfully applied for funding from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science to jointly support an ESRC-funded PhD studentship.
The IS and Carnegie Trust UK have produced a briefing paper for elected members which explains what is meant by affordable credit and why it has a key role to play in locally based policies that alleviate poverty and address income inequality.
Eighty-one per cent of stakeholders are satisfied or very satisfied with the support they receive from the Improvement Service (IS) - an increase of 4% from 2017.
Local authority investment in money and welfare rights advice provision reaps significant benefits for citizens with every £1 invested providing financial gains of £21-24 for clients, according to a new report.
The Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development (SLAED) Indicators Report for 2017/18 was published on 6 December 2018. The publication coincided with the SLAED- EDAS annual conference.
The Improvement Service has launched a renewed offer of support to councils on transformation.
Last month I had the pleasure of meeting directors of public health as a group for the first time and was deeply encouraged by their positive attitude not only towards the reform of public health but also to the role local government plays in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for our communities.
For a number of months, the Improvement Service has been facilitating discussions with councils on the potential to establish a local authority lottery scheme.
The first three cohorts of the PDA in Project Management are underway, with each group progressing well and really interesting debates in each workshop.
In June 2018 the Improvement Service hosted its first Change Manager's Networking Event.
We listened to those who attended the event and found that individuals and organisations were looking for support with change and transformation, particularly around service redesign, leadership, culture, people, empowerment and data.
The Spatial Information Service (SIS) exists to improve local authority’s spatial data and its use. It also plays a role in promoting spatial data and technology across the wider community.
Violence and abuse can have a devastating impact on the lives of women and children in local communities. It is estimated that more than 1 in 3 women in Scotland have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, and 1 in 5 children have experienced domestic abuse.
On 3 December the Improvement Service will be presented with the nationally recognised Cycle Friendly Employer Award by Cycling Scotland. The Award aims to support and encourage cycling as a healthy, sustainable and accessible way to travel to work.
Inspired by Lt Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, written during the First World War, the poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The IS’s Change Management Team has developed a range of free training for councils to help improve their change management skills and capacity.
Work on the next generation of myaccount has begun following the contract award in August. With the ink now dry on the contracts, the Improvement Service has been busy working with the four appointed suppliers - Tata Consultancy, Brightsolid, Yoti and Wallet Services - to lay the foundations for the next generation ambitions to be achieved.
The Scottish Government has granted £189,000 to the Improvement Service to extend the availability of money and welfare advice in healthcare settings.
Geospatial data underpins almost everything we do, from satellites to smartphones. With a recognised skills deficiency in this sector, the Improvement Service recently hosted a week-long pupil placement in geospatial data analysis.
The Spatial Information Service (SIS) delivers a range of projects and initiatives that seek to make better use, and increase the value, of local authorities’ rich location and address-based data. It also provides guidance, support and representation for local authorities on many national data and technology initiatives.
The Talk Money Scotland Week (formerly Financial Capability Week) will take place between the 12-18 November 2018. The annual event is celebrating the work thousands of organisations are doing to improve financial capability across the UK.
The Improvement Service has been working with National Records of Scotland in preparation for the 2021 Census. The forthcoming Census, which will be conducted online for the first time in the UK, will use the One Scotland Gazetteer (OSG) as the core address dataset.
Partners in Planning have launched a new website to provide people working in the planning system with a single point of access to the skills and knowledge that enable behaviour change.
The new Professional Development Award (PDA) in Project Management offered jointly by the Improvement Service and Scotland Excel is off to an encouraging start. Seven councils are taking part in the first cohort with a further four council-specific cohorts to come over the next few months in South Lanarkshire (x2), North Lanarkshire and Fife.
A pilot project to establish a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) has increased access to affordable credit and financial services among its target market, and improved confidence in managing money, according to an evaluation by the Improvement Service.
Two new datasets - cycle networks and culverts - have been published on Spatial Hub, the source of Scottish local government spatial data.
The Welfare Advice Service Facilitator team has created a short film to support the establishment of welfare advice and health partnerships.
The IS' change management team visited Wigan Council in June to find out more about how it has been changing the way it works with customers, communities and partners.
The IS Change Management team held a Change Manager’s Networking Event in Glasgow in June.
A new project to tackle the attainment gap in Scotland through partnership with Scottish Government and Young Scot has been launched by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
The Improvement Service has appointed four technology partners to further develop myaccount and its platform for digital public services.
The Improvement Service and Scotland Excel are joining forces to deliver an established qualification in project management. The course will focus on the practical application of key project management skills in a local government context.
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.