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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.

Associates framework to offer affordable support to councils and CPPs

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.



Award nominations for card migration project and Data Hub

The National Entitlement Card Migration Project has been shortlisted for three awards at this year’s Scottish Transport Awards.



Places, People and Planning: A consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system

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.



Delegates gather for Scottish Financial Education Conference

Around 150 delegates gathered in Edinburgh for the first financial education conference held in Scotland since 2012.



National accreditation now available for advice providers

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.



First Financial Education Week, 20-24 March 2017

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.



Innovation Exchange shows councils’ inventive and creative approaches to services

SOLACE Scotland and the Improvement Service have launched the Local Government Innovation Exchange (, a website showcasing work by Scottish local authorities.



More councils publishing more notices on tellmescotland

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.



Councils continue to deliver despite financial pressures, new report shows

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.



Councillor induction materials now available

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.



Health centre-based advisors improve outcomes and offer value for money

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.



Tackling economic challenges at joint conference

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.



Conference sets the stage for community empowerment

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.



IS support for Place Standard tool

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.



First Financial Capability Week highlights UK money concerns

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.



Enhanced change management support for councils

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.



myaccount-supported website commended at national awards

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.



Chief Digital Officer and Chief Technology Officer for local government appointed

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 & West Lothian councils extend their use of tellmescotland

East Ayrshire and West Lothian councils are widening their use of tellmescotland, publishing new types of public notices to the portal.



Transformation essential to offset budget cuts to money advice services

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.



Community planning support portal launched

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.



Aberdeenshire Council launches new Alerts Service using myaccount

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.



What does the Review of the Scottish planning system mean for you?

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.



One stop for local government spatial data

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.



Positive report for PSIF from best value review

A best value review of the Public Service Improvement Framework (PSIF) has provided positive feedback on the impact and value of the programme.



Scottish councils seek shared Chief Digital Officer

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.



Improvement Service launches website for aspiring councillors, a new website for candidates standing in the 2017 local government elections and beyond, has been launched by the Improvement Service.


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