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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.

Regional approaches to maximising inclusive economic growth - Phase 2 report

A second phase of the ‘Regional Approaches to Maximising Inclusive Economic Growth: Local Authorities’ Perspective’ work has now been published.


Project management qualifications scoop public service award

A programme to develop project management skills in the public sector, created by the Improvement Service and Scotland Excel, won the Employee Development and Skills Award at the Public Sector Awards 2019.


Share your election campaign stories with LGIU

Our colleagues at the LGIU have recently launched a project #DispatchesFromTheDoorsteps which will run up to the general election on 12 December.


Conference explores violence against women and public health

On 25 November 2019, the Improvement Service, COSLA and NHS Health Scotland held a national conference with support from the Public Health Reform team and the National Violence Against Women Network to highlight why violence against women (VAW) is a public health issue.


Spatial Hub wins Scottish Award for Quality in Planning

The Spatial Hub project has won an award at the 20th annual Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning. It was entered under the ‘Process’ category alongside a host of local government planning projects.


Spatial Hub sign partnership with Edinburgh University’s EDINA to share local government data with academia

The Spatial Information Service has signed a partnership agreement with EDINA (an Edinburgh University centre of data and digital excellence) to enable it to share Spatial Hub data with the entire academic sector.


Community Planning in Scotland website refreshed

The Community Planning in Scotland website, which signposts national and regional community planning support resources, has been refreshed to make it simpler to navigate and easier to find the support available.


Polling data now available on Data Hub

Since the General Election was announced, the Improvement Service’s Spatial Information Service (SIS) has been collating up-to-date data about each local authority’s polling districts and polling places.


Annual survey and improvement plans

The IS has published the findings of its annual stakeholder survey, which assesses and reports the extent to which councils and partnerships find our support valuable.


Councils wanted to test debt advice funding model

The Improvement Service (IS) is looking for a number of local authorities to help test a model of distributing funding for debt advice.


Latest report on basic income feasibility published feasibility published

Partners involved in exploring the feasibility of citizens basic income (CBI) pilots in Scotland have published an interim report into their findings.


Spatial Hub now enabling efficient data sharing between utilities company and local government

New data sharing agreement with SGN enables the Spatial Hub to make SGN’s gas network data  available to local government. In return, SGN now has full access to all local authority data published by the Spatial Hub.


Engagement sessions on the devolved Debt Levy funding

We are inviting public and third sector organisations to take part in a series of events around our report on ‘Potential funding models and delivery approaches which could be used to allocate the levy funding devolved to the Scottish Government for debt advice’.


Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Update

Local authority staff working hard towards the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) got together in September at the Early Learning and Childcare Summit.


Workshop aims to improve data management and use

The Improvement Service and East Ayrshire Council recently ran a workshop on data science and analytics advice and guidance. Many of the council’s service managers and transformation officers were in attendance and involved in breakout sessions to discuss topics raised.


Councillor surgeries are now online!

Information about councillor surgeries is now available on TellMeScotland.


Debt advice funding and delivery models report published

The Improvement Service has published a preliminary report, 'Potential Funding Models And Delivery Approaches Which Could Be Used To Allocate The Levy Funding Devolved To The Scottish Government For Debt Advice', on potential funding models and delivery approaches for allocating levy funding for debt advice.


Promoting roads careers in South and East Ayrshire

The Roads Collaboration Programme has been working with Ayrshire Roads Alliance and East Ayrshire Education to provide two educational insight events into roads careers.


Councillor Gail Mcgregor, COSLA's Resources Spokesperson, visits the Improvement Service

COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor visited the Improvement Service to find out more about the organisation’s role in supporting improvement and innovation in local public services and the work being delivered by the IS to support national public service reform at a local level.


The ambition for superfast broadband for all in Scotland

How the One Scotland Gazetteer is helping Scottish Government achieve its broadband ambitions.


Nominations open for the Scottish Public Service Awards 2019

Nominations are now open for the Scottish Public Service Awards 2019, which celebrate excellence within Scotland’s public services.


First PDA in Project Management students qualify

The Improvement Service congratulates the first cohort of the PDA in Project Management, who have received their certificates for the SCQF level 8 course.


Improving digital public services for young people

The Improvement Service is working with Young Scot to increase the range of digital services available to Scotland’s young people, regardless of geography, experience and circumstance.


Place, public health reform and the case for the early adopter

As Scotland embraces the aspirations of public health reform, the Improvement Service (IS) is working on a Place and Health Early Adopter programme looking at how to integrate spatial planning into public health policy.


IS response to public health consultation

The Improvement Service (IS) has published its response to the Scottish Government consultation on the creation of a national public health body, 'Public Health Scotland'.


Regional approaches to inclusive economic growth

The experiences of Scotland’s local authorities in relation to regional economic working have been set out in a new report.


IS shortlisted for national planning award

The Spatial Information Service at the Improvement Service has been shortlisted for a national planning award by the Scottish Government.


Volunteers wanted to help create new social security system

The Scottish Government is seeking volunteers to help shape Scotland’s new social security system. Applications are open to people from any background with experience of the current benefits system to join the Scottish Government’s Social Security Experience Panels.


Scotland's Census 2021 is going online!

Census 2021 will be the first to be conducted in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland primarily online.


Economic development group publishes strategic plan

SLAED, the Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group, has published its Strategic Plan for 2019-22.


The future of digital services for young people

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.


IS wins at Scottish ICT Awards

The Digital Public Service team at the Improvement Service has won the Connect Innovate Award at Holyrood’s 2019 Connect ICT Awards.


Local Development Plans among new Spatial Hub datasets

The Spatial Information Service (SIS) has published several new datasets as part of the Spatial Hub data publication schedule.


Improvement Service supporting STEM career activities

The Improvement Service recently supported a STEM Jobs and Skills Fair, held in the Livingston Football Stadium, run by Developing Young Workforce West Lothian.


Recovering from domestic abuse: Cedar’s impact in Scotland - National Cedar Conference

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.


Spatial Hub commercial partnership offer promoted at GeoBusiness/GeoData conference

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.


Former Chief Executive of the Improvement Service dies

It is with great sadness that we announce that Colin Mair, former Chief Executive of the Improvement Service, passed away on Friday, 17 May.


IS Finalist in three categories at Scottish ICT awards

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 for schools in Linlithgow

West Lothian Council launches for schools in the Linlithgow area. 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.


IS Spatial Information Service to attend GeoDATA Forum

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.


Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes MSP visits the Improvement Service

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.


Your views needed: A Money Guidance Practitioner framework

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.


Councils urged to check rigorous systems and processes are in place to safeguard finances

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.


Blog: Shared Lives Moray

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.


Step into STEM

Staff from the Improvement Service’s Roads Collaboration Programme and the Spatial Hub supported the recent Step into STEM Event in West Lothian (Wednesday 6 March).


Four ways planning can improve wellbeing across Scotland

Planning’s well-evidenced impact on the creation of successful places contributes to the National Performance Framework ask to improve physical and mental wellbeing.


Scottish citizens can now use digital identity app Yoti to securely access their Improvement Service myaccount

Scottish citizens can now use digital identity app Yoti to securely prove their identity and verify their Improvement Service myaccount.


IS signs agreement with Local Government Digital Partnership

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 councils express interest in community lottery

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


£250,000 reimbursed to Scottish councils for data improvements

The IS' Spatial Information Service (SIS) recently reimbursed local authorities a total of £250,000 to assist with improving their spatial data.


IS funds software training for address and street data management

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.


Councils continuing to perform well for communities but pressures are starting to show

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.


Leadership course for roads managers

The Roads Collaboration Programme welcomes the second cohort of aspiring road service managers to the Routes to Leadership course, commencing in March 2019.


PhD opportunity - Using administrative data to improve neighbourhood environments

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.


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