Members of the IS change management team with their award

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 signs 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.


£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.


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.


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.


Affordable credit briefing for elected members

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.


Satisfaction with Improvement Service increasing

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.


Councils' investment in money advice reaps benefits for citizens

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.


New transformation support available from IS

The Improvement Service has launched a renewed offer of support to councils on transformation.


New Report Highlights Extent of Councils’ Economic Development Activities

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.


Blog: Public health reform is an opportunity we need to grasp

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.


A community lottery for Scottish local government

For a number of months, the Improvement Service has been facilitating discussions with councils on the potential to establish a local authority lottery scheme.


First cohorts of project management qualification underway

The first three cohorts of the PDA in Project Management are underway, with each group progressing well and really interesting debates in each workshop.


Improvement Service hosts second Change Manager’s Networking Event

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.


Spatial Information Service publishes new national datasets and encourages conference attendance

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.


16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign - 25 November to 10 December

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.


Improvement Service to be awarded Cycle Friendly Employer Award

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.


Improvement Service supports Scottish Poppy Appeal 2018

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.


Change Management Training for Councils

The IS’s Change Management Team has developed a range of free training for councils to help improve their change management skills and capacity.


Cloud services and online proof of identity among myaccount developments

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.


Funding to increase number of money advice workers in GP practices

The Scottish Government has granted £189,000 to the Improvement Service to extend the availability of money and welfare advice in healthcare settings.


Supporting STEM careers through pupil placement

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.


Increasing the value of local government data

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.


Get ready for Talk Money Scotland Week 2018

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.


One Scotland Gazetteer to support first online census

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.


Launch of Partners In Planning website: a key element to delivering outcomes

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.


Change management support

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.


Community finance project improves financial inclusion

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.


Cycle networks and culverts added to Spatial Hub

Two new datasets - cycle networks and culverts - have been published on Spatial Hub, the source of

Scottish local government spatial data.


Money Worries - In Sickness and In Health

The Welfare Advice Service Facilitator team has created a short film to support the establishment of welfare advice and health partnerships.


Change management team learning from Wigan colleagues

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.


Change manager's networking event

The IS Change Management team held a Change Manager’s Networking Event in Glasgow in June.


Partnership looking to smart technology to tackle attainment

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.


Next Generation contract for myaccount and digital public services awarded

The Improvement Service has appointed four technology partners to further develop myaccount and its platform for digital public services.


New project management qualification from Improvement Service and Scotland Excel

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. ready to go live

 A new online service designed to transform communications between schools and parents/carers is about to be launched. is designed to replace the ‘schoolbag run’, giving parents online access to a range of school-related services.


Myaccount celebrates over 500,000 registered users

Myaccount, the secure sign-in service for online public services in Scotland, has reached a milestone of half a million registered users. A Glasgow resident has become the 500,000th person to register with the service.


Talk Money Scotland Week 2018

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.


Transformation on the table at public service discussions

The Improvement Service and Audit Scotland hosted a round table on transformational change in January, with public service and third sector leaders, policy makers and partners attending to speak about their experiences.


Green light for basic income pilot thanks to successful funding bid

A successful joint bid to the Scottish Government for £250,000 will help fund the work to design local pilots of basic income in four councils across Scotland.


Mental health programme seeking workplace equality consultant

See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, is looking for a Workplace Equality Consultant.


First Spatial Hub Forum a success

Local government spatial data experts gathered on 1 May 2018 for the first Spatial Hub Forum, hosted by the Spatial Information Service (SIS).


IS ‘highly commended’ for welfare advice research at LARIA awards

The Improvement Service was highly commended at the LARIA Research Impact Awards 2018, coming second in the ‘best use of local area research’ category.


Support for tackling child poverty

The IS is supporting the Scottish Government and Hunter Foundation Innovation Fund to tackle child poverty, with interim chief executive Sarah Gadsden sitting on the panel to advise on applications.


Framework for measuring performance and progress in tackling violence against women published

The Scottish Government, COSLA and the Improvement Service have published the Equally Safe Quality Standards and Performance Framework. Developed in partnership with the National Violence Against Women Network, the framework provides an invaluable resource to help multi-agency Violence Against Women Partnerships measure their progress and performance in implementing Equally Safe: Scotland’s Strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls at a local level.


Improvement Service shortlisted for LARIA Research Impact Award

The Improvement Service’s Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of the embedding of welfare rights advisors in medical practices has been shortlisted for the ‘best use of local area research’ award in the Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) Research Impact Awards.


myaccount to continue to support Scottish Government’s ambitions for digital public services

2018 will be a big year for this multiple award-winning service, as we look to build on myaccount’s strong foothold in local government and health. In the first quarter of the year, more online public services “powered by” myaccount will launch – Parents Portal, NHS Scotland’s Health and Social Care Portal (as a proof of concept) and South Lanarkshire Council.


Improvement Service appoints interim chief executive

The Improvement Service has appointed an interim chief executive, initially for eight months, to succeed Colin Mair, who retires at the end of this month. Sarah Gadsden, currently Director of Strategic Development and Collaboration within the Improvement Service, was chosen by the Improvement Service Board.


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