• Public Service Improvement Framework

    The Public Service Improvement Framework is a performance improvement model using a self-assessment approach which encourages organisations to conduct a comprehensive review of their own activities and results. It promotes a holistic approach to continuous improvement, and is mapped to a number of established organisational improvement tools.


    How does it work?

    The PSIF provides a framework of key questions to challenge and stimulate performance through a structured process, which is developed to suit organisational needs and drivers.


    Through a programme of training, awareness raising and support from the PSIF Implementation Team, PSIF organisations can systematically roll-out a programme of self-assessments throughout their organisation. The self-assessment process enables organisations to identify their strengths and the areas for improvement which will inform annual planning and define improvement initiatives. You will find information based on the experiences of these organisations in our FAQs.


    How do you get involved?

    The PSIF Partnership is engaging with many public service and third sector organisations, preparing them for future implementation of PSIF.


    If you have any enquiries on PSIF or require further information then please contact psif@improvementservice.org.uk

  • Background to PSIF and PSIF Organisations

    Background to the PSIF

    PSIF was launched in September 2006, with six organisations identified to take part in Phase One of the roll-out: City of Edinburgh Council; Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council (based on certain shared services); Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue; Strathclyde Fire and Rescue; Scottish University for Industry (Learndirect Scotland).


    Thirty-three organisations are now implementing the framework. These are: Angus Council; Argyll and Bute Council; City of Edinburgh Council; Clackmannanshire Council; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; COSLA, Dumfries & Galloway Council; Dundee City Council; Enable; Falkirk Council; Fife Council; The Highland Council; Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS); Improvement Service; Inverclyde Council;  Macmillan Cancer Support; Midlothian Council; The Moray Council; North Ayrshire Council; North Lanarkshire Council; Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland Civil Service; The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR); Police Scotland; Renfrewshire Council; The Richmond Fellowship Scotland; Scottish Borders Council; Scottish Police Authority; Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; Scottish Public Service Ombudsman; Shetland Health and Social Care Partnership; South Lanarkshire Council; Stirling Council; West Dunbartonshire Council.


    How does the PSIF work within Community Planning Partnerships?

    Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) are tasked with the delivery of the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) for each area in Scotland and comprise of officers from local government, the NHS, Police, Fire and the third sector amongst others. The key aim of self-assessment at this level is to allow each CPP to focus on their respective and joint responsibilities to deliver improved outcomes and to identify practical ways in which to do so.


    The following PSIF based frameworks for CPP’s are available to support self-assessment. These are:


    • The CPP Partnership Checklist – Allows CPP’s to assess their own performance against the expectations of the Community Empowerment Act and how the Board is performing as a partnership.
    • Partnership Checklist for LOIP Development – The focus of this checklist is to support CPP’s in the development of their Local Outcomes Improvement Plans, examining areas such as community participation and performance management and reporting for the LOIP.
    • Thematic Partnership Checklist – This framework is designed to support self-assessment of CPP thematic groups, for example community safety, health improvement and lifelong learning.
    • CPP Board Leadership Checklist – This partnership checklist has been developed to support CPP’s to critically review their leadership arrangements and how they currently work in practice.
  • PSIF Benchmarking Network

    The PSIF Benchmarking Network was established in 2010 by Clackmannanshire Council following recognition that there was an absence of reliable comparative results for PSIF organisations for benchmarking for improvement, particularly for people, customer, and community results.


    As anyone involved in self-assessment knows, results play a key part in this process by helping to demonstrate what an organisation achieves. Results also help to show that there are measures in place to monitor performance and assess whether objectives have been met; this in turn helps to drive improvement in service delivery.


    The work of the network involves undertaking further analysis on results to compare and challenge performance, to look in more detail at the corresponding processes and practices and the way services are managed and delivered.  Only once the intelligence that lies behind the results is considered, does it become easier to identify the differences between organisations, to understand why these occur, and to identify what needs to be done to improve a particular aspect of service delivery.


    The network operates within a culture of openness and a spirit of sharing knowledge and good practice with the ultimate aim being learning and improvement for the benefit of our customers and communities.


    The network collates its annual results and produces data on a range of people measures. This shows what organisations have achieved in terms of motivating, involving, developing, and valuing their employees. Some organisations were pleasantly surprised to be the benchmark for others as they felt their work in a particular area was still under development, but they have willingly shared their journey with others in the Network.


    The indicators used by the PSIF Benchmarking Network are currently under review to ensure these remain relevant and focussed on the key priorities of the network.

  • PSIF FAQs - General

    Can I use the PSIF to look at a theme?

    Yes, the PSIF can be used to examine themes, using the red threads that are contained within the framework. Red threads can be used to assess the following themes: Communicating with Employees; Communicating with Customers and Partners; Impact on the Community; Customer Focus; Governance and Accountability; Managing Knowledge and Information; Managing and Developing Employees; Process Improvement; Partnership Working; Sustainability; Equalities; Efficiency; and Benefit Realisation.


    There is also a separate accompanying framework that is focused on a corporate self-assessment.


    What is the difference between the PSIF and EFQM?

    The PSIF is based upon the nine criteria of the EFQM Excellence Model. The PSIF reflects the language and culture of public sector organisations, whereas EFQM is based on private sector profit focus/language.


    Can PSIF be implemented in all public sector organisations?

    The PSIF community already consists of local authorities, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, non-profit departmental bodies and third sector organisations. Tailored PSIF frameworks have also been used by Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) throughout Scotland, both at Board and Thematic level. We would actively welcome enquiries from any public or third sector organisation, both within and beyond Scotland.


    Does the framework allow flexibility?

    The implementation and guidance around the use of the PSIF is flexible to suit each organisation’s culture and experience e.g. some organisations have started their PSIF journey by completing fully facilitated assessments; using online checklists; templates; or using a Corporate Management Team assessment whilst others pilot the PSIF within a service area.  There are numerous options on how to implement PSIF and all are equally valid and realise benefits dependant on that particular organisation.


    How often does the PSIF get updated?

    The PSIF is subject to constant review by our partner organisations and the team within the Improvement Service who monitor its relevance and effectiveness for each participating organisation on an annual basis through the Review Events and formal framework review exercises.


    What scrutiny arrangements are in place for the PSIF?

    The PSIF is subject to scrutiny from our partner organisations, the PSIF organisations and the Improvement Service board.


    If we become part of the PSIF partnership, can our organisation brand the framework with a different name?

    Yes, this is very common and helps to ensure buy-in within organisations.


    How can the PSIF be used to determine budget preferences?

    PSIF organisations should be able to identify budget priorities based on the highlighted areas for improvement.


    Will the PSIF link with my existing performance management system?

    The PSIF is an “umbrella” framework and therefore should match to any existing performance management system.  Many PSIF organisations have already made this key link and the IS PSIF team can advise further on application.


    How is the PSIF governed?

    There is a clear governance structure in place for the management and delivery of PSIF support to all partner organisations. The Improvement Service Board comprises Chief executives from local government; and senior members from COSLA and SOLACE. The Board meets quarterly to review progress on a national level and to direct the officers supporting the PSIF within the Improvement Service on any development or review activity.


    Finally, the PSIF Partnership is fully committed to ensuring that the partner organisations can influence the strategy of the programme. Every year, there is a review process involving lead officers from each PSIF organisation, providing them with an opportunity to feed into new developments and to feedback on those activities which have taken place throughout the year.

  • PSIF FAQs - Benefits

    What are the benefits to my organisation of implementing the PSIF?

    Organisations who have used the PSIF for a number of years report a variety of benefits including a consistent approach to performance management and improvement planning across the organisation, a more proportionate response from scrutiny and inspection bodies and external recognition. Annual reviews of PSIF by those using the framework show consistently high levels of support and satisfaction with the PSIF model.


    What is the main benefit of using the PSIF rather than another quality framework?

    The PSIF clearly links to other existing frameworks in use within the public sector in Scotland, reducing duplication of effort.  The PSIF has been mapped with those frameworks used by audit, inspection and regulatory bodies. These bodies have also agreed to accept evidence towards future inspections via the PSIF framework reducing duplication of effort and time within local authorities.


    The PSIF operates as a partnership with a learning and sharing forum hosted online and via a schedule of regular networking and learning events. This provides a meaningful and open forum to share good practice, experience and lessons learned and offers the opportunity for further benchmarking.

  • PSIF FAQs - Support

    Can I benchmark with other PSIF organisations?

    The sharing of best practice and benchmarking is actively encouraged amongst PSIF practitioners.  There is an informal benchmarking network in the partnership which encourages sharing and learning from benchmarking data and processes.


    What ongoing support is available?

    Organisations will receive support from the IS PSIF team throughout the process, including regular progress meetings with an officer from the IS PSIF Project team.


    The PSIF question set is accompanied by a standard set of materials and supporting systems to ensure a common language and approach for PSIF organisations.


    Through involvement with the PSIF community, you will also have the opportunity to network, benchmark and share best practice with the other organisations that are implementing PSIF. This is achieved through:


    • An annual PSIF Learning Event which focuses on specific issues for the PSIF community, wider links with national initiatives or other frameworks and bodies and practical implementation guidance.
    • The PSIF Knowledge Hub, which enables PSIF practitioners to communicate online with the rest of the PSIF community and to benefit from the learning from past and current PSIF organisations, in a secure and private environment.