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Research and Publications



Research Team

Tel. 01506 283775

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We produce a small number of independent research pieces or publications each year, which are listed below. This is in addition to our programme and project-specific publications which can be found on the relevant pages within our Products and Services sections.


If you are interested in finding out more about our research services, visit our research page.


2017 Publications


Talent Management in Public Services in Scotland reportTalent Management in Public Services in Scotland

This research by the Improvement Service, Edinburgh Napier University Business School and

the University of the West of Scotland’s School of Business and Enterprise aimed to establish the current nature and status of talent management across Scotland’s public services. The report identifies a number of implications for practice and proposes some recommendations as to how these could be addressed.

A practitioner report is also available to accompany this research.



2016 Publications


Instrumental Music Services: Results from the IMS Survey 2016

This report documents the results from the 2016 Instrumental Music Survey.  This is the fourth consecutive year of this national survey and reports on the provision of local authority led Instrumental Music Services in Scotland.  Information available includes: tuition fees, concession rates, instrument hire/loan policies, pupil numbers, costs of services and revenue, instructor numbers, and additional activities.

Download the report: Instrumental Music Services: Results from the IMS Survey May-July 2016

Download the Summary Tables



Place-based Approaches to Joint Planning, Resourcing and Delivery: an overview of current practice in Scotland

This research looks at the current landscape of place-based approaches to joint planning, resourcing and delivery across Scotland’s local authority areas. It is based on literature review and interviews with 27 local authorities in Scotland.



Instrumental Music Services: Results from the IMS Survey 2015

This document outlines the findings of the Instrumental Music Survey 2015, carried out on behalf of Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland (HITS). The survey provides up-to-date information on local authority-led instrumental music services across Scotland.

Download the report: Instrumental Music Services: Results from the IMS Survey 2015

Download the Summary Tables


2015 Publications


Instrumental Music Services: Results from the IMS Survey

This report documents the results from the 2014 Instrumental Music Survey. This survey was

carried out on behalf of the Instrumental Music Implementation Group, which was set up by the

Scottish Government last year (September 2013) to oversee the progress of recommendations

reported by the Instrumental Music Group in June 2013. The purpose of this report is to provide

up-to-date information on the provision of instrumental music services across local authorities in Scotland.

Summary tables also available.



1000 Communities

This study seeks to address patterns of inequalities across Scotland over the past ten years. The key results indicate that inequalities between neighbourhoods in Scotland are persistent over time, and reinforce the multiple nature of positive and negative life outcomes. This calls into question the success of previous policies which sought to reduce such inequality and the ability of public services to meet demands equally across society. The results also highlight the value of employment and income-generating programmes within Scotland’s most deprived areas.



2014 Publications


Consultation practices within Scottish local authorities and community planning partnershipsConsultation practices within Scottish local authorities and community planning partnerships

This report from the Improvement Service and The Consultation Institute examines consultation policies and practices within Scottish local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships. It makes a number of observations about how consultation is currently undertaken and recommendations for how it can be further developed.



2013 Publications


Local incomes and poverty in ScotlandLocal Incomes and Poverty in Scotland

This is the main report from the Income Modelling Project which set out to develop improved measures of local incomes and poverty in Scotland at small area level. The project findings help support work to tackle poverty and reduce inequality in Scotland as reflected in EU commitments, UK legislation on Child Poverty, the Scottish Government’s overarching strategy Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Scotland, and at local level in Community Planning.


The report and technical annexes, including summary income and poverty data for all local authorities, can be downloaded below:


Main project report: Local Incomes and Poverty in Scotland (PDF)

Annex A – Technical Details of Models, Methods and Sources (PDF)

Annex B – Guide to Variables (Excel)

Annex C – Predictive Models (Excel)

Annex D – Area Typologies (Excel)

Annex E – Precision of Estimates (PDF)

Annex F – Income and Poverty Summary for all Local Authorities (Excel)

Annex G – Income and Poverty Measures for four Case Study Local Authorities (Excel)


As well as using the technical annexes which accompany the publication, users can access the small area data for the income and poverty measures using Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS). A  theme report, Income and Poverty – modelled estimates, is available on the SNS website.



Scotland's Councillors 2013Scotland’s Councillors 2013

This report presents the findings of a survey of all councillors in Scotland and provides a comprehensive picture of Scottish councillors, including gender, age, educational level, employment status, household income and caring responsibilities. The report also explores wider issues such as why the councillors stood for election, their training and development experiences and their views on policy priorities. This survey was similar, but not identical, to surveys of newly elected and re-elected councillors carried out in 1999 and 2003 by COSLA and the then Scottish Executive, and in 2007 by the Improvement Service.



2011 Publications


Making better places, making places betterMaking better places, making places better: distribution of positive and negative outcomes in Scotland

The aim of this paper is to provide evidence into the distribution of positive and negative outcomes within Scotland; to draw attention to the stark inequalities that exist; to demonstrate the distinctive geographical distribution of outcomes and to highlight the strong inter-correlation of positive and negative outcomes at local neighbourhood level. Secondly, and on the basis of this evidence, to link this to wider discussion around public sector reform to improve outcomes for individuals and communities and ensure future financial sustainability. Finally, the critical role of an integrated approach to local place and place ‘making’ is emphasised. See also the Appendices.



2009 Publications


Renfrewshire Council peer review of rent collection - good practice guideRenfrewshire Council peer review of rent collection – good practice guide

This Guide has been prepared by Renfrewshire Council and the five peer councils (East Ayrshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire) to highlight examples of good practice within their councils in relation to rent collection, rent recovery, debt prevention and performance management. The Guide has been structured to enable other councils to consider each example of good practice and to indicate whether or not it is already in place. In the event that a good practice example is not evident within the council, it is recommended that the council considers the feasibility of introducing the good practice as part of its improvement planning.



Renfrewshire Council peer review of rent collection services - key recommendationsRenfrewshire Council peer review of rent collection services – key recommendations

Summary of the key recommendations from a peer review of Renfrewshire Council's Finance and IT and Housing and Property Services departments. The review focused on rent collection, rent arrears, preventative measures and debt management. The areas considered by the peer review team during the review were leadership and governance, performance management, stakeholder management and organisational development.


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