Support for Councils

The IS exists to support and mobilise resources for councils and partners to deliver excellent services, improve outcomes and reduce inequalities. We provide a range of improvement support to councils and their partners to support a step change in productivity and efficiency, to support the delivery of improved outcomes and to support thinking about future resilience and sustainability.

To achieve this we operate to the following principles:

  • We shape our products and services to meet the needs of councils and their partners.
  • We work closely with COSLA, SOLACE and other relevant bodies to inform the types of support that we provide to local government and its partners.
  • We are open to working with all councils and their partners.
  • We will engage with councils, their partners and other relevant stakeholders to learn and to share that learning in turn.
  • We will promote measurable improvements in outcomes.

Our products and services

We deliver a range of products that are available to all councils, focused on digital public servicesskills and developmentknowledge management and collaboration and performance management and benchmarking.

We provide a number of consultancy and support services to support all councils to deliver improved outcomes, as well as services relating to enhancing the learning and skills of officers and elected members, and data and intelligence.

Details on all of these, including who to contact for further information or how to get involved, is available from the Products and Services section. We also have a prospectus detailing the products and services available to councils, including services that councils can purchase at additional cost.

Download the Prospectus for Scottish Councils

Transformation Programme Support

This programme is developing proposals for a future operating model for councils and options for future delivery of council services.

It builds on commitments in our Strategic Framework 2020-22 and Business Plan 2021-22 to “develop proposals around what a future council might look like and develop options for the future delivery of key council services based on professional input, learning from the COVID-19 response, performance information and research".

We met with the Solace Officer Bearers in February 2021 to discuss how we could work with councils to design a future operating model, including:

  • Development of proposals for a future operating model, based on lived experience, learning from COVID-19 and research, data and intelligence
  • Development of a high-level options appraisal for service delivery models for key council services, based on professional input, learning from Covid-19 and research
  • A discussion report for Solace covering the above points, providing an opportunity for Chief Executives to input to the ideas generated and next steps for taking the work forward.

In October 2022, we published a paper proposing a new approach for the future operating model of Scottish local authorities. The paper outlines the context that local government is delivering within, the challenges and opportunities it faces and how councils might transition to a model of service delivery that builds on current success but more deliberately supports effective partnerships to improve outcomes for communities.

Download 'Delivering a future for Scottish local authorities: the challenges they face, the questions that need asking and a model for the future'

Other resources

Associates Framework

The Associates Framework Agreement is being set up by the IS for use by the IS and councils. Its key purpose is to provide flexible access to a wide range of expert support and resources to help the IS, CPPs and councils progress priorities.

Improvement Service Associates offer a range of different skills, knowledge and experience and the Framework Agreement is a diverse range of individuals. Associates possess substantial experience in their specialist field/s and provide services such as advice, guidance, consultancy, facilitation, programme and project management support, research and change management support and organisational development support. They have a sound knowledge of the public sector and current policy and political issues affecting it, particularly relating to local government, community planning and the public service reform agenda.

Given the current scale and scope of the challenges facing local government and partners, our priority was to ensure we’ve selected an exceptional, diverse and an experienced group of Associates to support the forward agenda.

To find out how to call-off from the Framework and download all of the up-to-date information – including the Buyers Guide and Associates’ profiles, join the Associates Framework – For Buyers’ Knowledge Hub group.