Working in Partnership

Our partnerships across local government and the public sector are vital in supporting the wide range of projects that the Improvement Service delivers.


The Partnership Agreement between the Improvement Service and COSLA has been in place since March 2021, supporting and increasing collaboration and partnership working between both organisations.

Partnership successes include:

  • COSLA and the Improvement Service collaborated on a project that aims to provide a holistic view of the progress towards actions and outcomes identified in the Covid Recovery Strategy at both a national and local level.
  • The Improvement Service provided evidence to help inform COSLA’s response to the initial Scottish Government consultation on the National Care Service.
  • The Improvement Service and COSLA worked together to coordinate a cost collection exercise for Early Learning and Childcare to understand the costs of delivery for providers in the private and third sector.

The partnership continues to build on strong foundations and working relationships developed between COSLA and the Improvement Service over many years. Both organisations are working together to create momentum for the partnership, recognising that it will be organic in nature and evolve and mature over time. Both organisations have also worked together to align their respective five-year plans.

Public Health Scotland

The Improvement Service and Public Health Scotland also have a Partnership Agreement in place, and both organisations are committed to working together to improve the health and wellbeing of communities.

The Agreement has identified the following strategic priorities:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Covid Recovery
  • Elected Member Development
  • Transition to Net Zero Carbon
  • Child Poverty
  • Gender Based Violence

Accounts Commission

The Accounts Commission and the Improvement Service agreed a Strategic Alliance in May 2021, and the two organisations have worked closely since on reporting and supporting change and improvement across three of the dominant pressures facing Scotland’s councils: the multiple impacts of Covid-19; increasing service demand; and financial pressures.

The Alliance is having clear benefits, enriching our work and our reporting and proving valuable to colleagues. Partnership successes include:

  • Active involvement by Improvement Service staff in the Accounts Commission’s Local Government overview reporting advisory groups.
  • Improvement Service staff being active participants in the Strategic Scrutiny Group’s Community Empowerment Advisory Group
  • Improvement Service staff input into the Accounts Commission’s joint report with the Auditor General for Scotland, tracking the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland’s public finances
  • The Improvement Service and Accounts Commission jointly hosting an event for education directors and elected members, focused on a report from the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General for Scotland on improving outcomes for young people through school education.

The Improvement Service and Accounts Commission jointly hosting an online workshop for elected members on the Commission’s Local Government in Scotland Overview 2022.


The Improvement Service is working with a group of seven council Chief Executives on a transformation project, including a think piece entitled Delivering a future for Scottish local authorities: The challenges they face, the questions that need asking, and a model for the future. Work is now underway to develop a programme plan to translate the think piece into action, which started with a breakout session at the 2022 Solace Scotland conference delivered by the Improvement Service’s Chief Executive, Sarah Gadsden, and Gerard McCormack, Head of Transformation, Performance and Improvement.

The interactive session focused on six themes - unlocking community action; leading council and cross-sector partnerships; enabling a functioning, trusted local and central government relationship; designing for people’s needs; creating digital, design and technology-enabled transformation; and tackling inequality.


SEEMiS is an education Management Information System (MIS) provider. As the standard MIS within Scottish Education, all local student data is processed and managed by SEEMiS software offering interfaces with external agencies. In 2017, the Improvement Service and SEEMiS established a partnership with a joint vision of enabling and creating a digital relationship between parents, pupils and schools through is an online service designed to improve communications between schools and parents. It replaces the schoolbag run with direct digital communications to provide secure access to parents to a wide range of online services and information about their child’s education.

Data from SEEMiS allows for secure identification and authentication through the mygovscot myaccount portal, allowing parents to easily sign up for SEEMiS provides pupil, parent and school data to the customer self-service portal, enabling it to operate and function securely and effectively.

Young Scot

The Improvement Service works closely with Young Scot to deliver their membership platform and the Young Scot National Entitlement Card. The platform is one method by which young people can apply for a Young Scot National Entitlement Card, which gives holders money off goods and services, as well as acting as a proof of age card.

Our working relationship with Young Scot became more significant during the build up to the launch of the Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel Scheme in January 2022. Young Scot communications around the Scheme was vital in ensuring that young people and parents were able to successfully complete online applications and access the benefits of free bus travel.

The IS and Young Scot work very closely together to deliver shared ambitions that can benefit Young Scot cardholders, including via the technology platforms developed by the Improvement Service.

Ordnance Survey

The Improvement Service has worked in partnership with Ordnance Survey for over 15 years, and the relationship continues to go from strength to strength.

The IS works with Scottish local government to publish vital address and street data covering the whole of Scotland. This data is not only of essential benefit throughout the public sector, notably by emergency services and major central government initiatives, but is also much sought after by Ordnance Survey’s partners and customers.

For this reason, the two organisations have in place a Data Sharing Agreement, which sees this valuable data flow from IS to OS on an almost constant basis.

This property and road network data is provided, by IS, to Geoplace (a Local Government Association and OS joint venture), who in turn prepare the data for publication in Ordnance Survey product ranges, notably the flagship AddressBase and OS Highways product ranges.

The two organisations play a fundamental role in the management and development of the entire geospatial industry in Scotland. This includes supporting the public sector for use of location-based analysis and guiding the industry on the best products and services to use. IS and OS are members of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement, and both play a leadership role in the governance of the policies and practices relating to data sharing and championing best practice.

Sustainable Scotland Network

The Improvement Service (IS) and the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) have come together to align priorities and resources to improve support to Scotland’s public sector bodies in tackling climate change.

The SSN Secretariat and the Improvement Service have been working closely to deliver a range of support including briefings, workshops and research. The partnership is also supporting a number of strategic projects including the SSN Local Authority Forum, the Climate Emergency Leaders Checklist, various Officer Working Groups, enhanced data analysis, and developing the SSN online Net Zero manual.

Our work with the Sustainable Scotland Network and other partners is vital in delivering the aims of the Improvement Service’s own Net Zero statement and our wider work in supporting local government and the public sector. Local government is key to delivering the ambitious Net Zero targets set by the Scottish Government and ensuring a 'green recovery' from Covid.