Public Service Reform

The Public Service Reform team at Improvement Service ensures that local authorities are supported to make the necessary changes required to deliver outcome-led, person-centred services that engender long-lasting reform, in line with the Christie Principles.

Support for local service change projects

We offer direct assistance to local authorities and their partners to design and deliver place-based and person-centred approaches using our diverse toolkit for implementation. This toolkit draws on our experience in:

The Improvement Service has been supporting our work to develop multi-disciplinary working in Highland Perthshire. The expertise and outside perspective that they bring to this work has been valuable in helping us to structure our approach, develop workstreams, report on progress, and define outcomes. They have signposted other organisations and projects that we can share learning with and learn from. They've facilitated workshops for us, attended meetings and overall have become a key and trusted partner in our ongoing work.

Every project is different, and the tools and techniques used will vary depending on the nature of the project. We do not have a rigid methodology and recognise that reform and transformation rarely start from a blank page – there is a need to understand and respond to the specific context in which the projects are being developed before tailoring an approach.

Having understood the context, we work with teams to implement the recipe of tools, techniques, and processes necessary to turn seemingly unachievable or difficult goals into tangible realities.

Diagram showing how we work with councils on public sector reform
  • Agree Your Goals - Agree on a desired end-state to work towards, so short term activity is shown to be moving in the right direction. What is the scope of the project? Are there clear and realistic objectives? What can be done to test different ideas?
  • Articulate Your Project - Frame and structure your project in a clear way, making it easier to start implementing change while showing how the diverse efforts of teams and individuals contribute to the aims and vision. What is the critical path for the project? Is there an understanding of the interdependencies between the different elements? Are roles and responsibilities of individuals, teams and organisations clearly understood?
  • Understand Barriers and Opportunities - Unpack problems and discover insights with critical and analytical exercises. Do you understand the root cause of barriers? How can you identify citizens in need? What has been done to engage with and understand the people using and working with the service?
  • Discuss and Decide - Coordination and facilitation of discussions between public and third sector along with community planning partners, supporting, and challenging to reach a shared understanding and collective commitment. Are the right people involved in the project? Are all stakeholders engaged in and supportive of the changes?
  • Deliver and Monitor - Carrying out service improvement can be messy. We can help you to clearly monitor, articulate and communicate progress to help keep stakeholders included, listened to, and involved in shaping and implementing the change. What should be done to understand the impact of the change you deliver? How do you create the will for change amongst service staff and partners?
  • Share Experiences - By documenting progress in projects we can help ensure the lessons are learned from initiatives and can nurture the sharing of good practice and building of capacity. We help with finding information, linking you with colleagues from across Scotland who may be undertaking similar work. We collect and distribute shared learning and best practice that can be used to drive further person-centred approaches to service change.

When looking to identify the projects and programmes that local authorities are taking forward that look to embed holistic, preventative partnership services, invariably the collective challenge that they are looking to address is child and family poverty. This is driven by the clear health and social disadvantages faced by children and families living and growing up in poverty and low-income households, and the resultant cost to the public purse.

Local authorities have reflected to us that the system of services, benefits and supports from the public and third sector that exist to help people out of poverty are fragmented and disjointed, forcing people to repeat their story multiple times to different agencies to get the support they’re entitled to and would benefit from. The project’s we are supporting are working towards integrated systems of support for people facing multiple and complex disadvantages with less emphasis on referrals, more on relationships, and strive to:

  • Shift the focus from crisis intervention to prevention.
  • Make the most of all available resources to benefit families.
  • Ensure uniform access to holistic, multi-agency support wherever a person approaches a service.

The support the Improvement Service have given the Glasgow Child Poverty Pathfinder has been both immensely helpful and productive. From the outset the expertise they brought in facilitating kick off workshops and turning outputs into key programme documents was crucial in setting the direction of the programme. Improvement Service officers have continued to be hugely versatile and have been happy to use their skills to wide range of areas. Working as part of the wider multi agency team supporting the pathfinder and learning as we go has greatly assisted the partnership.

Get in touch

If you have any queries regarding the support we offer or how we could support your project, please do not hesitate to get in touch at