About Us

The Improvement Service (IS) is the 'go-to' organisation for local government in Scotland.

Being the national improvement organisation for local government in Scotland, our purpose is to help councils and their partners to improve the health, quality of life and opportunities of all people in the geographic area, through community leadership, strong local governance and the delivery of high quality, efficient local services.

Five year strategy

In November 2015, we published our strategic framework and development priorities for the next five years. The framework gives our reading of the challenges local government and local services will face over the five-year period and sets out the support that the IS and other partners want to provide to help councils and Community Planning Partnerships deal with them.

Download a copy of our Strategic Framework

From 2015-2020, our priorities are to:

  • Support a step change in productivity and efficiency
  • Support the delivery of improved outcomes
  • Support thinking about future resilience and sustainability

Our work is focused in seven key areas to support these priorities:

  1. We will continually improve our products and services
  2. We will drive collaborative working
  3. We will broker and mobilise resources
  4. We will provide practical support
  5. We will support the development of sustainable strategic options
  6. We will  improve research and analytical support
  7. We will support the development of the next generation of political and executive leaders

Business Plan

The Strategic Framework provides the foundations on which our annual Business Plan, programme plans and resource plans are developed. Our annual plans are continually evolving to ensure we are best placed to respond to current and emerging pressures and to ensure that resources are targeted in the areas that matter most to councils and partners.

Download the 2020-21 Business Plan

Annual Stakeholder Survey

The IS carries out an annual stakeholder survey to assess and report the extent to which councils and partnerships find our support valuable.

The survey report presents the overall results of our latest survey, results by product/service and makes comparisons with last year’s results. It explains our approach to continuous improvement and provides an overview of key improvement activity and actions.

Each team has its own approach to improvement and improvement action plan, therefore individual stakeholder groups will be updated further over the coming months.

How we are funded

Our detailed spending plans are fully integrated and aligned to our business plan for the coming year. In 2017/18 we received £1.656m Revenue Support Grant to fund our core programmes and £4.6m to deliver the myaccount programme and services. We also secured a number of specific grants.

We also generate additional funding and resourcing.

Our 2018-19 financial statements are now available: Download the 2018-19 statutory financial statements

How we are governed

The Improvement Service is a partnership between the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE). It is a company limited by guarantee. The Improvement Service is governed by a Board of Directors which meets quarterly and this is chaired by Councillor Alison Evison, President of COSLA. Current board members are:

  • Councillor Alison Evison, President, COSLA
  • Councillor Graham Houston, Stirling Council
  • Councillor Malcolm Bell, Shetland Islands Council
  • Councillor Neil Benny, Stirling Council
  • Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council
  • Aubrey Fawcett, Chief Executive, Inverclyde Council
  • Joyce Whyte, Chief Executive, West Dunbartonshire Council
  • Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive, Fife Council
  • Sarah Gadsden, Chief Executive, Improvement Service