National Action Plan 20th December 2016

2016-2017 Scottish Open Government National Action Plan

1. Introduction

Scottish Government and Scottish Civil Society share the values of Open Government which aim to foster openness, transparency and citizen participation.  This is Scotland’s first Open Government National Action Plan.  It has been developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Civil Society Network with the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

In April 2016 Scotland was selected by the OGP as one of 15 Pioneer governments around the world to join a programme to bring new leadership and innovation into the OGP at all  levels of government.  This Scottish Plan sets out how we will use the opportunity of being Pioneers to improve the lives of people living in Scotland, to learn from others and to share our experience of Open Government.

We will work together to promote and implement this plan because we believe Open Government reforms can secure lasting change in the way government and society operate, transferring power to people and communities and ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of all.

This Scottish Plan recognises that and reflects our priorities.  It builds both on the Open Government reforms that are already underway in Scotland and on collaborative work with the governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK, and their civil society networks, to develop a shared approach to Open Government.

The five commitments laid out in the Scottish Plan aim to help people living in Scotland to better understand how government works so that they can have real influence and more effectively hold government to account.  The commitments also support the development of newly devolved responsibilities such as Scotland’s significant tax, borrowing and welfare responsibilities.

1.     Financial Transparency: to clearly explain how public finances work, so people can understand how money flows into and out of the Scottish Government, to support public spending in Scotland

2.     Measure Scotland’s progress: by making understandable information available through the National Performance Framework, which will be reviewed to reflect our commitments to Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

3.     Deliver a Fairer Scotland: through implementation of the Actions developed with civil society in the Fairer Scotland action plan

4.     Participatory budgeting: to empower communities through direct action ensuring they have influence over  setting budget priorities

5.     Increasing participation: improving citizen participation in local democracy and developing skills to make sure public services are designed with input from users and with user needs to the fore

These five commitments are part of a wider range of activity taking place throughout Scotland to deliver the Scottish Approach to Government:

·       Digital technology has changed our world – making it possible to share information instantly and at a fraction of the cost of conventional technology.  Along with the specific commitments in the Scottish Plan, our Digital Strategy will continue to thread openness, transparency and citizen participation as we transform Scotland’s public services by building the digital ecosystem, skills and capacity where public services, businesses and  cutting-edge research can thrive

·       We will use the year as Pioneers to improve access to information and research and knowledge, balancing the requirements of open access and transparency with those of cyber security and data protection principles, so that people are better able to use and share public sector data and information.

·       We have developed this plan with input from Civil Society and some active citizens but it does not go as far as we wish nor does it meet the aspirations of all contributors.  We will use this year to listen, to think about what Open Government means at all levels, and to build capacity and confidence in our partners to be able to deliver Open Government reforms and build an Open Government movement in Scotland

·       Beyond Scotland we will work with the other countries of the UK to learn at what level of governance Open Government reforms are most effective and appropriate so that we can improve the lives of people across these islands at a time when the global political, constitutional and economic landscape is uncertain

This plan recognises the shifting relationship between citizen and state.  We will work to ensure that government at all levels is responsive to the needs of all of our people and we are able to make a significant move towards co-creating a more open and transparent Scotland where people have confidence in their future.

2. Open Government efforts to date

Open Government in Scotland – the context

Soon after taking office Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland said she wanted:

“An outward looking Government which is more open and accessible to Scotland’s people than ever before”  and for her Government and public services:  ‘to be known for the quality of our relationship with Scotland’s communities’.

The Scottish Government is determined to deliver this ambition following the 3 main principles of  the current Programme for Government.  Which refers to the need to

•        deliver greater prosperity for the country through inclusive growth which creates opportunity for everyone and ensures that all segments of society benefit from economic growth

•        ensure fairness in the distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities

•        improve public services and make sure that  people who live in Scotland are involved in decisions that matter to them most, particularly at this time of global uncertainty

Scotland is a devolved country with an established parliament and rule of law, currently the only sub-national government in the European Union to have a separate legal system from its state.  Most of the issues covered by Open Government are devolved to Scotland and in a number of areas we have taken a distinctive approach.  These include:

·       the commitment to involving people in the work of government

·       the approach we have taken to human rights and the rights of children

·       our commitment to continue to build and value the partnership of the private, third and voluntary sector to deliver reforms

·       actions on proactive publication, open procurement and public records, as well as on open data and open knowledge

Scotland benefits from a strong Civil Society, established trade unions, faith groups, third sector organisations and academic institutions as well as people who actively engage in public affairs.  Work that received a welcome boost from the energy and levels of public interest in the future of Scotland in 2014 as a result of the debate that accompanied the referendum on Scotland’s independence.  Civil Society organisations work hard to focus energy and to build capacity in the third and voluntary sectors, support self-direction, co-production and community empowerment.  There is a growing Open Government network of organisations and individuals who will use the Pioneer Year to strengthen and expand the understanding of Open Government.

Scotland’s Open Government journey

We have developed a distinctive Scottish way of delivering government since the devolution of powers to a re-established Scottish Parliament in 1999.  The importance of hearing the voice of stakeholders and citizens remains one of the key principles for both Parliament and Government and it forms a solid base for ground-breaking Open Government reforms that followed.

In 2007 the National Performance Framework (NPF) was introduced.  It sets out a single Purpose and an agreed set of National Outcomes for everyone in public service in Scotland.  It provides a single clear vision for the kind of Scotland we want and a mechanism for the people of Scotland to track progress and see how our actions improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland.  It uses a wide range of indicators to assess progress and these will now be reviewed to make sure people can also track progress towards Sustainable Development Goals and to deliver our human rights obligations.

In 2011, to respond responsibly to the global financial downturn, this Government commissioned an external review of public services.  The Christie Commission took time to speak to people and their report was responded to by government with a strong commitment to reform Scotland’s public services through; partnership; performance; people and underpinned by a decisive shift towards preventing harm.  This work continues to set the priority for Scotland, with a strong emphasis on empowering communities and working across public services to deliver reforms that improve lives.  The commitments in this Scottish Plan have these reforms at their core.

What underpins Open Government in Scotland?

Open Government in Scotland is underpinned by the values of openness, transparency and citizen participation.


Put simply openness is what makes modern networked societies work, giving people and organisations the information they need, when and in what format they need it.  Scotland’s Freedom of Information Act was one of the earliest Acts of the re-established Scottish Parliament.  It recognises that the ‘right to know’ is a cornerstone of democratic engagement.  The Act helps government to improve, and people to actively engage in, government decision-making as well as ensuring public services are held to account for their policies and spending.

We have a system that requires Scottish public authorities to respond to information requests within set timescales and to publish information proactively where there is a public interest.  The Freedom of Information regime is regularly revised to keep it up-to-date and relevant.  The legislation is promoted and enforced by the independent Scottish Information Commissioner.  There is an incremental approach to extending coverage of the Freedom of Information legislation to organisations undertaking public functions.  Public bodies in Scotland are also covered by the Public Records (Scotland) Act.  This legislation, overseen by the National Records of Scotland, is progressively ensuring that public bodies in Scotland have robust systems and plans in place to manage their records.  This will help promote the proper handling and recording of public information, in both the short and long terms.

Throughout the implementation of the Scottish Plan we will continue to identify areas where the legislation can be improved, explore opportunities for increased proactive publication and further develop relations with key stakeholders in the interests of encouraging wider cultural change.

Recognising that Open Data can be an ’engine for innovation, growth and transparent governance’ we published an Open Data Strategy which complements the right to information under FOI.  It aims to ensure anonymised data generated by public bodies is made available through easily accessible channels boosting accountability and transparency.  The Strategy will help to ensure that Scotland meets International standards of publication and support innovation through the development of new products and services.

As part of the strategy, provides access to a range of official statistics about Scotland for information and re-use.  The system will be expanded to include all Scottish producers of official statistics.  All open datasets behind Scottish Official Statistics will be published on  by the end of 2017.

To build openness into the work to deliver the newly devolved responsibilities such as Scotland’s significant tax, borrowing and welfare responsibilities we will work with people across public services, civil society, Scottish Parliament, the private sector and academics to explain how public finances work, including procurement, in a way that is accessible, so people can understand the flows of money into and out of the government at all levels.  This will also support the spread of participatory budgeting across public services.


The National Performance Framework or Scotland Performs provides a broad measure of our progress, covering economic, social and environmental issues with the results accessible to all.  The NPF influences how policy is made, and is a way for the Scottish people to see whether the reform of public service is working.  It means that the public sector can work towards a common set of goals to help support collaboration and partnership working.  The data sets behind the NPF will also provide a robust framework to monitor and evaluate progress against Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2015 Nicola Sturgeon was one of the first national leaders to acknowledge the importance of Sustainable Development Goals for both domestic and international policy.  Reviewing the NPF to take account of the Goals is the start of a much larger initiative to embed all Goals into the long-term planning of the Scottish Government.  We will use the opportunities of Pioneer status to learn how others are working towards completing the goals by 2030.

Citizen participation

Scottish Government and Civil Society want to see a step change in how the Scottish Government does its work.  We believe that more and better engagement means:

·        better outcomes for people, families and communities

·        a more robust, inclusive and sustainable economy

·        better service delivery

·        more engaged and empowered citizens

·        helps protect civil liberties and human rights

·        leads to greater trust and understanding of government

It is, therefore, no accident that the dominant theme of this Scottish Plan is to put people at the centre of what we do and to make sure that government is, responsibly, delivering the policies and services that  people need.

Scotland emerged from the debate about its future during the 2014 independence referendum with a much stronger sense of the need to tackle social injustice and unfairness and to build a better country.

In response, the Scottish Government launched a National Conversation to hear what mattered to people about fairness and social justice in Scotland – A Fairer Scotland.  People attended 200 public events discussing what would make a difference; and having listened to a wide range of voices (more than 17,000 online and 7,000 face to face) the results of this participation have now been turned into a focused plan to deliver 50 specific actions over the Parliament (before 2021 Fairer Scotland Action Plan ).

Over the next year, delivering the Fairer Scotland commitments will be a focus of this work.  We will also introduce annual reporting at the end of the first year, checking back with communities about progress.

We recognise that how Scottish Government does its work is important. We also know that change is hard.  So the work being taken forward to increase participation and to energise local democracy through this plan will be based on a set of clear principles for improving democracy, including:.

•        subsidiarity and local decision making – decisions should be taken at the lowest possible level or at the level closest to the people they affect

•        simple, open democracy – people should be able to influence decisions that affect them and their families, and trust the decisions made on their behalf by those they elect

•        personal and empowering – people should have equal opportunity to participate and have their voice heard in decisions shaping their local community and society

•        fairness and equality of outcomes – arrangements should be appropriate and tailored towards the needs and aspirations of people and places

•        financially sustainable and preventative – arrangements should be effective, efficient and represent value for money for Scotland as a whole

In the Scottish Plan we focus on specific, high priority actions to grow the skills of public servants, partners, civil society and citizens in 3 broad areas:

•        bringing local government functions closer to communities

•        designing public services with users, however diverse, in mind

•        building an Open Government movement in Scotland

We aim to provide improved systems, processes and mechanisms to increase the opportunities for people to participate equally.  We have a strong record of working with civil society and engaging constructively with citizens to deliver our Programme for Government in an open and transparent way.

Scotland’s leadership as Pioneers 

As one of only 15 governments around the world selected to work with the OGP we recognise the importance of maximising that opportunity both within the UK and internationally.

In part, the purpose of the Pioneer programme for OGP is to find ways of ensuring that Open Government principles actually change lives.  The recent review of all commitments made by OGP countries worldwide, found that only 2% of commitments are directly related to health, education, or climate change.  In addition, the emphasis for OGP internationally on Sustainable Development Goals -identifying how to ensure all Goals are delivered by 2030 – will be important.

Scotland is an ambitious, outwardly focused nation, keen to share our experiences and to learn from others.  We will, therefore, lead work with local authorities and the governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK to closely examine these questions and to share the learning with OGP and the other Pioneer governments.

Scottish OGP Civil Society Network will also lead complementary work with the civil society networks of the Pioneer governments, and networks elsewhere in the UK, and develop engagement through the wiki pages:

3. National Action Plan development process

Developing the plan and building a movement

This is Scotland’s first Scottish National Action Plan.  It is a clear illustration of the Scottish Government’s commitment to work in partnership with Civil Society.

The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence marked a high point in citizen engagement, fostering expectations of a more open and inclusive style of governance.  A dialogue developed among citizens and communities, as well as voluntary organisations, trade unions, faith groups and political activists, about ways of harnessing the energy for democratic renewal.

This plan acknowledges that surge of democratic energy in Scotland and builds upon work undertaken in 2015 for Scotland’s involvement in the UK OGP process and to ensure Scotland’s distinctive voice contributed to the third UK National Action Plan.

A series of roundtable events were organised to draw up 30 potential commitments, based on the crowd sourced, UK-wide Civil Society OGP Manifesto which had more than 250 contributions.

These 30 detailed commitments were posted online and were the subject of consultation across the Civil Society network – using a new Scottish section on the Open Government Network (OGN) platform.  This has been developed along with the Scottish OGP network.  It now has more than 100 members.  The timeline was published on the OGN’s website and is kept updated as timescales shift.  The Scottish Government established an OGP steering group comprising representatives from Government and Civil Society.

When First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke at the major civil society event, ‘The Gathering’, in February 2016 she highlighted the importance of the Open Government agenda to her Government.  At the same event there were 3 separate workshops which directly addressed the opportunities presented by the Open Government agenda.

Following selection as a Pioneer government in April 2016 the challenge over the summer of 2016 has been to review the 30 commitments and to incorporate as much of the energy and effort from those into the five now identified, and to do so in partnership with Civil Society.

Implementation and continued engagement

Throughout the life of this plan we will continue to work with Civil Society to provide oversight and to grow the movement among our partners in order to build a more democratic, open and transparent society.

We will also work with the independent reporters who will be appointed to monitor the progress and success of the plan to ensure that we learn as we go into the next cycle of Open Government planning so that we have continuous improvement.

  4. Commitments

1.  Financial transparency
Name and contact information of responsible department/team John Nicholson – Financial Strategy Directorate (x42873)

Aileen Wright – Financial Management Directorate (x47355)

Scott Bell – Scottish Procurement and Commercial Directorate (x40450)

Other involved actors Government UK Government (interaction between UK and Scottish Fiscal/Budget processes), Scottish Local Authorities, Scottish Colleges and Universities, and Scottish Government Public Bodies
Civil Society, Private Sector Civil Society, Scottish Parliament, Private Sector, Academics
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed The Scottish budget and fiscal environment is changing significantly as a result of the new powers being devolved to Scotland through the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts.  As a result of the Scottish Government gaining significant tax and borrowing responsibilities, there is growing public and Parliamentary interest in tax policy and how it compares to other parts of the UK, in economic performance which influence tax revenues, in borrowing decisions, and in contractual and spending patterns all of which support public services in Scotland.
Main Objective To clearly explain how public finances works and provide an accessible presentation of public financial flows into and out of the Scottish Government, including to local authorities, commercial and third sector organisations.  We will develop, with partners, ways to provide financial, procurement and commercial information that is coherent, consistent and in a format that is useful and easy to understand for  communities, the 3rd sector and citizens.  This will include consideration of how national budget information could complement participatory budgeting at local and national levels.
Brief Description of Commitment

(140 character limit)

The Scottish Government will seek to improve the presentation and clarity of the financial, procurement and commercial information it publishes so that members of the public can understand it better.
Please describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability (details above) In delivering this commitment the Scottish Government will advance its commitment to all 4 OGP values of Transparency, Accountability, Participation and Technology & Innovation.  The delivery of this commitment will result in the clarity, format and range of publically available information being enhanced, as well as implementing a refreshed set of modern scrutiny and accountability arrangements with the Scottish Parliament around Scottish public sector finances.
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or on-going commitment Start Date: End Date:
1.  The Scottish Government will undertake a review of the content and format of the information that it currently publishes on its websites, to allow us to then improve the clarity and coherence of the information that we publish (including providing data in more accessible formats).


2.  A joint review group between the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament (including 8 external public/private sector experts) will be established to carry out a fundamental review of the Scottish Parliament’s budget process following the devolution of further powers in the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016.  By June 2017, the group will then bring forward proposals for a revised budget process for consideration by the Finance Committee and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution (implementation of the new process is expected to be for the 2018-19 budget – starting in summer 2017).


3.  The Scottish Government will consider what new financial reporting information it needs to develop and start publishing, both as a result of the devolution of new fiscal powers through the Scotland Act 2012 & 2016, but also to reflect a modern and open approach to public finances.  The initial phase of this work (the review) will take place 2017-18 and then implementation of these changes will begin in financial year 2018-19.


4.  The Scottish Government will develop an open contracting strategy to support the publication of procurement and commercial reporting information in a manner that is accessible to all, while taking advantage of developing data standards.

































Spring 2017







September 2016













Summer 2017









August 2016

April 2018







June 2017 (some recommendations may take longer to implement)











Spring 2019










December 2017



2.  Measuring Scotland’s progress
Name and contact information of responsible department/team Roger Halliday – Chief Statistician


Joanna Keating, Judith Ballantine, Anne- Marie Conlong, Duncan Isles, Gita Sharkey

Other involved actors Government SG International Development Team, National Performance Framework Team, Children’s Rights and Participation team, Human Rights Team
Civil Society, Private Sector Scottish Human Rights Commission, Scottish post- 2015 Working Group (comprised of Scottish NGOs, civil society, business, academia, DFID, UNICEF, UNITAR, CIFAL, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, Together Scotland, Young Scot, Children’s Parliament, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, Scottish Human Rights Commission.  Public Bodies in Schedule 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed The development of a robust framework which enables Scotland’s progress towards the SDGs to be measured


The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were formally agreed by the UN in September 2015.  The Goals are an inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating to international development.  They are global, high level priorities.  In July 2015, the First Minister announced Scotland’s intention to sign up for the goals as well as our plans for measuring progress through the National Performance Framework (NPF).

Introduced in 2007 and refreshed in 2011 and 2016, the National Performance Framework (NPF)  sets out a clear, unified vision for the kind of Scotland we want to see and how our actions will improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland.  The 66 measures in the NPF provide a broad measure of national and societal wellbeing, incorporating a range of economic, social and environmental measures.

Scotland’s commitments to Human Rights are set out in The Scottish National Action Plan (SNAP) of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and in other places such as the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 which will deliver the UNCRC this commitment seeks to draw these commitments together so they can be used in conjunction with the NPF to measure Scotland’s progress.


Main Objective                   To develop a robust framework which enables Scotland’s progress towards the SDGs to be measured in an effective and transparent way; ensuring that the commitments made under national and international treaties covering human rights are aligned with NPF.
Brief Description of Commitment

(140 character limit)

The development of a robust framework which enables Scotland’s progress towards the SDGs to be measured.
Please describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability (details above) Given the nature and content of the SDGs, the NPF and SNAP, robust measurement of progress address all five of the OPG grand challenges.  The NPF is a key tool by which the SG is held to both public and parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.  Using these frameworks will ensure that the measure of Scotland’s progress  towards the SDGs is open and robust.
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or on-going commitment Start Date: End Date:
1.   A programme of public, civil society and stakeholder engagement on the development of a measurement framework New  Winter 2016 Framework in place

Autumn 2017




3.  Deliver a Fairer Scotland
Name and contact information of responsible department/team Paul Tyrer – Head of Social Justice Strategy

Karen Armstrong  – Policy Officer

Other involved actors Government A range of Scottish Government Teams have contributed to the development of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan – Social Justice Strategy Unit, Children and Families, Developing Young Workforce, Housing, Equality and Human Rights, Social Security.  Social Justice Strategy have lead responsibility, however.
Civil Society, Private Sector The following organisations have pledged their support:

Carnegie UK Trust

Dundee Fairness Partnership

Inclusion Scotland

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

LLoyds TSB Foundation Scotland

NHS Health Scotland

The Poverty Truth Commission

The Prince’s Trust Scotland

Timewise & Working Families

Virgin Money

Working Families

Young Scot


Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed In October 2015, the Scottish Government launched a coherent, cohesive plan to bring about a fairer, more socially just country by 2030.  Scotland faces a range of challenges related to poverty and inequality, and this plan sets out 50 actions to tackle these issues.
Main Objective To deliver the 50 actions in the plan, bringing about a fairer Scotland by 2030.  This first plan contains 50 actions to be delivered by government in this parliamentary term.  The actions in the plan were informed by a cross-Scotland conversation, which involved 7000 people across 200 open events in 2015, which sought to engage people about what mattered to them about fairness and social justice.  
Brief Description of Commitment

(140 character limit)

To deliver the 50 actions in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, with annual engagement with people and communities on progress.  We will also agree 50 new areas for action with people and communities for the next parliamentary term.                       
Please describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability (details above) The initial driver for the Fairer Scotland conversation was the significant discussion about social justice running up to the independence referendum.  The people of Scotland discussed openly and passionately the possibilities and the challenges for a more socially just and open society.  These conversations were some of the most engaged of the entire Referendum period and both sides offered valuable insights into how Scotland should move forward.


The Fairer Scotland conversation was launched to build on the energy of these discussions.  7000 people took part in 200 public events across the country.  Each conversation started with a simple question: what matters to you about fairness and social justice in Scotland?  The threads of the conversation were woven together into an analytical report and, from there, into an action plan.  Thus, while ‘Fairer Scotland’ began as a civic participation exercise, it has become a focused plan.


In terms of on-going monitoring, people and communities will be able to feed into an annual report on progress being made re delivery of the plan; the progress report will then be laid before the Scottish Parliament.  These actions will help ensure public accountability.

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfill the commitment New or ongoing commitment Start Date: End Date:
1.  We will engage with people on progress on the action plan and produce an annual report detailing progress on each of the 50 actions, which will be submitted to the Scottish Parliament.


Note: Fairer Scotland Action Plan will be delivered by 2020.

2.  We will actively consult people on establishing 50 new actions for a Fairer Scotland.  This will take place in the second half of this parliament via a citizens forum.  This forum will involve many people and organisations who took part in the initial conversations.













Summer 2017









Prelimin-ary work in 2018

First report in October 2017












4.  Participatory Budgeting

(also known as Community Choices in Scotland)

Name and contact information of responsible department/team Kathleen Glazik – Community Empowerment Unit

Public Bodies and Public Service Reform (x40831)

Other involved actors Government Scottish Government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Public Authorities
Civil Society, Private Sector Community and Third Sector Organisations, Community Councils,  Academics
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed There is a consistent view that people in Scotland want to influence the decisions made by the public sector that affect them, but that at the same time they don’t feel they have sufficient influence.


Empowering people and communities is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s approach.  The new Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides a legal framework to promote and encourage community empowerment and participations by creating new rights for communities and placing more duties on public bodies.  The Scottish Government’s Community Choices Programme (commonly known as participatory budgeting) sits alongside the objectives of the Act and is an importance resource to build on the wider development of participatory democracy in Scotland.  Community Choices is a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs.  In May 2016 a manifesto commitment stated that local authorities would be set a target of having at least 1 per cent of their budget subject to Community Choices budgeting.  In September 2016 this was re-iterated in Scotland’s 2016/17 Programme for Government which stated that the SG would continue to work with local government and communities on the delivery of this target.

Main Objective To have at least 1% of Scotland’s 32 Local Authority budgets subject to community choices budgeting.
Brief Description of Commitment

(140 character limit)

The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to increase the scale and pace of community choices to support the involvement of people and communities in  financial decision making processes.
Please describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability (details above) In delivering this commitment the Scottish Government will further advance OGP values as follows:


·       Access to information:  Community Choices is designed to give citizens knowledge of public budgets in their area and enables communities to have direct decision making powers over the allocation of public funds in their community.


·       Public accountability and Civic participation: Community Choices can complement representative democracy and provides a mechanism that can increase levels of trust between residents, elected members and officers due to the transparency of the process.


·       Technology and Innovation for openness and accountability: Community Choices digital support can deliver more efficient and better quality initiatives working towards developing a digital engagement infrastructure to increase community empowerment and participation across Scotland.


Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing commitment Start Date: End Date:
The Scottish Government will:


1.  Establish a Community Choices Group in partnership with COSLA to discuss a programme of work to take the 1% commitment forward and ensure the right infrastructure and skills are in place across a range of partners to deliver PB successfully and with impact in Scotland.  This would include consideration of how community choices might be used to reduce social inequalities, foster innovation, and remove barriers to achieving wellbeing by encouraging the participation of marginalised individuals and under-represented communities.

2.  Continue to fund a national support programme for local authorities to include on-going consultancy support, digital engagement tools and an evaluation programme, producing learning resources when necessary and continuing to develop and maintain the PB Scotland website as a hub for sharing practice and learning.


3.  Work with stakeholders on a capacity building programme by developing a network of Community Choices practitioners in Scotland, to share learning and develop best practice which will lead to a new cohort of trainers in Scotland.


4.  Support community organisations through the community choices fund to help implement and build on local initiatives either independently or in partnership with the local authority.































Jan 2017










April 2015







Nov 16






June 16



March 2021










March 2017








March 2018






March 2018





5.  Increasing participation
Name and contact information of responsible department/team Doreen Grove

Open Government

Ingage, Local Government and Communities

[email protected]

Along with a number of delivery teams

Other involved actors Government Cat Macaulay, Head of User Research and Engagement, Digital Directorate, [email protected] with a number of delivery teams across SG

Alasdair Mckinlay, Head of Community Empowerment, [email protected]

Civil Society, Private Sector Broad range of Public Service Bodies, third sector, private sector and civil society orgs involved in the design and delivery of public services along with the OGP Civil Society Network
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed Significant progress has been made towards developing a distinctive Scottish approach to involving stakeholders, empowering communities and citizens; including specific service users, to participate in the design of public services.  But there is more to be done to deliver effective engagement that is consistent and inclusive and to deliver  more local control.
Main Objective Scottish Ministers and Scottish civil society want to see a step change in society and in how the Scottish Government does its work and to energise local democracy, to put people at the centre of the way public services work so that the people of Scotland are able to participate on a fair and equal basis in the design of Scotland’s public services and policies.  This commitment identifies 3 specific strands of work for Government, working with civil society, to improve participation.
Brief Description of Commitment

(140 character limit)

We will improve citizen participation by:

·     bringing local government functions closer to communities through the development of new legislation

·     ensuring the people who use public services are involved in designing them

·     building an Open Government movement in Scotland

Please describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability (details above) This commitment will be guided by the Scottish Government principles for democratic renewal and public service reform as detailed above.


We will engage widely on, and introduce legislation to bring local government functions, finance and democratic oversight closer to communities.


Commit to working with all those involved in designing digital public services to ensure that the methods and tools we use for engaging citizens and service users in service design promote Scottish Government and OGP values relating to ensuring diversity and inclusion in government through developing/adapting service design tools and methods, and publishing guidance and benchmarks.


Digital public services provide a key point of contact between citizens and the State as well as the means by which citizens can access open data and through which government can promote transparency and access.  The ability to access public services digitally presents an enormous service design challenge to government, the public sector, and other actors involved in the delivery of public services.


To build an Open Government movement in Scotland we will work closely with civil society to develop a clear programme over 2017 which will seek the public’s views of what an Open Government should be.

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or on-going commitment Start Date: End Date:
Development of local democracy legislation  NB final dates not yet agreed by Scottish Government Cabinet

1.  Wide public engagement on developing and finalising policy proposals

2.  Publication of analysis of  stakeholder views

3.  Introduction of Bill to parliament


Improved tools and techniques for citizen participation

1.  A prototype model of a Scottish Approach to Service Design will be co-produced and used by 20 organisations involved in the design of public services.

2.  People whose first or preferred language is BSL will be able to participate on a fair and equal basis in the design of Scotland’s digital public services and policies.

3.  Guidance on inclusive methods and tools for service design will be published  in an accessible website as they emerge through the development of the Scottish Approach to Service Design and these joint actions.





















May 17

Sep 17
















July 17

Sep 17














Open Government Movement


1.  Jointly develop a programme of engagement with civil society including a minimum of 6 events over the course of the Pioneer year.