Annex C: The Scottish Government's Policy Framework for Scottish Public Bodies

Annex C: The Scottish Government's Policy Framework for Scottish Public Bodies

The Scottish Government's Purpose is "to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth."

The canals form part of the Scottish public sector landscape, and so have a part to play in working to this purpose and delivering specific Ministerial priorities and objectives. Possibly uniquely within Scotland, the canals are in a position to contribute to all 5 of the Scottish Government's Strategic objectives, though focusing primarily on one or two:

  • Greener - the canals provide a "green corridor" through our cities (and across Scotland), and protect and cultivate the biodiversity of aquatic and wildlife habitat along the canal. There are 22 Sites of Special Scientific Interest on or within 500m of a canal. The canals are mostly Scheduled Monuments
  • Healthier - the canals and their towpaths facilitate opportunities to their local communities for healthy activities such as walking, cycling, jogging, canoeing and rowing
  • Safer and stronger - the recent investment in the canals has led to local communities gaining pride in "their" canal, leading to increased use, improved safety and leisure and community activity based around the canal
  • Wealthier and fairer - Scottish Canals is active in the regeneration of both urban and rural canal-side communities. It is also involved in the tourism market
  • Smarter - Learning opportunities provided to local schools and community groups across a range of topics, including heritage, environment, and healthy activity

Sixteen National Outcomes describe what the Government wants to achieve over the next decade, articulating more fully the Government's Purpose. They help to sharpen the focus of government, enable priorities to be clearly understood and provide a clear structure for delivery. Our canals mainly contribute, often through partnership with the surrounding local authorities, to the following National Outcomes:-

  • we value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations
  • our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people's needs
  • we have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others
  • we live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need
  • we live longer, healthier lives

Fifty National Indicators enable the Scottish Government to track progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose. These indicators covering the key areas of health, justice, environment, economy and education measure progress. Scottish Canals has assessed that, through partnership working, there is scope for the canals to indirectly contribute to a significant number of the 50 indicators.

The Scottish Government places considerable importance on corporate alignment and accountability across the central government sector and has issued a set of Corporate Expectations, applicable to all Scottish public bodies.

This includes requirements:-

  • to align operations, business planning and objectives to the Purpose and the National Outcomes
  • to establish an effective, clear and transparent corporate governance structure to fulfil these priorities
  • to put in place a financial system that is clear and transparent to ensure the proper use of public funds and subsequent scrutiny of same
  • to work with the Scottish Government to develop a shared understanding of the joint priorities over the medium term to contribute towards delivery of the National Outcomes
  • to ensure that individual bodies' corporate communications and engagement strategies fully reflect these

Bodies are also required to align their activity and strategy with the priorities set by Ministers in the current Spending Review, taking account of the impact of their actions on total public spending.

Already closely aligned to the Purpose, Scottish Canals, as a body new to the Scottish public sector, is working toward meeting the full set of Corporate Expectations.