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Improvement Service Elected Member Update

Elected Member Update, November 2016

Martyn Wallace (left) and Dr Colin Birchenall (right) with Loraine McMillan, Chair of the Local Government Digital Transformation Board


Chief Digital Officer and Chief Technology Officer for local government appointed

Two senior officers have been appointed to the newly created local government digital office to help a group of Scottish councils drive change across local services.

Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer (pictured left), and Dr Colin Birchenall, Chief Technology Officer (pictured right), both have extensive experience driving forward the digital agenda in Scotland across the public and private sectors.

It is envisaged that the new digital office will be a centre of excellence in data, technology and digital, working with the councils to help them with their own transformation and ensuring they are creating top class digital services for citizens.


New guidance on arm's length external organisations

This Advice Note aims to provide councillors with an overview of matters they should consider when they are involved with or have been invited to participate in arm's length external organisations (ALEOs).

The advice focuses on councillor responsibilities under the ethical standards framework and seeks to assist councillors in recognising and dealing with potential conflicts of interest to minimise risks to governance and accountability arrangements.

You can download Advice for Councillors on Arm's Length External Organisations on the Standards Commission website.

It's good to talk... about places

As an elected member you already know the importance of having a conversation. Be it with a concerned constituent, the CEO of a large employer or the driver of your taxi home, a conversation can do much to help both parties get nearer to their desired destination.

So when it comes to asking people for their thoughts on the places they live and work, how do we get the most out of that conversation and record it in a way that makes it easier for us to see where to take action? 

To help with this, the Improvement Service is offering support on using the Place Standard tool. This tool asks a range of questions about what makes up a street, neighbourhood or entire town, both the physical elements (e.g. its buildings, spaces, and transport links) as well as the social aspects (e.g. whether people feel they have a say in decision-making). It then records answers in a way that allows issues to jump out. Councils and Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) are using it as a simple effective way to inform priorities and outcomes.

The Improvement Service has contacted every CPP offering two layers of support. First, to attend one of their meetings to acquaint members with the tool and give practical examples of where it has already helped conversations. Second, to run a separate session for operational staff on how to use the tool to maximise the quality of information collected.

Our mission is to highlight a new tool to help with the task and explain how others are using it to collect in what people want. If you would like any more information on this offer please contact Irene Beautyman on 07908 930763.

Enhanced change management support for councils

Councils undergoing change can look forward to more support from the Improvement Service (IS).

The IS has expanded its change management team and is developing an enhanced programme of work in this area. The focus will be on providing support to councils and partnerships to deliver transformational and operational level change.


In brief...

Online support for community planning

A new web portal signposting the support available for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) has been launched.

Developed by the Improvement Service, the Community Planning in Scotland portal brings together information about the support available from national improvement agencies (Improvement Service, Education Scotland, NHS Health Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland) and national programmes such as Workforce Scotland.

The portal includes links to online tools and information as well as contact details for staff in national improvement agencies for CPPs that require consultancy and facilitation support.

Keep up-to-date with Knowledge Hub with the Scottish KHub User Group newsletter

The bi-monthly newsletter from the Scottish Knowledge Hub User Group brings you news about Knowledge Hub, information on the latest developments, plus tips and guides on getting the most out of KHub. We'll also highlight some of the Scottish groups using KHub in their work.

Signing up is quick and easy. Just fill in this sign-up form.


Vibrant Communities Conference

6 December 2016, Kilmarnock

In 2011, East Ayrshire Council started on an ambitious transformation programme. This involved almost 18 months of listening to employees, partners and citizens. The result was the establishment of Vibrant Communities in 2013, a service which provides a new and unique approach to the challenge of public sector reform. Working with, rather than for communities, the aim is to change culture and unlock the knowledge, skills and experience of local people and employees, to harness the enthusiasm, talent and ‘can do’ spirit which exists across East Ayrshire. Now the council, in partnership with the Improvement Service, invites you to come and hear about the story so far.

Find out more

Keep up to date on Twitter

You can keep up to date with the work of the Improvement Service on Twitter. Be among the first to hear about elected member masterclasses and briefing notes, plus find out how our programmes are helping councils improve services or read our latest research.
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