MacKay Hannah

Refocusing Scottish Public Services: Applying Christie Commission Principles

Tue 30th Jan 2018

Edinburgh, Brodies LLP - Edinburgh

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

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"We now call on the Scottish Government and local authorities together with all partners and stakeholders to initiate these reforms. The goal must be nothing less than a substantial transformation of our public services. The prize is a sustainable, person-centred system, achieving outcomes for every citizen and every community." Report on the Future Delivery of Public Services by the Commission chaired by Dr Campbell Christie. Published 29 June 2011.


Six years ago the findings and recommendations of the Christie Commission were published following the Commission's work carried out at the invitation of the First Minister. It discussed how to meet dramatically increased public services demand over the medium term in the context of constrained public spending, by implementing reforms that would also improve public services quality .

This conference examines three core areas:

  • Public Services in Context - Brexit, constitutions and public finances 
  • Translating Christie Commission Principles into Practice 
  • Public Service Reform: Case studies in being brave

Following almost a decade of public service constraint after the financial collapse of 2008 the challenge has become increasingly acute. Service demands continue to rise with an ageing population, expectations of continually improving services and the need for high quality public services to underpin economic growth. 

The Commission stated the principles of reform to be as follows:

  • Reforms must aim to empower individuals and communities by involving them in the design and delivery of the services
  • Public service providers must work more closely in partnership, integrating service provision improve their outcomes
  • Expenditure must be prioritised on public services which prevent negative outcomes 
  • The public services system - public, third and private sectors - must reduce duplication and share services to become more efficient

How then do we deliver reforms which increase efficiency, improve service quality and maximise preventative spend - all while remaining true to the principles set out by the Commission? The conference will feature speakers and case studies examining a range of themes including:

  • Understanding the Commission Findings: Then and now
  • Public Services and the Public Finances
  • Improving Performance and Reducing Costs
  • Preventative Action and Demand Reduction
  • Delivering Joint Working and Integrated Services
  • Services Shaped by People and Communities
  • Digital and Data: Delivering superfast reforms
  • Integration in Service Delivery
  • Organisational Transformation
  • Empowering the Consumers and Providers of Services


Jackie McGuire

Partner, Brodies LLP

Prof James Mitchell

Co-Director, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh and Member - Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services

Desmond McNulty

Assistant Vice-Principal, Economic Development and Civic Engagement, University of Glasgow

Fraser McKinlay

Controller of Audit & Director of Performance Audit and Best Value, Audit Scotland

Fiona Jamieson

Programme Manager - Innovation and Learning, The Robertson Trust

Dr. Hayley Bennett

Research Associate, University of Edinburgh

Colin Mair

Chief Executive, The Improvement Service

John Hutchison

a Curious Designer, Tern Business Systems

Alan Hughes

CRM Manager, University of Edinburgh Business School

Hazel Young

Managing Director, Dunedin Canmore

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Many areas covered, it was very useful to see that we are moving in the right direction.

Sonia Rafferty, Glasgow Prestwick Airport,
Scotland's Public Sector Workforce Conference 2016

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