Three-pronged inquiry into public service

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A HOLYROOD committee is to conduct a three-pronged inquiry into Scotland’s public services over the next year.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee has called for evidence from interested parties for the first strand of the inquiry, which will look at how local councils work with their community-planning partners such as the police, NHS boards and local communities.

The committee will start taking oral evidence in mid-February 2012.

The second strand, expected to take place next summer, will focus on “benchmarking” – the process of comparing performance in the same service area across different councils.

The final strand, scheduled for later in 2012, will look at some of the options in shared services and other innovative ways of delivering council and other services.

Committee convener Joe Fitzpatrick said: “This is a very rapidly moving field. That’s why the committee has decided to break its work in this area into three parts, so that at each stage we can be completely up to date with the public sector.

“Local government will be central to whatever developments are around the corner in public sector reform, so it is essential that the committee has a thorough examination of the issues as this agenda develops.”