ScotStat Board – 12 May 2009
Paper B - Update on Single Outcome Agreements and Statistical Capacity Building
across Local Authorities and other Public Bodies
1.1. At the last ScotStat Board meeting the requirement of more training and guidance in
the use of statistics across local authorities was discussed, particularly in relation to
Single Outcome Agreements. The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on
both Single Outcome Agreements and on supporting local authorities since then.
2. Single Outcome Agreements
2.1. Councils submitted draft 2009/10 SOAs to the Scottish Government at the end of
February 2009. Every council has a SG Director to liaise with on SOA issues. The
SG Directors have support teams, which include SG analysts. SG Directors and their
support teams have been working with councils to develop the 2009/10 SOAs for
final submission to the Scottish Government on 15 May 2009.
2.2. On the analytical side, OCS co-ordinated an exercise to evaluate the indicators
included in the draft 2009/10 SOAs. Advice on indicators was prepared for all
Councils, to be fed back through SG Directors and their support teams, highlighting
the preferred sources to use, gaps in coverage, achievability of targets, below/above
the waterline issues, etc. This work has been the main focus of the SOA Analysts
Network, which is an internal SG working group set up in September 2008.
2.3. The next phases of work for the group will be around the SOA reporting in Autumn
2009 and the Improving Local Indicators Project (see below).
3. Improving Access to Data
3.1. All statistics branches across Scottish Government are being required to add a “Data
Sources and Suitability” section to their website focussing initially on the availability
of data at a local authority level and its suitability for use in performance monitoring.
The information contained in these websites is being drawn together in an Index of
Data Sources and Suitability. The majority of statistics branches have set up their
web sections and the index is beginning to be populated but there is still a lot of
work to do.
3.2. A new Local Outcome Indicator Report was added to the Scottish Neighbourhood
Statistics site in February 2009 which has increased the ease with which users can
access the indicators from the Improvement Service‟s Menu of Local Indicators.
4. Improving Local Indicators Project
4.1. OCS has been working closely with the Improvement Service and other key partners
on the SOLACE led “Improving Local Indicators” Project. The project is focussed
on improving the quality of indicators (from a variety of sources including the
current menu, good locally developed indicators, SG informed choices etc). A
project board and co-ordination group have been established with representatives
from Scottish Government and a variety of public bodies on both.
4.2. The first phase of the project is the production of status reports for all policy areas
and metadata for all indicators and these are currently being finalised.
4.3. When complete the status reports will be discussed at the next meeting of the most
relevant ScotStat Committee and will be circulated to all ScotStat registered users
who have indicated an interest in related areas.
4.4. A programme of consultation events and opportunities for all interested parties to
engage in the project over the summer is being planned. There is likely to be two
one-day conferences in June or July at which representatives from central and local
government and other key partners will be given the opportunity to discuss local
indicators and data availability. These large scale events will be supplemented with
smaller workshops and meetings to discuss finer details.
4.5. These discussions will inform Version 4 of the Improvement Service‟s Menu of
Indicators due to be published in October, and subsequent development work to fill
gaps in appropriate data.
5. ScotStat Network of Analysts from Local Government and Other Public Bodies
5.1. This network was established following endorsement at the last ScotStat Board
meeting. The network now has over 100 members from a variety of local authorities
and public bodies. Seven workshops have been run or are arranged, on a variety of
cross-cutting and methodological subjects including „Conducting and Analysing
Surveys‟, „Measuring Change and Monitoring Targets‟, „Collecting Equalities Data‟,
„Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics‟ and „Contribution Analysis‟. The feedback from
the workshops is very positive.
5.2. One working group of the network has been established to look at the availability and
suitability of analytical guidance materials. Another working group to develop
guidance on collecting equalities data within council services is being discussed.
5.3. Network activities are planned and organised so as to join-up with or compliment
other capacity-building activities both within and outwith Scottish Government such
as other ScotStat activities, LARCI initiatives, the LARIA annual conference in
Scotland, and events held by Learning Networks.
Statistical Support for Public Bodies
Office of the Chief Statistician