Ahead of the Scottish elections due to take place on 5th May, Reform Scotland has published a collection of policy ideas designed to create the right environment for long-term economic growth and effective public services in Scotland. The booklet summarises research and recommendations made in our 17 reports published over the past three years.
The central theme running through all the policy initiatives is of devolving responsibility. Not just through increased financial powers to both the Scottish Parliament and local authorities, but to individuals and communities.
Achieving our aims would be helped by reform of the way in which government itself is structured so that it operates in a more effective and transparent manner. Therefore, in addition to our previous work, we have also called for a radical overhaul of the civil service.
The civil service in Scotland, which is responsible for the delivery of Scottish government policy, is part of the Home Civil Service and ultimately responsible to the UK Prime Minister. Following devolution, this is no longer sensible and accountability would be enhanced if responsibility for the Scottish civil service was devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with the First Minister having sole responsibility for appointing the Permanent Secretary. A Scottish Civil Service should also move away from the traditional appointments process and give democratically elected politicians the power to appoint senior civil servants as happens in other countries such as France, Australia and Canada.
We believe the policy recommendations set out in the enclosed publication represents a long-term vision for Scotland that seeks real structural reform across all areas of the public sector. We believe we need to influence policy makers today to be bolder and more far-sighted to create a stronger Scotland for tomorrow.