Set up to provide a ‘road map’ for the delivery of public service reform in Scotland, the Christie Commission reports today setting out recommendations that will inform delivery in the next decade. Given the restraints on spending, the commission warns that “unless Scotland embraces a radical, new, collaborative culture throughout our public services, both budgets and provision will buckle under the strain.”
Predictably, given that the chair is the former trade unionist Campbell Christie and has a membership heavy with those with a public sector background, many commentators are suggesting that sadly, there is a dearth of radical reform in the report.
Lacking in real sign posts to direct public service reform, the 100 page report has been described by one national newspaper as “high on jargon and low on firm proposals”. At its heart it puts forward that preventative action has to be embraced to end Scotland’s cycle of low aspiration and deprivation with better community involvement in designing services.
MHP spoke with one commissioner who was disappointed that the commission has failed to grasp the thistle of real radical reform and future proofing that is needed in Scotland.
Despite this, the one common sense proposal that will be welcomed across the board and can be easily implemented by Scottish Ministers, is the dismantling of the barriers between social care and health. This could lead to better service and significant savings as well as real benefits to patients and may yet be the real lasting legacy of The Christie Commission.
The commission does set out that more than a third of public money is spent in Scotland is accounted for by interventions that could have been avoided by prioritising a preventative approach.
Some may argue that in an age of ‘sat nav’ Scotland is being offered a ‘road map’ which does not appear to put forward really innovative or inspirational ideas that would bring about the “thorough transformation of our public services” that is needed. Perhaps too timid an approach when real bravery was required.