Scottish public bodies 'resisting change'

Publicly funded bodies are resisting changes intended to improve services, according to a report by MSPs.

Holyrood's local government committee said progress was slow and patchy two years on from the Christie Commission, which had recommended radical change to the way services were delivered.

The cross-party committee's inquiry found few examples of good practice.

The Scottish government agreed the pace of change was too slow, but insisted significant progress had been made.

A spokesman said: "While there is also a tremendous amount of positive change happening at the local level we agree that best practice from around the country needs to be replicated more quickly and on a much greater scale."

The Scottish Parliament committee report said finances often got in the way of reform.

It also said Community Planning Partnerships, which are supposed to offer a link between local people and the public sector, were "ineffective".

And it suggested there was a lack of a "can do" attitude, with "risk averse" staff too concerned about what would happen to their reputation if they got things wrong.

Kevin Stewart, convener of the committee, said: "During the course of our inquiry, we have seen examples of different public services working together, working with the community and working to achieve change.

"However, these examples are rare and far outweighed by those who are resistant to making change and resistant to working together to bring real change into the hearts of communities across Scotland.

"There is a big gap between rhetoric and reality."

The Christie Commission report, The Future of Public Services in Scotland, which was published two years ago, called for a preventative approach to social problems and ill health.

The Scottish government, which had backed the Christie report, said progress to date included the integration of health and social care, college re-organisation, the creation of national police and fire services and the Early Years Collaborative.

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