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Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

User focus

Section 112 - Scrutiny: user focus

283.Subsection (1) imposes a duty on listed scrutiny authorities to secure continuous improvement in user focus in the exercise of their scrutiny functions and to demonstrate that improvement. Scrutiny functions of a person, body or office-holder are defined in subsection (7).

284.Subsection (2) provides that “user focus” is the involvement of users of scrutinised services in the design and delivery of scrutiny functions in relation to those services and the governance of the listed scrutiny authorities. Subsection (3) defines “scrutinised services” to mean services that are scrutinised and also persons, bodies or office-holders (providing services) that are scrutinised.

285.Subsection (4) provides that the phrase “users of a service” includes people who have not yet used the service but may use it in the future, people who act on behalf of others for whom the service is provided, and persons with a direct interest in, or directly affected by, the service. It also includes a person, such as a local authority, with a direct interest in, or directly affected by the scrutiny of a service (i.e. it includes the person providing the service, such as, the local authority) and it includes a person with a direct interest in, or directly affected by the scrutiny of a person, body or office-holder providing services.

286.Subsection (5) allows the Scottish Ministers to add, by order, a person, body or office-holder which has scrutiny functions to the list of authorities that are subject to the duty in schedule 19. Subsection (6) requires the Scottish Ministers to consult those in question, before making such an order.

Section 113 - User focus: guidance etc.

287.Subsection (1) requires listed scrutiny authorities to have regard to any guidance in relation to the duty provided by the Scottish Ministers, and to what are otherwise regarded as proper arrangements for securing and demonstrating continuous improvement in user focus.

288.Subsection (3) provides that arrangements may be regarded as proper arrangements by reference to generally recognised published codes or otherwise. Reference could therefore be made to professional codes of practice. Subsection (2)(a) provides that the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers may include guidance on how to make, and what is to be included in, such arrangements.

289.Subsection (5) provides that if there is a conflict between guidance provided by Scottish Ministers and these proper arrangements, then it is the guidance that must be followed. Subsections (6) and (7) enable the Scottish Ministers to require a listed scrutiny authority to explain why it has not complied with guidance provided by Scottish Ministers, and to publish that explanation.

Section 114 - Scrutiny: duty of co-operation

290.Subsection (1) imposes a duty on scheduled scrutiny authorities to co-operate and co-ordinate activity with each other and, where appropriate, the Scottish Ministers, with a view to improving the exercise of their scrutiny functions in relation to local authorities (including public services provided by them or on their behalf), social services and health services. This must be with regard to efficiency, effectiveness and economy. Scrutiny functions of a person, body or office-holder are defined in subsection (10). This duty requires, for example, SCSWIS and Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education to co-operate and carry out integrated inspections in relation to the inspection of school care accommodation services (as defined in schedule 12).

291.Subsection (3) allows the Scottish Ministers to add, by order, a person, body or office-holder to the list of authorities that are subject to the duty in schedule 20. An authority can only be added to the list if it has scrutiny functions in relation to local authorities or public services provided by them or on their behalf, social services or health services. Subsection (4) requires the Scottish Ministers to consult those in question, before making such an order.

292.Subsection (5) disapplies the duty to the extent that compliance with it would prevent or delay action that the scheduled scrutiny authority considers necessary as a matter of urgency. Subsection (6) requires scheduled scrutiny authorities to comply with any directions given by the Scottish Ministers and have regard to any guidance issued by Scottish Ministers. Subsection (7) provides that such directions and guidance may be of a general or a specific nature, and may apply to all or some scheduled scrutiny authorities and to all or some of their functions.

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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills

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