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DEWAR LAUNCHES PUBLIC SECTOR AGREEMENTS FOR SCOTLAND

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Launching the Government's first ever Public Service Agreement for Scotland - 'Delivering to You' - Scottish secret...
Launching the Government's first ever Public Service Agreement for Scotland - 'Delivering to You' - Scottish secretary Donald Dewar said:

'This document is a contract which enables the people of Scotland to be clear about this government's priorities, and on which we are happy to be held to account.'

Speaking in Edinburgh to an audience of people from throughout Scottish public life, Mr Dewar continued:

'Scotland received£4 billion more over the next three years to spend on our policy priorities under the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announced by the Chancellor in July. That's an extra£800 for every man, woman and child in Scotland. I announced at that time that our top priorities - better education, better health and better Housing for all - would receive additional funding of£1.3 billion,£1.8 billion and£300 million respectively over the CSR period.

'The Scottish Public Service Agreement shows exactly what the Scottish people will get for this extra money. It represents an important and innovative departure from past practice. For the first time it sets out the specific, timed outputs, outcomes and targets that are to be delivered with the substantial additional funds being made available through the CSR. It will enable people to make judgements on what we are doing, why we are doing it, what it is costing and whether we are delivering.

'The PSA illustrates this government's determination to reinvigorate and revalue public services. As part of our commitment to modernising government, we are focussing as never before on reviewing performance.

'The plans laid out in this document are this government's dowry for the Scottish Parliament. It will act as a catalyst for the new executive and you - its partners- to redouble your efforts, working in partnership to ensure that Scotland's new Parliament delivers the public services Scottish people demand and deserve.

'For instance, the£1.3 billion we are investing in education, our number 1 priority, will be used to drive forward our radical programme for raising standards and providing opportunities for all. The commitments set out in the PSA include:

pre-school education places for all three and four year olds,

up to 5,000 classroom assistants ensuring an adult/child ratio of 1 to 15

reduced class sizes of 30 or under for the first three years of primary schools,

30 new schools

an e-mail address for every child in Scotland

'The extra£1.8 billion for the NHS in Scotland is being used to give patients fair and equal access to care, to drive up standards of care, and to secure better and quicker care. The PSA commitments in health include:

the biggest hospital building programme in NHS history,

reductions in waiting lists and times,

more `one-stop' clinics to reduce the worry of waiting for tests and results,

an increase by nearly half in the number of vital coronary artery bypass operations

and a convenient new 'walk in, walk out' centre in Glasgow.

'The PSA also sets out a wide range of other commitments covering modernising Scottish Government, the promotion of enterprise, helping people into jobs, social inclusion, housing, transport, crime, the environment, agriculture and rural development, arts, culture and sport. These commitments have been selected because we believe that they best meet the particular needs and circumstances of Scotland.'

NOTES

1. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) was announced by the then chief secretary, Alistair Darling, in June 1997. It involved a root and branch examination of planned public expenditure by every department to eliminate waste and inefficiency, to make better use of resources and to enable resources to be re-directed into the government's policy priorities, particularly education and health.

2.The outcome of the CSR formed the basis of a Statement to the House of Commons on 14 July by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, and of a white paper which was published on that date. Scotland received additional funding of 4 billion over the three years 1999-2002 and over the following few weeks Scottish ministers made a series of announcements indicating for each major policy area how much of the additional funding would be allocated and on what it would be

spent.

3.Amongst the proposals contained in the CSR white paper was that every department should agree with Treasury a Public Service Agreement setting out specifics on the outputs, outcomes and targets to be achieved with the additional CSR Funding. It was proposed that Treasury should publish the PSAs in the Autumn.

4.Public Service Agreements for every government department were announced by the Chancellor in an answer to a Parliamentary Question.

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