14 MAKING IT HAPPEN
Ozone hole, Antarctica
WE ARE COMMITTED TO PURSUING THE GOAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AN INTEGRATED WAY. DELIVERING ON THAT COMMITMENT REQUIRES US TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENT, MAINSTREAMING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTO THE CORE FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE
14.1 This section sets out the changes we need to make in Scotland to ensure that:
- sustainable development is mainstreamed into the processes of government
- progress is measured against a broad set of indicators
- accountability is strengthened.
MAINSTREAMING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
14.2 We are committed to pursuing the goal of sustainable development in an integrated way. Delivering on that commitment requires us to make changes to the processes of government, mainstreaming sustainable development into the core functions of the Executive.
14.3 Spending Reviews take place every two to three years, setting high level budgets and key targets for each portfolio. The Executive has built sustainable development considerations into the last two Spending Reviews and reported the outcome within its high level spending plans 25. Building on this experience, the Executive will embed sustainable development objectives into spending decisions and set out how its spending plans contribute to sustainable development objectives.The way in which this is done will vary from Review to Review, depending on the general approach Ministers decide to adopt, other policy priorities, improvements identified from reviews of practice or international experience. The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sustainable Scotland will discuss and recommend how sustainable development should be incorporated into Spending Reviews.
WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT:
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS MAINSTREAMED INTO THE PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENT
- PROGRESS IS MEASURED AGAINST A BROAD SET OF INDICATORS
- ACCOUNTABILITY IS STRENGTHENED
14.4 Unprecedented levels of resources are being invested in Scotland's infrastructure. There is a huge opportunity here to ensure that this investment takes full account of sustainable development. Detailed guidance on how to do this is in place but there is some evidence to suggest that its take-up and implementation is variable. As one of the improvements identified in the Infrastructure Investment Plan, the Executive will require each significant capital investment to illustrate in a business case that it has considered sustainable design incorporating green procurement strategies, resource efficiency and waste minimisation.
14.5 The Executive has introduced a new tool to evaluate expenditure decisions including the likely economic, social and environmental impacts. These Pre-Expenditure Assessments or PEAs will support a more joined-up approach to policy and expenditure decisions including sustainable development outcomes.
14.6 Executive bills submitted to Parliament include a summary of the likely implications for sustainable development. These are published on the Parliament's website 26 as part of the policy memoranda. To improve transparency and enhance the quality of these statements, the sustainable development assessments accompanying Executive bills will also be published together on the Executive's website27.
14.7 Development Plans are the key documents that set out the vision for an area's growth and development, bringing together the planning authority's policies and plans for, among other things, transport, housing, industry and commerce, retail, open space and leisure. By influencing how land is used and setting the framework for decisions on development applications, development planning provides a powerful tool for ensuring that places are designed to support more sustainable ways of living. The Executive will shortly introduce a bill to modernise the planning system.
14.8 All departments of the Executive have a positive contribution to make towards delivering sustainable development in Scotland. This includes securing specific high level commitments in this strategy, testing policies and programmes against the sustainable development principles, and embedding the approach within operations and management. Departmental contributions will be set out in published annual business plans from 2006-07.
14.9 The Executive will build sustainable development into its approach to policy making. The revised policy makers toolkit will explain how to consider sustainable development as part of the better policy making approach.The guidance will be supported by learning and training opportunities for Executive staff (see chapter 13).
14.10 This is an integrated strategy reflecting the contributions of all Ministerial portfolios. This integrated approach will be backed up by internal arrangements to support delivery and monitor progress.
14.11 The Minister for Environment and Rural Development is responsible for driving the programme of work that will deliver this strategy. He is supported by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sustainable Scotland, chaired by the First Minister and bringing together Ministers responsible for key portfolios and independent experts to provide political direction and guidance and to monitor and drive progress.
14.12 An implementation plan will be developed in conjunction with partner organisations and key stakeholders. This will be put in place by spring 2006 and updated regularly thereafter.
14.13 The Cabinet Sub-Committee will monitor delivery, supported by quarterly reports in relation to the strategy's actions and indicators. The Sustainable Development Commission ( SDC) will be invited to contribute on an annual basis to this monitoring process. All these reports will be published on the Executive's website28.
14.14 These monitoring arrangements will cover both the actions set out in this strategy and its eight main delivery programmes, which are:
- new climate change programme, to be introduced early in 2006
- national transport strategy, to be introduced by mid 2006
- support for renewable technologies, to deliver the 2020 renewables target
- new national energy efficiency strategy, to be introduced early 2006
- green jobs strategy
- National Waste Plan
- marine and coastal strategy
- Scottish biodiversity strategy.
14.15 Progress will be measured against a broad set of indicators that capture the different dimensions of sustainable development. This will include growth in per capitaGDP as the most widely recognised indicator of economic progress. GDP is not the only measure of success however, and we are committed to measuring progress against a wide set of indicators that reflect our social and environmental as well as economic goals.
14.16 The Executive has been reporting against a balanced set of indicators in Scotland for the last three years 29. Building on these and the new set of UK-wide indicators introduced as part of the UK Framework earlier this year 30, a revised set of Scottish indicators is being prepared and will be finalised by March 2006, following discussion with key partners and stakeholders. A new system of continuous reporting against these indicators on the Scottish Executive website will be introduced.
14.17 We recognise the need to develop new ways of measuring what we mean by progress in the widest sense. This acknowledges the fact that the focus of conventional income measures such as GDP is such that they do not aim to reflect a broad view of progress, the importance of capturing well-being and quality of life issues, and the need to account for environmental issues.
14.18 There are as yet no internationally recognised measures of progress in this broad sense. Although there is interest in the potential contribution of aggregate measures of sustainability to capture a wider range of issues there are measurement problems with aggregation. Changes in individual components and their relationship with other indicators need to be clear if overall messages about the direction of travel are to be fully understood, which means that a basket of indicators may be the more effective way of measuring progress. These are important issues that deserve further consideration and debate. The Executive will review the evidence on the options for additional and improved ways of measuring progress, and report by the end of 2006.
14.19 This is the first sustainable development strategy for Scotland. It will be necessary to assess high-level progress in advance of the next strategy (to be published in 2010). The Executive will invite the SDC to produce a strategic assessment of performance and progress in 2008 and report publicly on its findings.This report should also benchmark governance arrangements against OECD or other internationally agreed best practice, and make recommendations for improvements.
14.20 We need to assess not just performance against objectives but also real world outcomes including Scotland's global ecological impact. The Executive will therefore commission an independent study of Scotland's footprint in 2008.
14.21 Good governance is one of the five underpinning principles of the UK Framework. This will be achieved by promoting effective, participative systems of governance in all levels of society. We are well placed to develop this participative approach to sustainable development. Devolution has transformed the way that decisions are made in Scotland. We are renewing local democracy, acting to improve democratic participation and widening the range of people who become involved in local government. There is a strong tradition of civic participation and engagement in all aspects of sustainable development. This section sets out how we will build on these strengths, promoting good governance and strengthening accountability to the people of Scotland.
14.22 The Partnership Agreement stresses the importance of robust Parliamentary arrangements to hold the Executive to account. Just as sustainable development challenges the Executive to change its way of working, so it presents challenges and opportunities for the Parliament: to encourage public access and participation in the issues and hold the Executive to account. The Executive will work with the Parliament to explore new and effective ways of achieving these aims.
14.23 Public reporting of performance is a key dimension of good governance, increasing transparency and accountability and making external scrutiny easier and more effective. Arrangements for public reporting of progress are set out above.
14.24 Independent audit and scrutiny strengthens this process further. Audit Scotland has a key role to play in auditing and reporting on performance, in particular the contributions which public sector bodies, including Executive departments, are making towards sustainable development under the duty of Best Value. The Executive will work with Audit Scotland and the SDC to strengthen capacity in this area, set alongside new advice and guidance on implementation of the Best Value duty.
14.25 The SDC is the independent advisory body to government across the UK. It is charged with providing advice to the Executive on progress in delivering sustainable development and implementing the new UK Framework. It will do this by identifying unsustainable trends which will not be reversed on basis of planned action, and recommending action to reverse the trends.
14.26 We need to ensure that the SDC in Scotland is well placed to advise government by:
- producing a strategic assessment of performance ahead of the next strategy
- reporting on an annual basis on progress in delivering the strategy
- providing access to authoritative advice that is based on clear evidence
- highlighting best practice in sustainable development in other countries, and building on current links in the EU, the OECD and other international organisations.
14.27 The SDC also has an important role to play in promoting sustainable development in Scotland: encouraging a climate of opinion, promoting wider public debate and shared learning, and developing partnerships with key organisations and sectors.
14.28 The Executive will strengthen existing arrangements to deliver these aims by providing additional funding to increase the size of the SDC's secretariat in Scotland, giving early notice of areas where advice and expertise is required, encouraging departments and Ministers to draw on their expertise, and supporting stronger partnership arrangements with key organisations including the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum.
14.29 Developing capacity within civic society can help us achieve good governance. The Executive is committed to this approach in Scotland and will encourage participation and engagement in policy development and implementation. The focus in this strategy on action at local level, involving local authorities, the voluntary and community sectors should help to make this a reality.
14.30 The Executive will also support the new Sus It Out programme with core funding for the next three years. The Future Scotland partnership has been working since 2001 to promote awareness of sustainable development amongst civic society organisations and to encourage the Executive to take a participatory approach to the development of sustainable development policy.
14.31 The partnership has developed Sus It Out to support these objectives. The programme will include a tailor-made awareness raising tool, training and development for organisations across Scotland and annual pledges of activity in support of sustainable development.