National Performance Framework

Fifteen years of national outcomes – what’s next for Scotland’s National Performance Framework?

November 14, 2022 by 11 Comments | Category background, making the NPF real, review

Fifteen years of the National Performance Framework

Sorry we’ve been so quiet. Be assured, stuff is happening!

Sometimes looking back can help us move forward and anniversaries present a good opportunity to do that. Early in the third session of the Scottish Parliament, as part of the 2007 Spending Review, the Scottish Government introduced a new outcomes-based National Performance Framework (NPF). So, today, 14 November 2022, the NPF celebrates its 15th birthday.

In that first iteration, the NPF consisted of a single over-arching Purpose and five Strategic Objectives, supported by 15 National Outcomes and 45 National Indicators.

A few months later, in June 2008, the Scottish Government launched Scotland Performs. This new website showed how Scotland was performing against the National Indicators.

Since then, there have been a couple of substantial reviews and more minor changes made to the NPF. A significant change came in 2015, when the National Outcomes were included in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act. That legislation requires Scottish Ministers to set National Outcomes. It also requires Scottish Ministers to consult on those National Outcomes. And to review them every five years.

Reviewing the National Outcomes

Now you’re thinking, the current version of the NPF was published in June 2018, so we must be due a statutory review right about now. And you’d be right.

Technically, we don’t need to start the review process until five years from the publication of the current version of the National Outcomes (that is, by June 2023). But we hope to share some exciting news about the review very soon!

Committee inquiry into the National Performance Framework

Last month, the Finance and Public Administration Committee (FPAC) published the report of its inquiry into how the National Performance Framework influences decision-making in Scotland.

The committee heard from stakeholders interested in wellbeing and sustainable development and Scottish public service leaders. Many expressed their support for the NPF and desire to see the National Outcomes embedded further in the cultures and practices of the Scottish Government and beyond.

The team is currently considering the report’s recommendations. And we’ll be sending an official response to the committee in early December.

Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill and Future Generations Commissioner

In the 2022/23 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government committed to introducing a Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill. This new legislation would ensure public bodies consider their impact on sustainable development. It could also include the establishment of a Scottish Future Generations Commissioner, similar to the one in Wales.

Scotland’s International Development Alliance recently published a proposal for the bill, and we’re looking forward to hearing from other stakeholders.

And finally, have you used our policy making guide?

cover page from the policy toolkit

Scottish public, private and third sector organisations do fantastic work to advance the National Outcomes. In order to share that good practice, we’re always looking to add to our examples of the NPF in action. And to get some feedback on our guides and other resources.

So, please let us know if you’ve used our guide to outcomes-focused policy making (or any of our other resources).


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