Decorative

How is Scotland Performing?

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Scotland has a National Performance Framework (NPF), and you can find out more about it in this key issues briefing from SPICe.

It includes 11 outcomes , and the performance of those outcomes is measured by a total of 81 National Indicators. This blog provides a snapshot of the current performance of the National Indicators, and we plan to update it on the first Monday of the month.

For example one outcome is all about Children and Young People, and the outcome is that “We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential”. 

So, how is that outcome measured? 

The NPF actually identifies seven different indicators for this outcome, and one of these is titled “child and social development”, and specifically measures the “the percentage of children with a concern at their 27-30 month review”.  The indicator relates to Health Visitors’ assessment of children’s development and picks up the number of children who turned 27 months old during the financial year of interest (April to March) and who were active on the Scottish Immunisation & Recall System (SIRS).  

How do we know if things are getting better, worse or staying the same?

To help simplify a complex array of statistical measures and get a sense of the overall direction of the NPF, each one of the 81 National Indicators is assessed as to whether its performance is improving, maintaining or worsening.

That decision, for each indicator, is based on its own “Criteria for Change”

For example, If we look at the Criteria for Change for the Economic Growth indicator, we can get an idea of how this works. This indicator measures how well the Scottish economy is growing compared to recent history. It compares Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the most recent year against the average annual GDP growth across the three previous years.

The Criteria for Change for this Indicator are:  

Performance Improving means: 0.1 percentage points or more higher than the average annual growth rates for the preceding 3 years
Performance Maintaining means: within +/- 0.1 percentage points of the average annual growth rates for the preceding 3 years
Performance Worsening means: 0.1 percentage points or more lower than the average annual growth rates for the preceding 3 years  

So, are things getting better, worse or staying the same?

Updated at 5 September 2022

This section outlines how each of the 81 Indicators is performing.  

The NPF was last refreshed and reviewed in 2018.  However, it should be noted that, as at 5 September 2022, of the 81 National indicators there is now no data for 22. That leaves us with 59 indicators on which performance has been assessed.

The Scottish Household Survey is the source for nine of the “missing” indicators, whilst the Scottish Health Survey is the source for a further four.  In six cases no data is available as the indicator is still in development.

For surveys like the Scottish Household Survey, the pandemic has had a major impact on how that data has been collected  (details available in this report).  In summary, as set out here, in March 2020, to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, fieldwork for the Scottish Household Survey was suspended. A revised approach was piloted and adopted for the remainder of the 2020 sample. This involved no interviewer travel, and surveys conducted remotely, either by telephone or by video

As a result, the government says that it has not been possible to determine the extent to which any differences between 2020 and previous years represent genuine changes in people’s views and experiences, as opposed to being due to changes in how the survey was carried out.  It is understood the government is considering alternative approaches to determining performance in the future.

More information can be found on the NPF website.

The big picture

The following chart gives an overview of what is happening with each indicator grouped by its relevant outcomes.

A horizontal stacked bar chart showing the performance of each of the 81 National Indicators grouped by the 11 outcomes. The data for the chart can be found below.

In most cases (34) performance is maintaining, whilst improvement is seen for 16 Indicators, and for 9 Indicators the position is worsening.

Current gaps in data are notable in Education (no performance data for 4 out of 9 Indicators), Human rights (no performance data for 3 out of 4 indicators), Communities (no data for 3 out of 8 indicators) and for International (only 3 out of 6 Indicators are currently measuring performance).

A breakdown by all the National Indicators

The following table provides an overview of what is happening with each indicator grouped by the relevant outcomes.

Children and Young People

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining

Communities

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance to be confirmed
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Worsening

Culture

Indicator
Performance
Performance to be confirmed
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Improving
Performance Worsening

Economy

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Worsening
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining

Education

Indicator
Performance
Performance to be confirmed
Confidence of children and young people
Indicator in development
Resilience of children and young people
Indicator in development
Performance Worsening
Engagement in extra-curricular activities
Indicator in development
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Improving
Performance Improving

Environment

Indicator
Performance
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining

Fair Work & Business

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Performance Improving
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Worsening
Performance Improving

Health

Indicator
Performance
Performance Worsening
Performance to be confirmed
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Maintaining
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Improving
Performance Worsening
Performance Maintaining
Performance Worsening

Human Rights

Indicator
Performance
Indicator in development
Performance to be confirmed
Performance to be confirmed
Performance Maintaining

International

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Improving
Indicator in development
Indicator in development
Performance to be confirmed

Poverty

Indicator
Performance
Performance Maintaining
Performance Worsening
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance Maintaining
Performance to be confirmed
Performance to be confirmed

Finally, it is worth noting that the Scottish Government has recently been asking users what they think of the National Performance Framework, and there’s an NPF newsletter for those who want to keep up to date.

Simon Wakefield, Senior Researcher and Andrew Aiton, Data Visualisation Manager