Lucy McTernan, Deputy Chief Executive for the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), today responded to the publication of the Budget Process Review Group’s Final Report: “SCVO welcomes the publication of today’s report by the Budget Review Group which – if adhered to – would establish a new standard for how Scotland sets its budget.
“There can be no doubt that substantive all year round scrutiny of the budget is absolutely essential to prevent the last minute horse-trading and back room dealing we routinely see at Holyrood. This current process only suits party political ends and simply does not give people and communities the outcomes they want or deserve.
“Of course, a genuinely open budget process should have a much clearer strategy to support people across Scotland to understand and – crucially – participate in the budget setting process, and this is something we have consistently called for.
“The concept of looking back at past decisions, as well as looking forward, is also a progressive suggestion and fits neatly with the recent recommendations of the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, which advocated a similar approach in the crafting of legislation. Only through these means can we learn from our mistakes and make better and more effective decisions about the use of public finances.
“As the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament approaches, we are encouraged that work is being undertaken to review and improve how our legislature works, and, at first glance, it appears there is a genuine desire to open up the Parliament to greater scrutiny. While this can only be welcomed, the real game changer would be to ensure our parliament is exposed to far more public participation – and it seems we are still some way from achieving this.”