Relevance of the Scottish Public Finance Manual ( SPFM)
(i) The SPFM is issued by Scottish Ministers to provide guidance to Scottish Government and other relevant bodies on the proper handling of public funds. It places a duty of Best Value in Public Services delivery. "Best Value" is concerned with balancing costs and quality whilst having regard to the economy, effectiveness, equal opportunities and the achievement of sustainable development.
The SPFM sets out the following guidance relevant to leasing or disposing of land and property assets:
"Where there are wider public benefits, consistent with the principles of Best Value, to be gained from a transaction, disposing bodies should consider disposal of assets at less than Market Value. This includes supporting the acquisition of assets by community bodies, where appropriate. Otherwise, assets are to be disposed of at Market Value, as defined in the International Valuation Standards (as used in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Valuation Professional Standards) but reflecting any special value and the effect of any voluntary conditions imposed by the seller"
The Group considers that New Entrant opportunities can be tendered in a way that seeks to achieve the principles of Best Value.
(ii) Best value is demonstrated by nine characteristics:
- Commitment and Leadership
- Sound Governance at a Strategic and Operational Level
- Sound Management of Resources
- Responsiveness and Consultation
- Use of Review and Options Appraisal
- A Contribution to Sustainable Development
- Equal Opportunities Arrangements
- Joint Working
(iii) Best Value in Public Service: Guidance for Accountable Officers refreshes these guidance groups into five themes and two cross-cutting themes. This change reflects the experience of applying Best Value across the Scottish public sector over the last few years and the context within which Public Bodies now work. The five themes, and the relationship to the Best Value characteristics as listed in the SPFM, are:
- Vision and Leadership ( SPFM - "commitment and leadership", "responsiveness and consultation" and "sound governance at a strategic and operational level");
- Effective Partnerships ( SPFM - "joint working" and "responsiveness and consultation");
- Governance and Accountability ( SPFM - "responsiveness and consultation", "commitment and leadership" and "accountability");
- Use of resources ( SPFM - "sound management of resources" and "use of review and options appraisal"); and
- Performance Management ( SPFM - "Sound governance at a strategic and operational level" and "responsiveness and consultation").
(iv) The two cross-cutting themes which a Best Value organisation should fully embrace across all of its activities are:
- Equality ( SPFM - "Equal Opportunities arrangements"); and
- Sustainability ( SPFM - "A Contribution to Sustainable Development").