The use of public money to prevent rather than deal with negative social outcomes is the focus of an inquiry launched today by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee.
The committee is seeking views on ways to focus spending on longer term preventative measures, and is particularly interested in evidence from across the UK and abroad of how preventative spending has been effective.
Launching the inquiry, Finance Committee Convener Andrew Welsh MSP said: “This new work builds on the committee’s recent Inquiry into the efficient delivery of public services, which said that longer-term approaches to public spending should not be forgotten, even in the face of immediate budget pressures. The primary aim of the inquiry will be to contribute to the on-going and wide-ranging debate on preventative spending.”
The committee is seeking responses to the following key questions:
- How can public spending best be focussed over the longer term to prevent, rather than deal with, negative social outcomes?
- What evidence is available from the UK and abroad to show that promoting preventative spending has been effective?
- The Finance Committee has recommended that the Scottish Government continue to direct spending towards preventative programmes. Which programmes should be prioritised?
- To what extent is preventative spending effective in addressing the financial impact of demographic change?
- What are the main barriers to trying to focus spending on preventing, rather than dealing with, negative social outcomes? Is a focus on preventative spending less likely in the current financial climate?
- How do we ensure that we monitor the impact of preventative spending over the longer term and shape budgets accordingly?
- Is the effectiveness of a preventative spending programme influenced by whether the relevant services are provided by the public, private or voluntary sector?
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