The Executive is encouraging the development of one-stop shops—and, most important, one-stop services—through the modernising government fund, which provides direct financial support to local authorities, and through the community planning process, which encourages councils to work with their partners.
All 32 local authorities have benefited from the modernising government fund in the development of their one-stop services. The fund has provided support including direct funding of £17 million from the first round in 2000, £28 million from the second round over 2002-04 and a further commitment of £35 million from the third round until 2006.
The Executive, along with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and other representatives from the local authorities, is also encouraging a consortium approach to the development of modern one-stop services with councils. We are working together to share development, experience, costs and good practice.
I thank the minister for his comprehensive response. He might be aware of the extensive network of one-stop shops for local authority services in my local authority area in Fife. I am heartened to hear him acknowledge that, as part of the process, authorities should work with partner agencies. What encouragement can be given to all local authorities to include in their one-stop shops not only local authority services, but services that are offered by non-departmental public bodies?
Mr Barrie raises an important point in relation not only to non-departmental public bodies, but to departments of government in the round. We intend to work with the range of organisations that he describes in order to ensure that one-stop shops and one-stop services link across government. We intend to ensure that citizens receive the best possible service as quickly and efficiently as possible. That is very much part of our efficient government approach.