In the context of current budgetary pressures, Crawford Beveridge's independent budget review has rightly identified an important opportunity to explore how best to ensure a public-sector workforce that is suitably skilled to meet the future challenges Scotland's economy will face.
Scotland's Sector Skills Councils are ideally placed to help facilitate this work, providing critical analysis of existing and emerging skills gaps and shortages, and working with employers to ensure that these are suitably addressed.
At a time when the public finances are under such pressure, the need to ensure that workforce skills meet the current and future needs of employers - be they in the public or private sector - has never been stronger.
I welcome the debate now opened up by Mr Beveridge's report, and look forward to working closely with local and central government, employers and employees to ensure we continue to deliver the highly motivated, efficient and effective workforce our public services require.
Jacqui Hepburn, Director, Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Scotland, Edinburgh.