A SENIOR MSP has launched an outspoken attack on Scotland's public bodies over a lack of teamwork between different organisations.

Mary Scanlon, who has been a MSP since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, said a lack of joined-up thinking in the public sector had been a recurring theme of her time at Holyrood.

She spoke out as MSPs took evidence from representatives of the police, councils, the NHS and Scottish Enterprise on the topic of community planning.

Despite two damning reports from the Auditor General which said Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) were failing to deliver significant reforms more than a decade after they were set up, the witnesses largely defended their role and attempted to offer examples of the positive role CPPs had played.

Ms Scanlon said: "In a country of five and a quarter million, after 16 years of a Scottish Parliament having been reconvened, why are we sitting here for three hours this morning asking why our public services can't talk to each other? I just don't understand that.

"There is another committee looking at Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise who allegedly don't work together to the detriment of our film industry, we've also had the Christie Commission which was about working together. We have been forced to bring in legislation for health and social care integration in order to make them work together.

"Can I just say that in my time on this committee a high percentage of reports from the auditor general are about people not working together or not sharing data."

CPPs were established in 2003 in an effort to ensure public bodies worked more closely to increase efficiency and improve public services. However, a report a decade on stated that they had not met their goals, while a follow-up last year concluded that many of the 32 organisations across the country were still not clear about what their role was.

Ms Scanlon added: "I know you've got very good plans going forward, but we had very good plans going forward after the 10 year report card. Why do people in Scotland in public services not talk to each other? Why are we wasting spending three hours today asking you why you can't work together?"

Midlothian MSP Colin Beattie said to witnesses: "The reports we have seen make fairly depressing reading. CPPs have been around for more than 10 years and progress has been minimal... How many years before you are going to be effective?"

However, representatives of the public sector, from the Aberdeen and Borders areas, insisted that CPPs had delivered improvements for their communities.

John Rennie, chair of NHS Borders, said: "If the impression we have conveyed is that the parties can't work together then we have failed. I did hope that we were getting across the message that we are the living proof of working together. We are good at data sharing and that is producing some good outcomes."