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Devolved School Management (DSM) scheme is the framework that sets out our financial processes for funding schools, how financial decisions are delegated to schools, and the accountability and responsibility for financial decisions.

Background information

The DSM scheme was introduced in Scotland in 1993 to enhance and improve the management of resources at school level. The DSM Guidelines are issued to local authorities by Scottish Ministers under Section 13 of the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000.

The most recent Devolved School Management Guidelines 2019 (Scottish Government) build and improve on the Devolved School Management Guidelines revised in 2012 and reflect and integrate with the Education Reform Programme priorities and principles emerging from the Scottish Government and COSLA Education Reform Joint Agreement of 2018 (PDF 452Kb).

The updated DSM principles, agreed by the Fair Funding Reference Group, who consulted with all 32 Scottish Local Authorities, is built upon foundations and principles of; Subsidiarity and Empowerment, Collaboration, Accountability and Responsibility and Clarity and Equity.

These are reflective of the aims of the National Improvement Framework and support the principles of:

  • support excellence and equity - ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed
  • be fair - placing the needs of all children and young people at the centre
  • be simple, transparent and predictable - ensuring the costs of delivering education can be easily understood and explained and that schools are able to manage and plan ahead with certainty
  • deliver value for money - ensuring that every penny spent is used effectively

In line with the 2019 Guidelines, our revised DSM scheme enhances the current core values of subsidiarity, openness, transparency and local accountability. It further promotes and facilitates school empowerment, enabling headteachers to provide the efficient and most effective use of resources and encourages collaboration within and across education groups and other agencies to contribute towards shared agendas and improved outcomes for children and young people.

Download the full revised Devolved School Management Scheme (PDF 641Kb)

Contact Information


Education Service
Council Headquarters
London Road
Telephone (General Enquiries): 07551 280834 or
Telephone (General Enquiries): 07721 857059 or