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Let's Make Scotland More Active: A strategy for physical activity


Let's Make Scotland More Active: A strategy for physical activity

3 Strengthening the infrastructure

'Active planning for an active community.'
Esk Valley Trust, Dalkeith.

Strategic co-ordination framework

68 The Scottish Executive is committed to cross-cutting policy (joint working between departments) to deal with a wide range of issues. However, there is a lack of co-ordinated planning for physical activity. There are many different national agencies that could help put the objectives and priorities of this strategy into practice. But, these agencies often have to compete with each other for resources and the initiatives between departments and agencies are often not co-ordinated. This needs to change.

69 We believe that it is vital to challenge and change how the Scottish Executive and its agencies work to develop this strategy as well as what is done. Putting in place a system to co-ordinate the existing policy-making, design and delivery will be as vital as developing new areas of work. The cross-departmental representation on the Task Force project team showed that this can happen for forming strategies. We now need an identifiable and accountable cross-cutting (joined-up) structure for putting the strategies into place.

Strengthening the national infrastructure

70 To deal with this lack of co-ordination and overall responsibility for physical activity at a national level, we recommend that Scottish ministers and the Scottish Executive do the following.

  • Make the post of national physical activity co-ordinator a permanent one.

  • Set up a physical activity co-ordination group, with members from many departments and national agencies as well as other organisations who can support, challenge and motivate.

  • Appoint to this team senior representatives who are able to make decisions about how resources are used and how the strategy can be put into practice.

71 The co-ordination group should identify and agree on the main departments and agencies responsible for carrying out more detailed work to support the strategic objectives and priorities. These departments and agencies would play a major role in resourcing, developing, putting into practice and monitoring their area of responsibility. They should also have the main responsibility for:

  • supporting national and community planning partners in developing action plans;

  • identifying baseline data and performance indicators;

  • evaluating the effectiveness of their action; and

  • reporting on progress.

72 However, identifying lead departments and agencies should be consistent with the broader values of this strategy. In promoting partnership working at a national level, the Task Force would like to see more of the following.

  • Using consistently budgets for putting the programme into practice.

  • Shared or cross-departmental appointments.

  • Staff working between departments and agencies.

  • Shared information systems.

  • Consistent systems to measure progress.

Strengthening the local infrastructure

73 Community planning is an important system for meeting locally identified needs and delivering national policy. To deliver the strategic vision for physical activity in Scotland, it will be necessary to strengthen local policy, service delivery and activity. We believe that the community planning process is the best system for doing this.

74 Community planning is a partnership between the local authority, the NHS, other public agencies, employers, voluntary and community groups, service users and businesses. Together, they are the community planning partnership.

75 The purpose of community planning is to make a difference by:

  • committing the partners to developing an agreed strategic vision for their community; and

  • dealing with cross-cutting issues that affect the social, economic and environmental health of the community.

76 The community planning partnership will achieve this by working together for the benefit of local people by:

  • involving all sections of the community;

  • collectively identifying needs and deciding how these can be dealt with; and

  • co-ordinating activity to help deliver improved and effective services.

77 Different tools may be used in this process, such as setting objectives and targets, drawing up plans and monitoring and evaluating the work done.

78 The shared vision for health will be laid out in a clearly expressed set of objectives known as the Joint Health Improvement Plan, which is part of the community planning process.

79 We recommend that community planning partnerships:

  • deal with the strategic priorities of this strategy, taking account of local needs and priorities;

  • make sure that these are expressed clearly as objectives within the Joint Health Improvement Plan;

  • put these objectives into practice across relevant service areas;

  • monitor progress relating to these objectives and evaluate their effects; and

  • make sure that everyone involved acts in line with any existing or new legislative or audit requirements that may affect community planning partners.

80 The following table (taken from Our Community's Health: Guidance on the preparation of joint health improvement plans) shows where a wide range of local services could help to achieve our objectives.


Contribution (examples only)

Local government

Transport and planning - changes to the built environment, for example, traffic-calming, pathways and cycleways, street lighting.

Education - for example, physical education, extracurricular activities, school use of facilities by communities, safe routes to school.

Leisure, recreation and culture - access to parks and play areas, swimming pools, allotments and leisure centres. Cultural services through drama, dance and music.

Social services - promote physical activity with their client groups, for example, frail elderly, people with learning difficulties.

Human resources - by promoting SHAW and staff health.

NHS - health boards, LHCCs

Coronary and respiratory rehabilitation services.

Services working with people with special needs.

Care of the elderly services, for example, preventing falls.

Primary care services, for example, exercise and activity on prescription.

Supporting activities within communities, for example, Walk About a Bit, Fit Ayrshire Babies, SNAPPY (Fife), Guid Fettle (Borders).

Voluntary organisations

Specific groups - physical activity will be an issue for specific groups from either a medical or environmental point of view, and a significant issue for groups relating to mental health.

Activity clubs - much of current activity relating to both sport and youth organisations depends on a strong volunteer base.

Local enterprise companies and businesses

The promotion of physical activity can be seen as part of developing a healthy workforce. Links with Scotland's Health at Work Scheme could be associated with encouraging good business practice.

Other organisations

Universities and colleges - education and training, access to facilities, help with research and evaluation.

Housing associations and how new buildings will influence physical activity.

Local access forums - access to the countryside and outdoor recreation.

Media - general promotion and publicity, communication and features on specific areas of activity.

Community safety - preventing accidents and injury, working with young people at risk.

Partnership groups coming together to support new developments such as The Paths to Health Initiative which is funded by the Paths for All Partnership, British Heart Foundation, Health Education Board for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the New Opportunities Fund.

81 We recognise that this can only be fully achieved by the proposed national co-ordination group providing leadership and resources.