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Equal Communities Action Plan

EQUAL COMMUNITIES IN A FAIRER SCOTLAND

Action Plan supporting Community Planning Partners
December 2009 - March 2011

Introduction

This Action Plan supports the Equal Communities in a Fairer Scotland Policy Statement published jointly by Scottish Government and COSLA in October 2009. It sets out what we will do to help those seeking to tackle multiple deprivation in communities in the new context for regeneration. Given this, the Action Plan is focused on the support we will give to those regenerating our most deprived neighbourhoods. It is only one part of a broader suite of activity aimed at supporting people and organisations to alleviate poverty.

The Partners

This Action Plan is jointly published by Scottish Government and COSLA.

Scottish Government, through it's Scottish Centre for Regeneration, supports our public, private and voluntary sector delivery partners to gain a better understanding of how to tackle issues in regeneration and housing. COSLA, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, is the representative voice of Scottish local government and also acts as the employers' association on behalf of all Scottish councils. One of it's key principles is to work with partner organisations where appropriate to deliver shared agendas, adding value through partnership, particularly in relation to the achievement of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The Action Plan will be delivered in partnership with the Improvement Service, SURF, Scottish Poverty Information Unit and the Poverty Alliance.

The Challenge

Despite the best efforts of a succession of targeted community regeneration programmes, stark inequalities between communities persist. There are still too many communities in Scotland experiencing very high levels of multiple deprivation relative to their neighbours.

The ring fence associated with the Fairer Scotland Fund (FSF) will end in March 2010, with the sums allocated to local authority areas rolled up within general settlements to local government from 2010-11. Government at a national and local level believes this is necessary to increase the pace of progress in tackling high levels of multiple deprivation in our communities. Increasingly, community planning partners need to come together with communities themselves to tackle this persistent challenge using the combined power and influence of all mainstream resources. Only by doing this, and by seeking maximum benefit for deprived areas from wider economic development and physical regeneration, will all of Scotland's communities have access to opportunities that can improve their quality of life.

The policy statement, Equal Communities in a Fairer Scotland, which was published in October by Scottish Government and COSLA, says "By working in partnership, focussing on long-term outcomes and using our resources to best effect, the Scottish Government and local authorities will seek to tackle the poverty concentrated in our most deprived communities and reduce the inequalities which exist between these communities and the rest of Scotland".

It also established our principles:

  • a focus on investment and services that address the root causes of long-standing concentrated multiple deprivation, not only alleviating its symptoms
  • emphasis, where resources allow, on making early interventions in vulnerable communities to address emerging problems as quickly as possible
  • encouraging effective joint working between community planning partners including links to the third and private sectors
  • focused action on improving employability and linking residents to employment opportunities wherever possible as a key means of extending opportunity and tackling high levels of local deprivation
  • support for community empowerment, so that local communities become more resilient, can deliver change themselves and influence and inform the decisions made by community planning partners

And we have already set out our strategic priorities for tackling poverty in Scotland in Achieving Our Potential, our overarching framework, in combination with linked social policy frameworks focused on health inequalities and early years, which sets out how all partners should work together to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland, regardless of where those affected live.

However, this is new territory and it is complex. Those working to tackle multiple deprivation and deliver regeneration should be supported to be able to work effectively in this new context, if they require help. Any support put in place should meet the needs of those working at the coalface; it should allow them to deepen their understanding; and help us all to share good practice, evidence and expertise in an easily accessible way.

The Approach

Over the last 18 months we have been in dialogue with local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) about how we can help them to regenerate communities and tackle poverty. This has been done through questionnaires to CPPs, discussion at events, online discussion and through undertaking research.

It has enabled us to identify the issues faced, to get a better understanding of the skills and knowledge that can help address these issues and to get a clear idea of the support that is required to help develop appropriate skills and knowledge.

From our discussions we have identified three key and pressing issues:

  1. How to embed community regeneration and tackling poverty within Single Outcome Agreements?
  2. How to support approaches to community regeneration and tackling poverty within the new outcome focused context?
  3. How to address complex individual needs, financial inclusion and rural poverty?

We have also learned that local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships would like a range of support which can help them gain a better understanding of these issues. The Community Regeneration and Tackling Poverty learning network is seen as a good medium for this given its ability to manage a practical learning programme and publish documents setting out good practice and lessons learned.

This Action Plan therefore sets out a range of support to be provided to CPPs and their delivery partners until March 2011 by the Community Regeneration and Tackling Poverty learning network. It comprises a number of elements including:

  • workshops - which bring together a group of people to discuss a specific issue, explore how this could be applied within their context and to identify any other work needed to help with this
  • action learning sets - which explore a specific issue or question in detail with a small group of people over a period of time
  • study visits - which allow people to hear about, see in action, and learn from, a project or projects which demonstrate good practice
  • learning points - which aim to stimulate thinking about issues and practice and raise general awareness of an issue through setting out lessons learned from events, programmes, research and evaluation
  • case studies - which outline details of a specific activity, programme or project so as to raise its general awareness and signpost people to where they can get more detail
  • briefing papers - which set out thinking, briefing or possible forward action on a specific topic or questions by providing in-depth information or by outlining ways to tackle issues
  • online discussion - which allows people to share ideas, thinking and opinions virtually

The Action Plan

Issue 1: How to embed community regeneration and tackling poverty within Single Outcome Agreements?

Context

Local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners have told us that they would like support to:

  • identify robust and reliable data
  • develop outcome indicators with this data
  • develop value for money approaches
  • work in partnership

Activities

In 2009-10 - 2010-11 we will:

  • manage action learning sets for four Community Planning Partnerships to help them to gain a better understanding of what an outcomes approach means and its practical implications for tackling poverty and regenerating communities. Each action learning set will bring together a group of people from the CPP who will meet regularly over a period of time to review, plan and decide how to implement regeneration and anti poverty strategies in their area using an outcomes based approach. We will publish and widely disseminate case study reports setting out good practice and lessons learned from each of the action learning sets. We will also publish a series of three thematic briefing papers providing information and context on key issues identified.
  • hold a series of four linked workshops for all CPPs across Scotland to help them share practice and explore issues such as understanding the outcomes approach, understanding and developing capacity issues and developing outcome focused performance management systems. We will also publish and widely disseminate learning points setting out good practice and lessons learned from each of these workshops.
  • support online discussion and networking to engage CPPs on progress and learning from the four action learning sets.

Delivery

This work stream will be delivered in partnership with the Improvement Service. The Improvement Service aims to help improve the efficiency, quality and accountability of public services in Scotland by providing advice, consultancy and programme support to councils and their partners.

Issue 2: How to support approaches to community regeneration and tackling poverty within the new outcome focused context?

Context

Local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners have told us that they would like support to help them to:

  • evidence the need for, and impact of, tackling multiple deprivation in an environment of competing strategic and statutory priorities
  • use data and statistics to show the context and challenges around regeneration
  • mainstream formerly ring fenced regeneration funding
  • build capacity among partners and their workforce for delivery

Activities

In 2009-10 - 2010-11 we will:

  • hold a series of three workshops to support Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners to share practice and explore issues such as using data and analysis to evidence the need for, and impact of, resourcing approaches to multiple deprivation; mainstreaming approaches to regeneration funding; and understanding the perspectives of decision makers on funding for regeneration. We will also publish and widely disseminate learning points setting out good practice and lessons learned from each of these workshops.
  • hold a series of seven linked study visits to support Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners to gain first hand, practical experience of approaches taken to mainstreaming regeneration funding. We will also publish and widely disseminate case studies outlining the good practice from each of the initiatives visited.
  • manage an action learning set with representatives of Community Planning Partnerships from different parts of Scotland. The action learning set will allow the CPPs to meet regularly over a period of time and will help them see how best to use data analysis to show the impact of interventions aimed at tackling multiple deprivation; to identify 'a line of sight' between the outcomes required for multiply deprived communities and broader strategies such as equalities, Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) and Community Plans; and explore ways of supporting partners to use their resources to regenerate communities. We will also use the action learning sets to identify good practice and learning which can be shared with other CPPs.
  • support online discussion and networking on these issues.

Delivery

This work stream will be delivered in partnership with SURF - Scotland's Independent Regeneration Network. SURF's overall objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in Scotland's disadvantaged communities. It aims to be the primary arena for debate on community regeneration in Scotland and acts as a channel for information, consultation and policy proposals, based on the knowledge and experience of its membership and wider connections.

Issue 3: How to addresses complex individual needs, financial inclusion and rural poverty?

Context

Local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners have told us that they would like support to help them:

  • improve financial inclusion
  • tackle inequalities
  • address rural poverty
  • gain a better understanding of the proposed Socio-Economic Duty

Activities

In 2009-10 - 2010-11 we will:

  • hold two workshops to support Community Planning Partnerships and their delivery partners to share practice and explore issues on approaches to profiling local poverty. We will publish and widely disseminate learning points setting out good practice and lessons learned from each of these workshops and on the implications of the proposed social-economic duty and poverty proofing.
  • manage two action learning sets to allow the CPPs to meet regularly over a period of time to share practice and explore ways of addressing financial exclusion and tackling poverty in rural areas. We will publish and widely disseminate learning points setting out good practice and lessons learned from each of these action learning sets.
  • publish two briefing papers providing information and context on 'Tackling Poverty - The European Dimension' and 'Financial Inclusion'.
  • support online discussion and networking on these issues.

Delivery

This programme will be delivered in partnership with the Scottish Poverty Information Unit (SPIU) and the Poverty Alliance. Scottish Poverty Information Unit is an academic body which aims to assist those committed to eradicating poverty in Scotland through robust policy analysis, quality research and widespread dissemination of poverty information. SPIU seeks to work in partnership with others towards the goal of reducing poverty and extending social justice in Scotland. The Poverty Alliance is a national membership network made up of organisations and motivated individuals that aim to combat poverty by working with others to empower individuals and communities to affect change in the distribution of power and resources. We will ensure that this builds on lessons learned from evaluation of previous programmes on multiple and complex needs. This will help to identify what works in improving access, the service experience and outcomes for clients with multiple and complex needs.

Measuring Progress

The Scottish Government and CoSLA will report back on progress to a Stakeholder Group, which we have invited the following to join:

  • COSLA Tackling Poverty Officer Group
  • COSLA Equalities Officer Group
  • SOLACE
  • The Improvement Service
  • SURF - Scotland's Independent Regeneration Network
  • The Poverty Alliance
  • Scottish Poverty Information Unit
  • Representatives from Community Planning Partnerships
  • Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • Scottish Community Development Network
  • Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure Scotland
  • Health Scotland
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations

As part of this we will monitor and evaluate the progress made through the Action Plan. This will involve measuring the number of people who:

  • participate in the programme
  • increase their knowledge, understanding and skills through participating in the programme
  • have become more effective through participating in the programme
  • have positively changed the way their organisation works through participating in the programme

Contact

If you want any further information on the Action Plan programme contact:

Heather Smith or Jim Carruth
Scottish Centre for Regeneration
Scottish Government
Highlander House
58 Waterloo Street
Glasgow
G2 7DA
Tel: 0141 271 3736
Email: contactSCR@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
www.partnersinregeneration.com