Publication - Publication

Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland

Published: 24 Nov 2008
Part of:
Communities and third sector
ISBN:
978075595881

Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland

26 page PDF

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26 page PDF

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Contents
Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland
5. OUR APPROACH

26 page PDF

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5. OUR APPROACH

i. Tackling income inequality

The Government Economic Strategy has set an ambitious target to deliver greater Solidarity in Scotland by reducing the nation's relatively high levels of income inequalities. Our aim is to reconnect more people to the mainstream economy and provide the opportunities - and incentives - for all to contribute to Scotland's economic growth.

What the evidence says

The evidence points to a number of key drivers of income inequalities in Scotland. These key drivers can be particularly acute for some groups in society. People from minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people and those with caring responsibilities, for example, can be at a particular disadvantage:

Low educational attainment and a lack of training

A lack of qualifications can severely limit a person's likelihood of accessing, sustaining, and advancing in employment - and, indeed, of earning a decent wage. For adults on low pay or benefits, good quality vocational training and training within the workplace is a well-established route into jobs which provide a better wage.

Substantial differences in life chances, quality of life and social inclusion are evident between those with low levels of literacy and numeracy and others at higher levels. Low level skills are associated with lack of qualifications, poor labour market experience and prospects, poor material and financial circumstances, poorer health behaviours and prospects, and lower social and political participation.

Low pay

The evidence tells us that most of those in the three lowest income deciles who are in work receive low hourly pay. In-work poverty is a very real problem in Scotland and can act as a disincentive to people who are looking to make the transition from benefits into work. Many women are concentrated in low paid employment and some minority ethnic communities, and in particular women from these communities, are disproportionately affected by low pay and occupational segregation, i.e. are over-represented in traditionally low-pay sectors.

Caring responsibilities and other barriers to work

The evidence tells us that families with caring responsibilities can face particular disadvantages in accessing and sustaining employment. Parents can face difficulties balancing the time burden of care and work - and can lose confidence and skills if they take time out of the labour force to care for their families. A lack of high quality reliable childcare can also discourage those furthest from the jobs market in seeking to take initial steps toward employability.

A lack of incentives in the benefits system

Evidence suggests that the threat of sudden benefits withdrawal can act as a real disincentive for many people who are looking to move from benefits into work. Currently, the tax credits and benefits system does not provide adequate support for people making these important transitions.

To respond to these root causes of income inequality the Scottish Government, local government and their partners need to take an approach which:

  • Makes work pay - by providing people with the skills and training they need to progress in or into work and realise their potential; by supporting economic development and the creation of better employment opportunities; and by encouraging the enforcement of statutory workers' rights;
  • Maximises the potential for people to work - by removing any barriers to their employment, including through the provision of more accessible and affordable childcare, and learning the lessons from projects such as Working for Families.
  • Maximises income for all - so that everyone - including those who cannot enter the labour market - is well supported by income maximisation services and have a decent living standard whether or not they are in work.

What more we will do

The approach taken by local authorities in addressing income inequalities through the Single Outcome Agreements will support real improvement across Scotland - but, clearly, more needs to be done. Working with its partners across the broader public sector, Government will therefore take further, and more focused, action across the following areas:

Making work pay

  • To help more people realise their potential - and to encourage more employers to deliver learning in the workplace - Government will provide additional funding through the Individual Learning Accounts Scotland scheme for in-work learning and ensure that it is targeted at those in the three lowest income deciles.
  • The Scottish Government will press the UK Government to transfer responsibility for personal taxation and benefits to Scotland, to allow the development of an approach to equity and boosting economic activity that fits with Scottish circumstances. Specifically, the Government will press for a simplification of the tax credits scheme and the promotion of greater availability of childcare vouchers. Moreover, it will continue to make the case for a single, progressive and accessible system for supporting parents with childcare costs and making work pay for low income parents.
  • The creation of stronger, more dynamic and sustainable communities is integral to the work of the enterprise agencies. This is particularly challenging in the fragile areas of the Highlands and Islands and in other rural communities, and both Highlands and Islands Enterprise ( HIE) and Scottish Enterprise will continue to support rural growth businesses and aid rural economic diversification. HIE will tackle the equity challenges through a new Growth at the Edge approach. This will bring together a range of activities - including community capacity building, leadership development, acquisition and development of assets for community benefit, support for business development and cultural initiatives - to enable disadvantaged communities to generate economic growth and create the conditions for population retention and growth.
  • The Scottish Government will publish in 2009 an analysis of the scope for further action on income inequality in Scotland through pay across the public sector, taking into account the interaction with the tax and benefits system.
  • The Scottish Government will with the Poverty Alliance, the STUC and Third Sector partners launch a campaign in 2009-10 to raise awareness of statutory workers' rights in Scotland in relation to the minimum wage, paid sick leave, holidays and maternity or paternity leave.
  • The Scottish Government will press the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to step up their efforts in Scotland to raise awareness, increase enforcement with employers and ensure that all workers in Scotland get what is rightfully theirs.

Maximise the potential for people to work

  • The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to identify and disseminate examples of projects which successfully remove barriers to employment, including the evaluation of the successful Working for Families project.
  • We will continue to roll-out Workforce Plus and early in 2009 we will launch and facilitate an Employability Learning Network. This will enable employability partnerships within CPPs to learn from the experience and best practice of others in Scotland and elsewhere in supporting the most disadvantaged in the labour market into work.
  • We will work with the Third Sector in 2009 to develop initiatives focused on fast-track entry into work, with transitional placements in the third sector and in-work support - all with the aim of addressing the gap that so often exists between those who are out of work and employers.
  • We will work with NHS Boards, Jobcentre Plus and others to provide better support for those with mental and physical health needs who are currently receiving benefits but who might be able to join the workforce. Many of Scotland's citizens who currently receive Incapacity Benefit would like to work, and this targeted support will help them make that important step.
  • We will work with the Third Sector to ensure that people are equipped with the financial skills that they need to help them manage their money during the transition into work.
  • We will set out plans in 2009 for improved employability and skills services to Scotland's black and minority ethnic communities, working with community organisations.
  • In line with our commitment in the Government Economic Strategy to improve the life chances of those at risk, we will extend our approach on inclusive employment for people with learning disabilities - so that other disadvantaged groups are able to benefit from this too.
  • NHSScotland is one of the largest employers in Scotland. Territorial Boards are required to offer pre-employment training and opportunities for employment for people on benefits, through Health Academies or similar schemes. Many Boards are signing up to Local Employment Partnerships with Jobcentre Plus, committing to providing opportunities for people identified as on benefits and wishing to return to work. Some local authorities are working in partnership with their local health boards to extend the scope of the schemes and efforts will be made to make the approach more widespread. The Scottish Government will work with COSLA in 2009 to promote to local authorities a common public sector recruitment approach to develop pools of appropriate individuals from which smaller public sector recruiters could also draw.
  • We will use the evaluation of our 14 existing pilots to support those with multiple and complex needs to focus investment on a smaller number of approaches aimed at supporting those with multiple and complex needs - such as disability or mental health issues - overcome barriers to employment and will announce plans for this in 2009.

Maximising income for all

  • We will make significant new investment in 2009-10 and 2010-11 in income maximisation work. This will include a focus on benefits uptake for older people and other key groups, building on our existing pilots with Age Concern Scotland, and work to increase people's net disposable income - helping their money go further. We will build on what works and develop new approaches to boost the income of those in poverty or at risk of poverty. This will be linked to implementation of the income maximisation recommendations in the Equally Well report and from the National Fuel Poverty Forum.

ii. Longer-term measures to tackle poverty and the drivers of low income

What the evidence says

The evidence suggests that, while dealing with the root causes of low income, we must also adopt an approach which breaks the inter-generational cycle of poverty and which addresses the following, major longer-term drivers of poverty in our society:

Inequalities in attainment of our children and young people

There is compelling evidence which shows that - despite the best efforts of Government, local authorities and others so far - many children and young people are still held back by social and economic barriers which hamper their development and make it much more likely that they will experience poverty in later life.

Inequality resulting from discrimination and bias

Despite the legislation to provide protection from discrimination, many people still experience disadvantage and limited opportunities because of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, faith, age or social background. Whilst huge progress has been made in making society fairer, discrimination still exists and institutions, public bodies, private enterprises and voluntary organisations can sometimes conduct their business in a way that may, unwittingly, disadvantage particular groups of people. The barriers and limited opportunities that arise as a result can lead to poverty and disadvantage.

Health Inequalities

The gap in life expectancy in Scotland has increased consistently over the past 10 years. Problems from drugs and alcohol abuse; from mental ill health and from other key health problems are far more pronounced amongst our poorer citizens. The distribution of poor health has an impact upon income inequality and can pass from generation to generation.

A lack of good quality, accessible and affordable housing - particularly, within our more deprived areas

It is clear that housing supply must be increased in many parts of Scotland over the longer term if we are to meet the nation's future housing requirements, ensure greater fairness and stability in the housing market, and help regenerate our most disadvantaged communities. In particular a strong supply of affordable housing is essential to support the country's social housing needs and encourage labour mobility from disadvantaged areas to areas with greater demand for labour.

Responding to these longer-term drivers of poverty in our society, therefore, the Scottish Government, Local Government and their partners need to take an approach which:

  • Provides all children and young people with the best start in life - by putting parenting at the heart of policy, providing better access to spaces to play, and making every pre-school and school a family learning environment, so that all can realise their potential and avoid poverty in later life.
  • Supports the broader effort to deal with the health inequalities in our society - by implementing the recommendations of the Equally Well report, including the development of financial inclusion activity within mainstream public services and promoting the evidence of the health benefits of employment and by taking a holistic approach to social issues such as violence - so current and future generations are able to live healthy working lives that are free from poverty.
  • Promotes equality and tackles discrimination - by challenging stereotypes, building on public sector equalities duties, and supporting individuals so that all can reach their potential.
  • Delivers good quality affordable housing for all - investing in house-building and protecting the housing stock - so that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to live in a decent house that they can afford in a place where they can access services and employment.
  • Regenerates disadvantaged communities - promoting the lasting transformation of places for the benefit of the people that live there by: targeting investment; creating the right environment for private and public investment and devolving power to the local level.

What more we will do

The approach taken by local authorities in addressing the major, longer-term drivers of poverty through the Single Outcome Agreements will support real improvement across Scotland - but, clearly, more needs to be done. Working with its partners across the broader public sector, the Scottish Government will therefore take further, and more focused, action across the following areas:

Providing children and young people with the best start in life

  • We will introduce an early years framework to address many of the root causes of disadvantage through a focus on supporting parents and communities to provide the nurturing, stimulating environment for children. This will involve shifting the focus from crisis intervention to prevention and early intervention.
  • By 2010-11, we will put in place arrangements for a weekly allowance to be paid to kinship carers of looked after children. This will be at an equivalent rate of the allowance paid to foster carers - subject to agreeing with the DWP that this will not negatively impact on the benefit entitlements of these carers.
  • Central to Curriculum for Excellence is the ongoing entitlement for all our young people to develop their skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work in whatever type of provision is best suited to their needs and aspirations. 16+ Learning Choices is our new model for ensuring that every young person has an appropriate, relevant, attractive offer of learning made to them, well in advance of their school-leaving date. We expect this to be a universal offer across Scotland by 2010; a specific focus will be needed by local authorities and their partners on the most vulnerable young people.
  • We will build on our abolition of the Graduate Endowment fee by progressing wider plans to ensure that access to higher education is based on the ability to succeed rather than the ability to pay.

Supporting the broader effort to deal with the health inequalities in our society

  • We will implement the key recommendations from Equally Well, the report of the Ministerial Taskforce on health inequalities and tackle the shared underlying causes of health inequalities and poverty. This will include the establishment of test sites for the task force's approach to redesigning and refocusing public services, using the best available evidence to inform good practice.
  • Violence affects all of Scotland but it does not do so equally. We know that the death rate from assault in the most deprived communities is nearly four times that of even the Scottish average, and over ten times that in the least deprived communities. The Scottish Government will support the Violence Reduction Unit to deliver its 10 Year Violence Reduction Action Plan - launched on 17 December 2007 - in order to reduce significantly violence in Scotland.

Promoting equality and tackling discrimination

We will continue to progress a range of activities to advance equality and to tackle discrimination including:

  • Work with the public and third sector and the Equality and Human Rights Commission ( EHRC) to embed and progress equality, building on the public equality duties.
  • Activities to raise public awareness and challenge the stereotypes and attitudes which limit the opportunities for particular groups.
  • The development, in concert with the EHRC and the UK Government, of a framework for measuring progress on equality.
  • Working with disabled people, COSLA and the EHRC in shaping a programme to improve the opportunities for disabled people to live independently.
  • Developing guidance for CPPs on the Equality Impact Assessing of Single Outcome Agreements.

We will set out the detail of these proposals with our partners in 2009.

Delivering good quality affordable housing for all

To deliver good quality affordable housing for all, the Scottish Government will implement the approach set out in Responding to the Changing Economic Climate: Further Action on Housing by:

  • Providing over £1.5 billion for affordable housing investment across Scotland during the period 2008-11 - with £100 million of that being brought forward to accelerate the building of affordable housing;
  • Legislating to exempt new social housing from the Right to Buy, to protect the stock for future generations of tenants;
  • Making £25 million available to Councils to encourage them to build new homes for rent; and
  • Making £250 million available over the period 2008-11 to increase the funding for the Scottish Government's Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers ( LIFT) programme to help first time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.
  • Funding an awareness campaign in 2008-09 to encourage those with financial difficulties to seek advice from the national debt-line to avoid home repossession.
  • Establish a home owner support fund of £25 million over 2 years to support mortgage to rent and mortgage to shared equity transfers.

Regenerating disadvantaged communities

  • We will continue to support the six Urban Regeneration Companies ( URC) throughout Scotland to help transform our most deprived areas, and to lead improvements in employability, educational attainment, community safety and health in those areas.
  • Scottish Enterprise will engage with URCs and others delivering projects of a national or regional scale, to make regenerated areas attractive to inward investment and other business opportunities. New businesses and indigenous business growth will create further employment opportunities in high unemployment areas.
  • As indicated in our Government Economic Strategy, we will support social enterprise - as part of our wider investment in the third sector - to provide start-up assistance and to provide supported employment to those furthest from the labour market.
  • CPPs are seeking to use the Fairer Scotland Fund to accelerate the achievement of real outcomes for the most disadvantaged areas and vulnerable people. We will support them in this process by developing a community regeneration and tackling poverty learning network in 2009 to share best practice across Scotland.
  • The 2014 Commonwealth Games will provide individuals, groups and organisations across Scotland with a range of opportunities and has the potential to act as a catalyst for economic, physical, and social regeneration in Scotland. The Games will create an estimated 1,200 new jobs in Scotland of which 1,000 will be in Glasgow. Glasgow City Council is placing appropriate community benefit clauses in tenders relating to the 2014 Games.
  • Preparations for the Games are closely linked to the work of the Clyde Gateway URC in the east end of Glasgow and neighbouring South Lanarkshire, into which we are investing £62 million. The Gateway has the potential to transform one of the most deprived communities in Scotland.

iii. Supporting those experiencing poverty

What the evidence says

Evidence suggests that, to help those experiencing poverty, the Scottish Government, Local Government and our partners must adopt an approach which:

  • Delivers a fairer system of local taxation - based on ability to pay, to bring much-needed relief to Scottish household budgets.
  • Supports those who face hardship as a result of rising energy prices - by implementing key recommendations from the National Fuel Poverty Forum and developing measures to make our citizens' money go further.
  • Puts in place measures to provide greater financial inclusion - to help people avoid falling into hardship, whether as a result of economic downturn, or health, family and personal problems - as well as to address the stigma of poverty, particularly among our children and young people.

What more we will do

The approach taken by local authorities in supporting those experiencing poverty through the Single Outcome Agreements will make a difference to many thousands who are currently experiencing poverty - but, clearly, more needs to be done. Working with its partners across the broader public sector, the Scottish Government will therefore take further, and more focused, action across the following areas:

Replace the Council Tax with a fairer Local Income Tax

  • The Scottish Government will legislate to replace the regressive, unfair Council Tax with a fairer system of local taxation, based on ability to pay. This change will help to lift an estimated 90,000 people out of poverty. This will provide a vital financial boost to low and middle-income households across the country as the biggest tax cut in a generation. Eight out of ten families living in Scotland will be better or no worse off, with, for example, the average married couple with children saving £182.00 per year, and the average single pensioner £369.20 per year.

Supporting those who face hardship as a result of rising energy prices

  • The Scottish Government re-established the Fuel Poverty Forum to advise us on how best to tackle fuel poverty in future. We will implement their recommendation of a redesigned Energy Assistance Package for the fuel poor. This will provide more help and advice on all aspects of fuel poverty - checking those vulnerable to fuel poverty are on the best fuel tariff and maximising their income and improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Energy companies have agreed to work with the Government on providing a package of insulation measures, funded under Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, to fuel poor households, and the Government will fund enhanced energy efficiency improvements to those households hardest hit by higher fuel bills. We expect many rural homes that are hard to insulate and not on the gas grid will be able to benefit from energy efficiency measures under the new Energy Assistance Package.
  • The Scottish Government will press energy companies and UK Ministers to take action to minimise the impact of high fuel prices, particularly on our most vulnerable people.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to call for action on fuel prices at a UK level, seeking greater consistency and clarity around the social tariffs being offered by energy companies and pressing the UK Government to reconsider its decision not to put social tariffs on a mandatory legal footing, and for more progress on data sharing which would help energy companies target help at those most in need.

Put in place measures to provide greater financial inclusion and address the stigma of poverty

  • The Scottish Government will introduce legislation to extend entitlement to free school meals to all primary school and secondary school pupils whose parents or carers are in receipt of both maximum child tax credit and maximum working tax credit. This will increase entitlement to around an additional 44,000 pupils.
  • The Government will introduce legislation to enable local authorities to provide free school meals to P1-P3 pupils by August 2010.
  • We will increase availability and usage of money advice services and ensure they are appropriately targeted at and accessible to people from minority ethnic and faith communities, for example by being Sharia compliant for Muslims who seek it.
  • For the first time, all young people will be taught how to manage their money and understand their finances as a result of Curriculum for Excellence. To ensure that teachers are adequately supported to deliver financial education the Scottish Government will provide additional support and funding to the Scottish Centre for Financial Education.
  • There is strong evidence that problems with health, employment, housing or in the family put people at risk of falling into poverty, and can trigger further problems. Carefully targeted advice and representation can prevent this happening. We will work with advice providers and the Scottish Legal Aid Board to better integrate and so improve advice and support for people at risk of poverty.
  • The Scottish Government and COSLA will carefully consider the recommendations of the short life working group on the School Clothing Grant.
  • The findings of recent research carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government into the experience of poverty in rural areas and how that may differ from the experience in urban areas will be useful for service providers, including local authorities. We will publish that research and arrange an event at which we can share findings with relevant partners.

iv. Making the Benefits and Tax Credits system work better for Scotland

In the Government Economic Strategy, the Scottish Government pledged that it will continue to make the case for Scotland to have fuller, and eventually full, responsibility for personal taxation and benefits, to allow the development of approaches that better fit with Scottish circumstances. Over the months and years ahead, therefore, the Government will make the case for a benefits and tax credits system which provides security of income, supports transition to employment and allows those who cannot work to live with dignity.

The Scottish Government and Scotland's local authorities believe that Scotland's benefits, tax credits and employment support systems must act to protect our people from poverty and help them fulfil their potential. Irrespective of the administrative arrangement governing tax and benefits, the following key principles must guide benefits and tax credits policy if poverty and income inequalities in Scotland are to be eradicated:

  • Individuals must have a strong degree of confidence around the security of their income. This means that the benefits system must be fair, transparent and sympathetic to the challenges faced by people living in poverty.
  • The benefits, tax credits and employment support systems must work in harmony to support those who are capable of pulling themselves out of poverty through work. The financial benefits of working for those who can work must be significant, sustained and clearly signposted.
  • Successful transitions into employment should never be undermined by financial uncertainty. This means that the system of transitional support must be transparent, responsive, quick and effective.
  • For some, work is not possible. It is essential that the benefits system does not relegate such people to a life of disadvantage, financial uncertainty and poverty. Benefits must provide a standard of living which supports dignity, freedom and social unity. This must include female pensioners disadvantaged under the current system for time spent caring for dependents.
  • The administration of benefits and tax credits should be as swift, streamlined and customer focused as possible to avoid administrative complexity leading to confusion and uncertainty about entitlement and support, particularly where individuals are trying to make a successful transition back into work.

What more we will do:

To make the benefits and tax credits system work better for Scotland's people, we will:

  • Seek to establish a high-level biennial meeting involving Scottish Ministers, COSLA leaders and Ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions, to examine ways of developing and co-ordinating policies that will work in the best interests of Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government will work in 2009 to develop these principles in the context of the National Conversation, and will present a range of policy options for tackling poverty and income inequality in the event of additional fiscal autonomy or independence.
  • Scottish Government and partners will encourage local DWP officials to engage in each of Scotland's Community Planning Partnerships, in line with current best practice.

v. Supporting partners and engaging wider society

We can only deliver significant and lasting improvements to the lives of those experiencing poverty through collective action with all parts of Scottish society playing a role. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our partners in local government and the public sector, but also wider civic society in Scotland, to reduce poverty and income inequality in Scotland.

Support for Community Planning Partnerships

Community Planning is a process which helps public agencies to work together with the community to plan and deliver better services which make a real difference to people's lives. Community Planning Partnerships ( CPPs) have been formed across the country to deliver these benefits. Those partnerships were clear in their response to our consultation that the Scottish Government needs to provide them with more guidance on how to tackle poverty and income inequality in their local areas through a Framework such as this one.

The Scottish Government will respond to CPP requests that we provide more information and support to their local level planning efforts, by:

  • Developing an online Tackling Poverty Toolkit in 2009 which will set out the national context within which CPPs' work will take place; a series of policy papers setting out the evidence of what works; links to the available data and guidance on interpretation; and a library of best practice examples of successful interventions.
  • Establishing learning networks in 2009 to support CPPs to access expertise on community regeneration and tackling poverty.
  • Work with the EHRC and COSLA to provide guidance to CPPs on equalities issues, including legal obligations and Equality Impact Assessments.
  • Recent guidance for CPPs on preparing SOAs provides advice to CPPs on how this Framework and its sister documents can support their SOAs, and stresses the importance of tracking inequalities on a cross-cutting theme for all SOAs.

Learning from our neighbours

Respondents to our consultation were impressed by those countries which have managed to combine economic growth with lower levels of poverty and income inequality, for example Finland and Norway. The Scottish Government will develop stronger links with all levels of government and public services in these countries and use the resultant learning. The Scottish Government and COSLA will also do more to engage with and learn from the European Anti-Poverty Network.

Supporting the Third Sector

The Third Sector can play an important role in connecting with individuals and communities. Social enterprise can create opportunities for employment and income in areas where the private sector might not choose to operate. The third sector is a key partner, bringing experience of practical issues and multiple and complex need to the design of public services, particularly through their contribution to Community Planning.

We will provide training and funding to support the Third Sector in their contribution to tackling poverty and income inequality. To support the creation of the right environment for growth the Scottish Government has announced that it will:

  • Provide training for public sector purchasers to help open all markets to the third sector;
  • Invest £30 million in the Scottish Investment Fund. This will support enterprise in the Third Sector through strategic investment in individual organisations in combination with integral business support and management development.
  • Invest in a £12 million Third Sector Enterprise Fund aimed at building capacity, capability and financial sustainability in the Third Sector.
  • Provide funding, through Firstport, for social entrepreneurs to establish new social enterprises.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to support the social economy to increase access to affordable credit and other services offered by Third Sector financial services.
  • The Scottish Government and COSLA will work to ensure the structured engagement of the community and voluntary sector with local authorities and the Scottish Government. This will complement existing work to improve the engagement of Third Sector organisations with CPPs.

It is critical that the Third Sector contribution to Community Planning is strengthened - that its voice is heard as SOAs are developed.

Community empowerment

We are working with the Third Sector to identify ways we can provide greater support to communities, allowing them to make change happen on their own terms. By harnessing their energy and creativity to identify solutions to local challenges and by giving them responsibility for delivering that change, we can make a lasting impact on poverty and income inequality.

  • The Scottish Government and COSLA, will publish a community empowerment action plan by April 2009, building on the learning from the use of the National Standards for Community Engagement.

The Private Sector

The Private Sector must play a key role if we are to successfully reduce income inequalities and tackle poverty in Scotland. Regeneration and economic development are dependent on the contribution of this sector.

Private Sector involvement in CPPs must be strengthened. This will allow perspectives and experiences from this sector of the community to be more widely heard than they have in the past.

  • The Scottish Government will seek to further engage the Private Sector in delivering Solidarity at the national level through the work of the National Economic Forum in 2009.
  • COSLA will work in 2009 with national representative business organisations to investigate how businesses can be better engaged in the CPP process in all parts of Scotland.

Monitoring progress

The success of the Framework should be judged by the extent to which it influences investment decisions and action in all parts of the public sector in Scotland, and engages with and supports action by other parts of Scottish society.

Information on becoming involved in local CPPs for individuals, businesses and the Third Sector can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/localgov/cpsg-00.asp and at Scotland's Community Planning website: http://www.improvementservice.org.uk/community-planning

Citizens in Scotland will be able to track progress on poverty and inequality at a national level through the Scotland Performs website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/scotPerforms/performance

The Scottish Government will consider with COSLA how The Poverty Alliance's National Forum can be best used to inform the national debate on progress with poverty and inequality.

National Outcomes and Indicators

Progress against the National Outcomes we have agreed with our partners, for example:

"We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society."

Can be tracked through our basket of National Indicators, and local indicators adopted by CPPs. Those National Indicators include the following which are relevant to efforts to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland:

  • Improve people's perceptions of the quality of public services delivered;
  • Increase the proportion of school leavers (from Scottish publicly funded schools) in positive and sustained destinations ( FE, HE, employment or training);
  • Increase the proportion of schools receiving positive inspection reports;
  • Reduce the number of working age people with severe literacy and numeracy problems;
  • Decrease the proportion of individuals living in poverty;
  • 60% of school children in primary 1 will have no signs of dental disease by 2010;
  • Increase the proportion of pre-school centres receiving positive inspection reports;
  • Increase the social economy turnover;
  • Increase the average score of adults on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale by 2011;
  • Increase Healthy Life Expectancy at birth in the most deprived areas;
  • Reduce alcohol related hospital admissions by 2011;
  • Reduce mortality from coronary heart disease among the under 75s in deprived areas;
  • All unintentionally homeless households will be entitled to settled accommodation by 2012;
  • Reduce overall reconviction rates by two percentage points by 2011;
  • Increase the rate of new housebuilding.

Local partners have also developed a range of relevant local indicators as part of the first Single Outcome Agreement process. These include:

  • Reduce work-related benefit claimants per 1,000 of the population;
  • Reduce under-16-year-old pregnancies per 1,000;
  • Increase percentage of adults rating neighbourhood as 'very good' or 'fairly good';
  • Increase percentage of social housing above quality standard;
  • Reduce percentage of children in benefit dependent households;
  • Increase number of affordable homes.

These indicators and others give us a strong platform from which to observe progress and drive change. Reducing poverty and inequality will support a narrowing of the gap in outcomes between the poorest and most affluent members of society across a range of areas - including health, education - but it must also be driven by a narrowing of that gap. We will therefore continue to work with our partners, including the Improvement Service, to develop indicators which drive improvements fastest for our most deprived citizens.

Information on each Local Authority's Single Outcome Agreement can be found at: http://www.improvementservice.org.uk/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,43/task,cat_view/gid,561/

Copies of this Framework are available from;

Nicole Ronald
Scottish Government - Tackling Poverty Team
Area 2F (South)
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

0131 244 0064

nicole.ronald@scotland.gsi.gov.uk