Focusing Our Interventions
"Much of the regional/economic regeneration policy in the past has been applied to depressed and marginalised areas. What is required now is the need for a balance of investment in all areas - both weak and strong - aimed at promoting overall sustainable economic growth"
Discussion paper response
43. The regeneration vision and the associated supporting outcomes apply to all of Scotland's communities. However, some communities and people need additional support in order to become economically, physically and socially sustainable. Often this is in places in need of physical renewal and which underperform economically; in town centres in need of revitalisation; and in communities where there are significant issues across a range of social and economic indicators, including poor health and education outcomes, and high levels of crime, poverty and worklessness.
44. The nature and scale of regeneration interventions will be different in different areas. The type of intervention needed will vary depending on local circumstances. As set out in the Government Economic Strategy, the Scottish Government will continue to support sustainable economic growth and sustainable communities across Scotland through a wide range of interventions, ranging from large scale development focussed on economic opportunity to more localised activity intended to address needs, by tackling ingrained issues.
45. We need to maximise the potential from opportunity whilst also addressing local need. It is important that this approach is also adopted at a local level in order for all of Scotland's communities to realise their potential and to benefit from and contribute to sustainable economic growth.
46. It is generally recognised that applying a label to a community as 'deprived/disadvantaged/fragile' can have a negative and stigmatising effect. However, it is still necessary to understand the varying needs of communities in order for an appropriate response to be developed. A number of tools can help with this, including the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD), levels of vacant and derelict land and property, and worklessness statistics.
47. At a national level, the Scottish Government will continue to use a range of evidence to shape decisions about where future funding and interventions will be focussed. Local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships ( CPPs) should also use the evidence available to understand the different needs of local communities and to determine what additional support is required to be put in place to address those needs through local economic development and regeneration activities. They should also consult and involve local people themselves to better understand the dynamics of how communities work.
48. It is important that, whilst understanding where additional support needs exist, our collective focus is not on the deficits of an area but rather the assets that communities have. To support communities to be sustainable we must identify the assets that exist - economic, physical and social - and use these assets to deliver sustainable, positive change. An asset-based approach will also help to overcome stigmatisation and will support communities to have a positive identify in the future.
49. In simple terms we should ask 'what makes this place good and where do the opportunities lie' and 'what expertise and skills do local people have' instead of labelling particular areas and people as 'a problem'.
"The deep seated social problems in the most disadvantaged areas need to be extended beyond those identified by SIMD. It is considered that a prevention and early intervention model needs to be developed within every local authority in Scotland focusing on individuals, families and households and places at risk."
Discussion paper response
50. Focusing national and local resources on securing the sustainability of Scotland's communities not only helps to tackle deprivation and reverse decline, but also plays a key part in ensuring that communities are resilient. In turn this can reduce the need for regeneration in the future and helps support sustainable economic growth for the whole of Scotland.
51. Investing in the sustainability of communities and in early years support can also reduce pressures on associated budgets such as health, crime and other social issues. Spend from such mainstream budgets tends to be much higher in disadvantaged areas as they deal with the effects of deprivation across a wide range of negative outcomes. Effectively reducing or tackling these negative outcomes should correlate with a reduction in spend on mainstream services. It is right that mainstream budgets should include a focus on tackling disadvantage as they will benefit in the long term.
52. The relationship between the physical environment and effects on the health of Scotland's people is currently being considered as part of the Scottish Government's Good Places Better Health ( GPBH) initiative. This initiative takes a new approach to the traditional environment and health agenda and critically focuses on health promoting environments and links to the health inequalities agenda.
53. The complex, interlinking and multi faceted set of influences on health are now accepted: people's social, economic, cultural and environmental circumstances all conspire to raise or lower their chances of good health. Therefore, solving the intractable health problems that Scotland faces requires a package of preventative measures within which actions on environment and place are key components. The prototype phase of GPBH has enabled the identification of aspects of place that are particularly important to children and which will support the development of healthy, happy resilient people. Although GPBH cannot in isolation solve children's health issues its outputs and outcomes are potentially a crucial part of a wider preventative strategy with a focus on improving early years experience.
54. The Glasgow Community Health and Wellbeing Research and Learning Programme (GoWell) is investigating the impact of investment in housing, regeneration and neighbourhood renewal on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities over a ten-year period. The programme aims to establish the nature and extent of these impacts, to learn about the relative effectiveness of different approaches, and to inform policy and practice in Scotland and beyond.
55. An important aspect of creating health-nurturing environments is ensuring that everyone has access to high quality greenspace for health and recreation. Research has shown that access to good quality natural environments can have a strong positive influence on health and health inequalities. The Central Scotland Green Network ( CSGN) aims to transform the environment of the central belt, in particular our most deprived communities, and one of the CSGN ambitions is to ensure that everyone has access to attractive, well maintained greenspace within walking distance of their home.
56. By tackling crime we improve the lives of victims, their families and the communities in which they live. By working with offenders we can turn lives around to make a positive contribution. And by reducing the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour we help build and sustain strong, resilient communities, in which people can thrive and reach their potential.
57. Tackling the underlying causes of crime calls for a broader and longer term approach - addressing the challenges of drink, drugs, violence and deprivation that blight parts of Scotland. We know that some children are at greater risk of becoming offenders because of the circumstances into which they are born. These risks can be reduced by effective intervention, equipping parents and young people to make good choices and offering positive alternatives to offending. These need to be alternatives which will create a sustainable, more cohesive society where everyone can take advantage of the opportunities available and enjoy a better quality of life.
58. The Scottish Government is taking forward a range of measures in partnership with stakeholders including through our antisocial behaviour strategy Promoting Positive Outcomes and the £32 million investment to support the delivery of the national drugs recovery strategy A Road to Recovery.
59. Supporting a broad range of outcomes, the CashBack for Communities programme takes the ill-gotten gains of crime, recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them into community programmes, facilities and activities. Over £44 million has been invested in this way, allowing more than 600,000 young Scots to participate in a wide range of activities. CashBack invests in young people and the communities they live in to help them prosper, flourish and contribute positively to society.
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