Allotments Tripartite meeting minutes: May 2017

Minutes from the Allotments Tripartite meeting held on 18 May 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Amanda Fox (Chair, Scottish Government)
  • Robin MacLean (Note, Scottish Government)
  • Alexander Paterson
  • Neil McAteer
  • Ian Welsh
  • Judy Wilkinson
  • Alison Swanson


  • Peter Duncan
  • Mark Thirgood
  • Ian Woolard

Items and actions

1. Introduction

1.1. Amanda Fox welcomed the group and went through housekeeping and introductions.

2. Previous minutes and actions

2.2. Minutes from the previous meeting were accepted. Amanda Fox brought the group up-to-date on the status of the actions from the previous meeting. (Outstanding Action 1: Peter Duncan to update group on food-growing-strategy work; outstanding Action 2: Robin MacLean to invite Kristen Anderson to the next Tripartite Group meeting).

3. Scottish Government update

3.1. Amanda Fox gave an update on the organisational changes to the Food & Drink Division; the Division has joined the Economic Development Directorate and has been renamed “the Food, Drink & Trade Division” under Deputy Director George Burgess. It was confirmed that Roseanna Cunningham still maintains portfolio responsibility for Grow-Your-Own.

3.2. Amanda Fox gave some context behind the restructuring exercise and talked about how the food and drink sector has a key role in contributing to sustainable economic growth (and so is a key priority to the Scottish Government); as such the Good Food Nation policy has moved to Economy.

3.3. A discussion took place about Single Outcomes Agreements (SOAS) and their interaction with the National Performance Framework. AF agreed to issue further details about this to include Local Outcome Improvement Plans (LOIP) (Action 1: Amanda Fox to send Robin MacLean information on LOIP).

3.4. Amanda Fox left the meeting and Robin MacLean took-over as chair.

3.5. Robin MacLean gave an update on the work around drafting the guidance document; as not all groups had contributed to the exercise, the document was yet to be fully completed. IW explained that he and Peter Duncan were struggling to find a date to meet in order to collaborate on a return (Action 2: Ian Welsh & Peter Duncan to meet to discuss their work).

3.6. A brief discussion took place about SG’s work on food-growing-strategies (FGS). Robin MacLean agreed to circulate the FGS report from the Grow-Your-Own-Working-Group event in September 2016 (Action 3: Robin MacLean to circulate report). The group heard that Scottish Government has arranged a national conference, specifically aimed at local authorities, in order to update them on FGS work (including a discussion on Peter Duncan FGS template). Robin MacLean confirmed that the Tripartite Group will also be issued with Peter Duncan template in due course.

3.7. Alison Swanson was concerned that some local authorities were not including the relevant stakeholders, such as plot holders, in their FGS discussions. Ian Welsh emphasised the need for a bottom-up approach to the development of local authority FGSs. Robin MacLean told the Group that he will use the SG/LA FGS conference to bring such issues to the attention of LAs.

3.8. There was a theoretical discussion around communities using Asset Transfer to acquire LA allotment sites and the issue of these subsequently not being covered by Part 9 of the CEA. A suggestion was made that using an “Asset Lock” clause could ensure that allotment sites are protected from becoming anything other in the future. Robin MacLean explained that he did not have responsibility for Asset Transfer but would happily send information to relevant colleagues (Action 4: Judy Wilkinson to email Robin MacLean with details of the issue and proposed way forward).

3.9. A discussion ensued on potential issues around leases, with Judy Wilkinson suggesting a national template be developed, possibly for inclusion in local authority guidance. (Action 5: Judy Wilkinson to send Robin MacLean a model lease template for consideration).

3.10. Robin MacLean finished the SG update by answering a question put to him from Mark Thirgood prior to the meeting: What is the Scottish Government going to do to ensure that LAs honour their obligations under the CEA? Robin MacLean confirmed that the provision of allotments is a service provided by a local authority and, as such, if an individual has a complaint about how a local authority provides any of its services, including allotments, they should in the first instance contact the relevant local authority using the authority’s procedure for complaint. If, after following this procedure, the individual is unhappy with the response from the local authority, they can take their complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO): Robin MacLean explained that the SPSO is the final stage for complaints about councils, the National Health Service, housing associations, colleges and universities, prisons, most water providers, the Scottish Government and its agencies and departments and most Scottish authorities.

3.11. Alison Swanson raised the issue that the SSPO does not have jurisdiction on devolved management sites. A discussion was had on how best to protect plot holders on devolved sites, with a suggestion that local authorities might act as arbiters. There was another suggestion that, going forward, local authorities should ensure groups wishing to take-over management of sites are fully incorporated.

4. Group updates

4.1. Ian Welsh gave an update on the SG funded SAGS project “Galvanising Grass Roots”; a document containing 7 case studies on how individuals can obtain a site. SAGS is keen that dissemination is carried-out as widely as possible. The meeting heard that SAGS would like further SG funding to produce a guidance document (contents TBC) for plot holders (Action 6: Judy Wilkinson to send funding proposal to Robin MacLean).

4.2. Neil McAteer informed the group that he has newly been appointed the senior planner for the Isle of Arran and is keen to see how allotments and growing spaces are being developed there.

4.3. Alexander Paterson updated the group on work of Glasgow City Council; Glasgow is currently focussing attention on improving existing sites rather than developing new sites at this stage. Alexander Paterson was happy to announce an additional resource in the form of Ken Harris to look specifically at developing the City’s food-growing-strategy.

5. AOB

5.1. There was no AOB to discuss.

6. Date of next meeting

6.1. Robin MacLean to send Doodle Poll for next meeting.

Summary of action points:

  • Action 1: Information on Single Outcome Agreements and Local Outcome Improvement Plans - Amanda Fox

Since December 2016, community planning arrangements, in their broadest sense, ie the needs & opportunities identified in the area - have been governed by Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

The Act gives community planning a statutory purpose focused on public sector bodies working together and with local communities on improving outcomes and reducing inequalities of outcome on local priorities. It introduces specific duties for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) around this, focused on securing community participation, planning for better local outcomes and reporting to local communities on progress. This includes agreeing Local Outcome Improvement Plans (LOIPs), and also locality plans for smaller communities in their area which experience the poorest outcomes. The new LOIPs replace SOAs.

Community planning should focus on where public sector partner bodies’ collective efforts can add most value for their local communities on locally identified priorities, with particular emphasis on reducing inequalities. The CPP should have a clear and ambitious vision for its local area. This should focus community planning on a small number of local priorities where the CPP will add most value as a partnership – in particular by improving outcomes for its most vulnerable communities and moderating future demand for crisis services.

CPPs don’t deliver anything themselves. The Act introduces specific duties on public sector bodies (such as local authorities, NHS boards, integration joint boards, Scottish Enterprise/HIE) to make effective community planning happen. This includes:

  • Providing resources to deliver CPP priorities, and to secure participation of community bodies, particularly those representing groups who experience disadvantage.
  • Working collaboratively in carrying out community planning
  • Taking account of CPP plans in carrying out their own functions.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires that local outcomes which CPPs prioritise must be consistent with National Outcomes in the National Performance Framework. However, because they’re locally tailored, they need not be identical to any National Outcome. And, because the work of CPPs should be targeted to a reasonably small number of priority themes, there’s no expectation that CPPs contribute to all the National Outcomes in their work.

  • Action 2: Discuss their work as part of the group exercise for drafting guidance - Ian Welsh & Peter Duncan

  • Action 3: Circulate the Food-Growing-Strategy report from the Grow-Your-Own-Working-Group event in September 2016 - Robin MacLean

  • Action 4: Provided Robin MacLean with details of the issue with Asset Transfer/Lock and proposed way forward - Judy Wilkinson

  • Action 5: Send Robin MacLean a model lease template for consideration - Judy Wilkinson

Amanda Fox highlighted The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens guide from a number of years ago which perhaps could be updated.

  • Action 6: Send funding proposal for SAGS project to Robin MacLean - Judy Wilkinson



Telephone: 0300 244 9574

Scottish Government
Food, Drink and Trade
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

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