Building Community Wealth in Scotland: consultation analysis

Independent consultation analysis report of the Community Wealth Building legislation consultation.

2. General advancement of the CWB approach

The consultation paper explains that the Scottish Government wishes to explore which new powers, abilities and duties will enable local authorities, public bodies, wider community planning partners and Regional Economic Partnerships to have more individual and collective influence in taking action to support CWB in their local area or region.

One proposal is introducing a new CWB duty, with the following three options given:

  • Option A: a duty requiring Scottish Ministers and prescribed public sector bodies to embed the CWB model of economic development into their corporate plans and wider strategies.
  • Option B: a duty requiring those public sector bodies statutorily obliged to be involved in community planning to produce a collective CWB place-based strategy and action plan which contains specific actions across the five CWB pillars to advance the CWB model of economic development in their local authority area. This requirement could be taken forward at a regional level if neighbouring local authorities and their community planning partners have a preference for that approach.
  • Option C: a combined option – featuring a union of both options set out above.

Question 1(a): We are proposing a duty to advance Community Wealth Building. Which form do you think this duty should take?

The first question asked which form any CWB duty should take. Responses to Question 1(a) by respondent type are set out in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Question 1(a)
Option A Option B Option C Other No duty Total
Community development organisation or company 2 25 1 28
Housing organisation 2 1 3
Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP 4 4 10 7 4 29
Policy development, research or think tank 6 1 7
Political party, union or lobby group 1 4 5
Private sector company 1 4 1 1 7
Professional or representative body 1 2 4 7
Public body 4 2 8 4 1 19
Voluntary or not-for-profit sector 2 26 2 30
Total organisations 11 12 89 15 8 135
% of organisations 8% 9% 66% 11% 6%
Individuals 1 6 20 4 6 37
% of individuals 3% 16% 54% 11% 16%
All respondents 12 18 109 19 14 172
% of all respondents 7% 10% 63% 11% 8%

Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding

A majority of respondents, 63% of those answering the question, favoured the combined approach, Option C. Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP and Public body respondents were the only groups in which a majority did not favour Option C.

In terms of the other options, the remaining respondents were relatively evenly divided, with 7% preferring Option A, 10% Option B and 11% the 'Other' option. Those favouring no duty tended to be either Individual or Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP respondents.

Please provide a reason for your answer.

Around 170 respondents made a comment. The analysis presented here focuses specifically on whether there should be a duty and, if so, the general parameters of that duty. Other issues, including the types of policy and approach that should or could support effective CWB in Scotland, are picked up at Question 2 onwards.

Whether a duty is needed

In addition to comments on the form of a duty, some respondents made general comments in support of or opposition to a duty being introduced. Points made in support included that a duty would be a powerful statement of support for the CWB approach, would help embed CWB in policies, plans and strategies and would be a pre-requisite to delivering the practical and cultural change necessary to make CWB a mainstream function. (The benefits of a duty, including in relation to the specific options set out, are covered further below).

Other respondents, primarily those who had selected the 'No duty' option at the closed question, questioned whether a duty should be introduced. The most frequently raised issue was that some local authorities are already advancing with action plans and CWB activity without being placed under a specific duty. For example, one Local Authority respondent reported that they support the principle and implementation of CWB as an inclusive approach to economic development and have made related commitments in their Economy Strategy and Business Plan. They also noted that recent partnership work has demonstrated the potential benefits of building approaches in close collaboration between anchor organisations across their area.

The associated suggestion was that work already being undertaken demonstrates the progress that local bodies can make without the need of a formal duty, and that such a duty is not clearly required at this time to meet the objectives set out in the consultation paper.

In terms of how CWB could be progressed other than through a duty, there was also a view that the best way forward lies with encouraging an inclusive approach, including participation from private and community sector anchor organisations and networks. It was suggested that a flexible approach, in line with the 'Place Principle', could help empower smaller, local scale community initiatives, as well as broader cross-region collaborations. There was also a call to review the existing landscape of obligations, including legislation and other formal frameworks, to identify where CWB opportunities could be integrated into existing systems. It was thought that this approach would be likely to prevent unintended consequences and simplify the policy landscape by building upon existing frameworks. It was also seen as having the potential to minimise additional strain on resources.

Other suggestions for supporting and encouraging CWB without the introduction of a new duty included empowering local areas, including by removing barriers and building on good practice. It was suggested that expansion of the powers available to local government, additional guidance and sign posting would be the better way forward and would allow for maximum flexibility to be retained and without the risk of undermining the bottom-up approach which has delivered benefits.

Some of those who did not favour the introduction of a duty also commented on the resource implications, both of a duty and delivering CWB more widely. This was also an issue raised by many who did support the introduction of a duty and is discussed further below.

Reasons for favouring Option C

Amongst those who did support the introduction of a duty, Option C was the most favoured, with overarching comments including that it would help ensure CWB has the optimum opportunity to enable a transformative impact on local economies across Scotland.

Drawing on recent experience

Those favouring Option C included a small number of respondents, including Local Authority and Public body respondents, who noted that the combined approach reflects the approach already being taken in their area. For example, one Local Authority respondent reported that they are broadly delivering Option C at present, through a Council CWB Strategy and in collaboration with regional partners via the CWB Commission. They reported that the CWB Commission partners include: the Councils for the region; the NHS; local colleges; Scottish Enterprise; Police Scotland; Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; and a Community Trust.

Others noted that their CWB experience to date suggests that Option C would be the best way forward. For example, a Local authority respondent reported that, as a pilot area for the implementation and embedding of CWB in the locality, they considered that incorporating both Options A and B would be the most appropriate for any duty that may be devised. They reported that, through their Community Planning Partnership structures, they work with a range of public, private and voluntary service partners and that, whilst the wider work undertaken to date has been taken forward without a formal duty, the prospect of a duty is one that would ensure partners, Council and Government could be encouraged to continue to engage with CWB.

Benefits of including Option A

A number of those favouring Option C referred to aspects of Option A that they saw as bringing value. This was most frequently that it is in line with current arrangements in many areas, and thus would avoid duplication of CWB initiatives and would utilise existing strategic partnerships to best effect.

In terms of maximising the impact of a duty, it was suggested that embedding the model into corporate plans and wider strategies should ensure a clear focus on CWB-related activity, and that this should be required of local authorities and other anchor bodies. Other comments or suggestions included that:

  • Option A alone would run the risk of silo-based working, but that being accompanied by the requirements under Option B should help avoid this.
  • Given that many anchor organisations, such as Health Boards and some public food contractors, work at a regional level, there should also be a requirement for regional collaboration.
  • The proposed duty needs to be both proportionate in terms of accounting for the functions of specific public bodies, and flexible in terms of its application. One size will not necessarily fit all in this regard.

There was also support for a duty that explicitly references Scottish Ministers, and it was suggested that Scottish Government departments engaging collectively across portfolios will be key to advancing CWB. Placing a duty on Ministers was seen as implying that the Scottish Government must lead from the front to demonstrate the importance and priority of CWB.

Benefits of including Option B

The most-frequently highlighted benefit that respondents anticipated was that the Option B component would help create buy-in and would ensure collective action. A broad range of respondents, including Local Authority, Public body and Community development respondents had this expectation.

Potential benefits identified included that mandating public sector bodies to collaborate to produce a collective action plan will or may:

  • Bring scale and impact.
  • Help embed the message that CWB economic activity is a statutory requirement and the responsibility of all.
  • Be a positive force for attracting more resources, particularly if applied collectively across local authority and public sector bodies. It was hoped that it could yield greater leverage, increased opportunities and maximisation of assets.
  • Potentially help deliver a regional approach where this is required; for example, a Public body respondent commented that within National Parks there are opportunities to combine this approach to CWB with the legislative requirement on National Park Authorities to prepare a National Park Partnership Plan and on other public bodies to ensure they help deliver the Plan.
  • Offer a 'shortcut' to the engagement stage.

Reflecting comments made in relation to Option A, it was suggested that to best ensure the involvement of local communities, business and the third sector in the implementation of the duty, local authorities can utilise existing networks. In particular, it was reported that local authorities often have good working relationships with their Third Sector Interface (TSI), so would be able to involve the third sector in the implementation of the duty.

Reasons for favouring Option A

Those who favoured Option A tended to make very similar points to those raised by those who agreed that a duty to embed the CWB model of economic development into corporate plans and wider strategies should form part of Option C.

Option A was described as a pragmatic and proportional approach, as offering a degree of continuity, and as creating less potential complexity, including because prescribed bodies should be able to embed the CWB model of economic development into their corporate plans and wider strategies. In terms of links to particular agendas and requirements, Place Planning work and Economic Strategies were referenced.

Other advantages identified included that:

  • Specifying which public bodies are subject to the duty ensures that responsibility rests on each organisation and clarifies the expectation that each should play its part to advance CWB.
  • It should create minimal disruption to current reporting arrangements, and would make reporting, accountability and associated supporting actions easier to implement and track.

There were also a small number of comments about why respondents favoured Option A only (i.e. did not also support the inclusion of Option B to form Option C). These included that public sector organisations operate with differing remits and geographies, and an overly prescriptive approach is likely to become a burden rather than a useful enabler of change.

There was also reference to Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, which sets out a requirement to develop Outcome Improvement Plans; it was suggested that Option B comes with a risk of undermining or duplicating parts of the Act. It was also suggested that this consultation would have benefited from:

  • Referencing the parliamentary inquiry looking at the future of community planning.
  • Considering the opportunities that a strengthened Community Empowerment Act could realise.

A Public body respondent that works across many local authority areas noted that while Option B would be less manageable for them, Option A would make reporting, accountability and associated supporting actions easier to implement and track. Another Public body noted that some public sector bodies may not easily engage with the process, particularly if they are not resourced to participate in the Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) of all 32 local authority areas.

Reasons for favouring Option B

General reasons given for supporting Option B included that CWB needs to be locally led and place based, rather than driven by high level corporate planning, and that Option B would establish the community's right to have their views taken on board.

It was thought that the approach will help to ensure buy-in from across different sectors and groups to the long-term commitment to CWB whilst retaining flexibility, tailored to local needs and opportunities. There were calls for a bottom-up approach that considers the needs of the local community and businesses. It was also suggested that significant consultation should be undertaken when creating strategies.

Other reasons given for favouring Option B included that:

  • Communities and businesses will want to become involved if the strategy is relevant to them. The benefits of the approach for different groups and communities should be the focus of engagement.
  • It is essential that the Government and the private sector work in partnership to deliver the most coherent and aligned version of CWB.

In terms of taking Option B forward, it was suggested that the Community Empowerment Act could be amended to incorporate a duty to plan, deliver and promote CWB.

Respondents who favoured Option B tended not to comment on Option A or explain why they did not also favour a duty requiring Scottish Ministers and prescribed public sector bodies to embed the CWB model of economic development into their corporate plans and wider strategies.

Which bodies should be covered by the proposals?

A number of respondents (almost exclusively those favouring Option C) made suggestions around the bodies that should be covered by a duty, including that public sector organisations, businesses, third sector organisations and community groups all have an important role to play.

In terms of types of partnership or organisation, suggestions included the bodies covered currently by the Fairer Scotland Duty or, as a minimum, the same 'Relevant Authorities' as defined by the Community Empowerment Act. In addition to local authorities, specific types of body referenced included:

  • CPPs and all local and regional community planning partners
  • Local Authority Arm's-Length External Organisations
  • Health Boards
  • Health and Social Care Partnerships or the Integration Joint Board for the area
  • Enterprise agencies
  • Strategic Development Planning Authorities
  • Transport Partnerships, such as NESTRANS
  • Regional strategic bodies under the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005
  • Universities and colleges, including regional colleges
  • Registered Social Landlords (RSLs)
  • Green Freeport Authorities (once established)
  • Public Sector Pension Schemes
  • Community Councils
  • TSIs
  • Local Development Trusts
  • Any other anchor bodies.

There were also references to certain types of businesses, including:

  • National forest management companies
  • Renewable energy businesses, including on and offshore windfarms.

In terms of specific organisations, there was a call for a clear list of organisations who are bound by a CWB duty together with clear expectations of the requirements of the duty and whether requirements are different for some organisations. Suggestions for the organisations that could or should be on that list included:

  • Business Gateway
  • Crofting Commission
  • Drinking Water Quality Regulator
  • Education Scotland
  • Forest and Land Scotland
  • Heat and Energy Efficiency Scotland
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Independent Living Fund Scotland
  • Marine Scotland
  • National Park authorities
  • NatureScot
  • Scottish Charity Regulator
  • Scotland EXCEL
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Scottish Forestry
  • Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB)
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Public Pensions Agency
  • Scottish Road Works Commissioner
  • Scottish Water
  • Sportscotland
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Transport Scotland
  • VisitScotland.

It was recognised that not all organisations will operate within all local authorities, with the associated suggestion that a flexible approach would enable local circumstances to determine which statutory partners need to be involved in the development of a collective CWB strategy.

There was also reference to a number of national agencies which, it was suggested, should have CWB built into their everyday activities including: Scottish Enterprise; Co-operative Development Scotland; and Supplier Development Scotland. In contrast, there were suggestions for organisations that should not be covered by any duty or to whom elements of a duty might not apply. Comments included that:

  • CPPs should be given equal opportunity to engage in the process and should be included in planning stages, but there should be no obligation for them to be involved; this was linked to a view that it is important not to end up with a postcode lottery depending on how good or active a CPP is.
  • The decision-making structures of Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would limit their ability to engage with locally agreed CWB actions.
  • The third sector, including those who volunteer, should not be held accountable under any duty.

Finally, there were suggestions relating to involvement of local communities These included: Community Development Trusts, the Chamber of Commerce or the Federation of Small Businesses.

Inclusive approaches

A number of respondents, from across the range of respondent types, commented on the involvement of local communities, businesses and the third sector. This theme is covered in more detail at Question 2(a), and the commentary below is specific to the duty.

Nature of any requirement

One suggestion was that involvement should come through the proposed partners for delivery of the duty, and that no separate methods or requirements to engage are required. A similar view was that there is probably no need for an additional statutory requirement as local authorities and other public sector bodies already have commitments to involve local communities, businesses and the third sector in development of any new local strategy work.

There was also a suggestion that the statutory obligation should be to 'invite' rather than 'include' business, third sector and communities in the development of a strategy and action plan; it was noted that local authorities are unable to guarantee the level of engagement or participation by others.

An alternative view was that CWB requires community control of the process, so a concerted effort needs to be made to ensure the duty incorporates community engagement. One suggestion was that there should be a statutory requirement to include the third sector and communities in the development of a strategy and action plan.

Effective approaches

In terms of how best to ensure involvement of local communities, businesses, and the third sector in the implementation of the duty, there was a view that for CWB to succeed there needs to be a true spirit of co-operation and partnership between public bodies with a legal responsibility and the wider communities. It was also suggested that any duty should clearly mandate the involvement of communities and the third sector as equal partners in scrutinising policy, devising strategy, planning and delivering CWB.

In terms of how this genuine partnership can be achieved, suggestions included that:

  • Community anchor organisations must be seen as key players in any local anchor networks, not just a token third sector representative.
  • A culture of collaboration and partnership, rather than competition, is required; it was reported that competition for scarce resources between third sector organisations or between the third sector and local authorities, can lead to a culture of competitiveness being embedded.
  • CWB needs to be done by communities for communities; local authorities and other public bodies should act as supportive enablers for communities to generate and retain community 'wealth' from the bottom-up, both for their benefit and the wider public good.
  • It will be important to ensure the involvement of community organisations given their reach into, understanding of, and trusted role in disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Examples cited included development trusts, community food organisations and equality groups.

It was reported that the starting point for engaging with community organisations is to reach them through the various voluntary and community sector network organisations that community organisations are part of. Examples cited included TSIs and local thematic groups – for instance, social enterprise and community-led health networks. It was also noted that national voluntary umbrella organisations and networks are important, with examples cited including the Scottish Community Alliance and national equality networks.

There was also reference to local community development teams, such as those based in local authorities, having a key role, particularly in identifying and supporting involvement of groups in disadvantaged and marginalised communities. However, it was also reported that many community level organisations and local residents shy away from the more traditional and formal approach adopted by the public sector and that an experienced facilitator can hugely assist in encouraging involvement.

In terms of the engagement itself, it was suggested that the National Standards for Community Engagement should be adhered to throughout, and also that the Scottish Government should re-commit to reviewing the relevant legislation so that CPPs become more effective at addressing inequality collectively.

Involving particular groups

Respondents also commented on the importance of ensuring that approaches are inclusive of a broad range of types of people and organisations.

In terms of types of organisations (and in addition to the comments on the third sector above), suggestions included that the Scottish Government could investigate how it can incentivise businesses (particularly large businesses and multinationals) to take part in CWB and interface with local public bodies in the areas in which they are anchor organisations. A specific suggestion was for a Scotland-wide anchor network, with membership of such a network possibly being included in funding criteria for business grants and financial support from the Scottish Government and other key agencies.

There was also reference to the importance of inclusive businesses, such as co-operatives, employee-owned businesses and social enterprises, being involved in local CWB strategies and action plans.

In relation to particular groups of people and members of the community, comments included that the inclusion of women and marginalised groups must be explicitly required.

Accountability for implementation

General comments included that transparency is key to the future of CWB in Scotland and that, if the Scottish Government is serious about mainstreaming CWB principles, it is essential that Scottish Ministers and public sector bodies, both now and for generations to come, are held to account to ensure that happens in practice.

One suggestion was that Scottish Ministers should produce a high-level CWB Statement, similar to the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS) created by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. A similar idea was that, along the lines of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, legislation could include a duty for Ministers to either publish a statement on CWB or to lay a progress report before Parliament at specified points. Further comments included that Ministers should be required to report annually to Parliament on progress within their policy portfolios in relation to implementing CWB principles set out in the Statement.

In terms of other possible routes, and with whom any responsibilities should sit, comments included that the lead organisation with overall responsibility would need to be identified, and that:

  • Responsibility could sit with CPPs.
  • A role for the proposed Future Generations Commissioner could be considered.
  • Consideration should be given to how accountability is extended to the Scottish Government.
  • National bodies and government need to develop processes that can both support and hold local government to account if outcomes are not being met or processes of implementation are not working for local communities.
  • The third sector should have a key role in holding public sector bodies to account in meeting any duties to advance CWB.
  • Accountability should sit at both hyper-local and regional levels to ensure it is responsive and agile enough.

As with other questions, there was also reference to a potential role for a CWB Commission (discussed further at Question 2(a)).

Some respondents also referred to existing reporting mechanisms through which CWB-related progress is already, or could be, channelled. These included:

  • Council's Corporate Performance Monitoring frameworks, committee reports and Procurement Annual Reports.
  • Reporting for the National Performance Framework; this could be done through the addition of specific indicators related to CWB.

Connected to these points was a suggestion that, where possible, any reporting could be incorporated within existing public sector reporting duties rather than adding to the reporting burden.

In terms of new or additional mechanisms, suggestions included:

  • Completion of a self-assessment on annual progress by Councils and submission to ministers for consideration.
  • Allowing anchor organisations to tell the story of CWB implementation, including highlights and areas for improvement.
  • The Scottish Government could commission a review to gather information on how each local authority/public body is delivering CWB; this was compared to the Town Centre Action Plan review.

There was also a call for the method adopted to take account of public bodies' duties in relation to best value and associated auditing requirements (discussed further below).

A number of possible approaches or tools were seen as having the potential to support and assist with ensuring that any approach is effective but also not unnecessarily resource intensive. These included:

  • Utilising the Wellbeing Economy Tool and Monitor.
  • A CWB compliance tool as an addendum to the Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment, which also incorporates the Fairer Scotland Duty and an Island Communities Impact Assessment. It was thought that this would provide a mechanism for organisations to consider projects and policies via a CWB 'lens' and encourage approaches to be designed with CWB in mind.
  • A provision for Scottish Ministers to review progress and bring forward further legislative and non-legislative changes as indicated by the outputs of that review.

A number of respondents referred to the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), with further comments including that they should be:

  • Clearly defined.
  • Taken at specific intervals to provide comparative analysis.
  • Relevant to local areas' activity and outputs; an associated idea was that there could be an agreed long-list of KPIs to enable organisations to select those appropriate to their local context.

There were also some suggestions for the types of KPIs that could be considered, including:

  • % of procurement contracts by value and/or number to organisations that fulfil CWB objectives.
  • % of public contracts to local small businesses.
  • Numbers of new building plots.
  • Hectares of land in community management/control/ownership.

Resourcing effective delivery of a duty

A number of respondents made suggestions or comments about ways in which effective implementation of a CWB duty could be supported. Many of these referred to the resource-implications of introducing a duty, and in particular those relating to Option B, either as a standalone or as a component of Option C. However, some respondents who did not favour a duty, or who selected the 'Other' option at the closed question, also raised resource-related concerns. These included that further investment and resources will be required to effectively scale up and mainstream CWB.

There were calls for any duty to be accompanied by resources to support delivery. It was noted that economic development services are non-statutory provision and face significant resource constraints in the current spending environment; connected to this was a question as to whether CWB legislation will have the effect of making economic development a statutory duty and, if so, how this will be resourced within the current structures of local authorities.

Some suggested that the local authority resources required would be significant, with one Local Authority respondent highlighting the considerable investment that has been required to take forward the CWB agenda in their area. They went on to note that the ability to deliver Option C would be dependent on the continuation of these resources, some of which have included temporary staff posts, but that the capacity of partners to engage would also be key.

In terms of the types of activities that local authorities and other CWB partners would need to resource, there was reference to:

  • Establishing governance systems far beyond those required currently.
  • The need for local co-ordination across various services, including to ensure the maximum benefit and avoid duplication.
  • Ongoing monitoring activities.
  • The need to support organisations that have limited capacity to engage fully in delivery.

With regard to the different types of public bodies involved, there were specific calls for additional resources to Health Boards, in particular to support additional workload across the Board for example CWB programme management and delivery of CWB actions within Procurement, Human Resources and Estates.

Other comments highlighted the need to resource a range of third sector organisations and community-based groups so that they can engage fully with the CWB agenda and duty. Specific suggestions included:

  • More investment in TSIs to run CWB development hubs to drive success and impact.
  • Clear guidelines around the distribution of funding to local community organisations contributing to the CWB agenda.
  • A specific funding system for Community Led Local Development to enhance the capability of communities to own and control assets.

There were also calls for support for social enterprises, co-operatives and other types of business in order to progress CWB objectives. Suggestions included that a specific CWB Fund should be made available to local social enterprises.

Reflecting some of the acknowledged challenges around public funding, a number of alternative funding sources were suggested. This issue is picked up again under the finance pillar.

Best Value

Potential issues around securing best value if local authorities also have overarching CWB duties were raised; it was reported that the requirement for a local authority to make best use of its financial and other resources, and to work with partners to maximise the use of their respective resources, is currently outlined in the Best Value Guidance issued by the Scottish Government under Section 2(1)(a) of the 2003 Local Government in Scotland Act. Suggestions moving forward included:

  • The best value definition should be reviewed and redefined as appropriate, reflecting the principles of CWB.
  • An evaluation tool that provides measurements for different types of CWB outcomes, including socio economic and sustainability outcomes, could be developed.
  • If projects that deliver the greatest CWB outcomes are not the lowest cost option, additional funding could be made available to support these circumstances.

Q1(b): One way Scottish Government could support the implementation of the proposed Community Wealth Building duty is to provide statutory or non-statutory guidance. Would this be helpful to partners in meeting the proposed duty?

Responses to Question 1(b) by respondent type are set out in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Question 1(b)
Yes No Don't know Total
Community development organisation or company 26 1 27
Housing organisation 2 1 3
Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP 25 3 28
Policy development, research or think tank 8 8
Political party, union or lobby group 4 1 5
Private sector company 5 1 6
Professional or representative body 7 7
Public body 17 1 18
Voluntary or not-for-profit sector 24 1 2 27
Total organisations 118 2 9 129
% of organisations 91% 2% 7%
Individuals 24 8 5 37
% of individuals 65% 22% 14%
All respondents 142 10 14 166
% of all respondents 86% 6% 8%

Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding

A substantial majority, 86% of those answering the question, thought guidance would be helpful to partners in meeting the proposed duty.

Please provide a reason for your answer.

Around 155 respondents made a further comment.

The analysis presented here focuses on whether there should be guidance, whether it should be statutory or non-statutory and then its overall focus. Themes relating to policy or legislative priorities that should be reflected in guidance or legislation picked up at subsequent questions.

Advantages of guidance

Reflecting the broad consensus that guidance is required, general comments included that CWB is still a relatively new concept in Scotland, and the legislation will only be successful if it is accompanied by guidance, support and capacity building that allows those public bodies affected by new duties to implement them effectively.

This was connected to duty-bearing public sector partners understanding their responsibilities and people in communities knowing what to expect and what opportunities are, or should be, available to be involved.

Statutory or non-statutory

Around 100 of those commenting made a clear statement as to whether they favoured statutory or non-statutory guidance or a combination of both.

The majority favoured statutory guidance, with Community development and Voluntary sector respondents tending to support this approach, although a range of others, including a small number of Local Authority or Public body respondents, also did so. Those favouring non-statutory guidance were most likely to be Local Authority or Public body respondents while a relatively small group who favoured a mix of statutory and non-statutory guidance spanned a number of different respondent types.


The reasons that respondents gave for preferring statutory guidance included that it would:

  • Give the necessary weight to drive implementation, including by proactively steering key stakeholders towards CWB duties. An associated point was that voluntary guidance is not enough to ensure delivery, particularly given the financial pressures many public bodies are under.
  • Give the CWB duty parity with the guidance provided within the Fairer Scotland Duty.
  • Ensure or promote consistency of approach across Scotland and across disciplines. Also, that it could require local authorities to work together at the regional level.
  • Facilitate integration of CWB into all relevant strategies and policies.

Some of those looking for statutory guidance also noted that it should be supported by a range of non-statutory materials, such as toolkits.


The most frequently given reason for guidance being non-statutory was to better reflect local circumstances and avoid the potential of a one-size-fits-all approach that could come with statutory guidance. It was seen as important to allow local areas the freedom to decide how they implement CWB in a way that is appropriate for them. Further, it was suggested that statutory guidance would restrict an area's ability to adapt delivery to meet local need, and that the non-statutory route sits better with the place-based nature of CWB.

Other reasons why a non-statutory approach was preferred included that:

  • Different partners in the public sector will have diverse duties and influence.
  • It means guidance could develop as we learn and test different approaches; it would be more flexible and adaptive.

Respondents also raised concerns about taking a statutory approach, including that:

  • It implies targets and performance monitoring; this would only be reasonable if additional finances and resources were provided for community planning partners to deliver CWB.
  • Additional bureaucracy or cumbersome reporting can be associated with statutory guidance, and this would be better avoided.

Some of those who did not clearly state whether they supported statutory or non-statutory guidance also referred to it being relatively light touch.


Some respondents favoured a combination of statutory and non-statutory guidance, including that this should depend on the audience and the extent of their participation. It was suggested that while public bodies will be expected to deliver on a statutory basis, it may be more difficult, or less appropriate, for private and third sector partners to be covered by statutory guidance. In fact, there was a concern that this could deter participation and undermine any benefit that a wider duty may provide.

In terms of which types of issues should be covered under the different types of guidance, suggestions included:

  • Statutory guidance on areas of existing policy including procurement, Fair Work and carbon neutrality.
  • Statutory guidance on guidelines for reporting around CWB strategies and action plans. Non-statutory anchor organisations will need guidance on reporting and measuring impact.
  • A review of existing non-statutory guidance to ensure CWB is threaded through policy areas such as town centre regeneration and the shortening of supply chains to support the Just Transition.

There was also a suggestion that 'Implementing Community Wealth Building: A Guide'[1] (from the Economic Development Association Scotland and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies), effectively takes the form of informal guidance, and could be built upon and kept up to date with the addition of emerging good practice and case studies. There was also reference to Scottish Land Commission guidance to support the land and property pillar of Community Wealth Building[2].

It was suggested that further guidance could build on this work and provide clear direction to public bodies on the implementation of their duties. The approach of the LRRS in providing guidance that has statutory underpinning was also highlighted. It was reported that the Scottish Government is considering giving greater statutory weight to the LRRS, and that a similar approach may be helpful in conjunction with a CWB duty.

However, the risk that statutory guidance may lead to bureaucratic overload in the public sector was acknowledged. Nevertheless, it was suggested that, alongside legislation, it may be helpful in clarifying what specific actions the public sector should take in delivering on a public sector duty.

Fit with other legislation, policy and guidance

Connected to a more general theme (covered at the next question) that any CWB measures need to take account of other relevant legislation, policy and practice was the view that any CWB guidance should be well-integrated with other guidance that is already in place. It was suggested that work is required to establish the points at which existing guidance (and duties) touch on CWB approaches and the gaps that could be filled by new statutory or non-statutory guidance.

In terms of specific legislation, strategy, policy or guidance that the CWB guidance would need to consider and work alongside, there was reference to:

  • Child Poverty Action Reports
  • Children's Services Plans
  • Climate Change Action Plans
  • Community Development Plans
  • Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015
  • Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plans
  • Community Learning Plans
  • Energy Strategy
  • Fairer Scotland Duty
  • Fuel Poverty Strategy
  • Good Food Nation Act
  • Good Practice Principles for Community Shared Ownership and Community Benefits Funds
  • Integration of Health and Social Care Plans
  • Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital
  • Just Transition Plans
  • Local Place Plans
  • National Planning Framework (NPF4)
  • National Transport Strategy (NTS2)
  • NHSScotland Property Transaction Handbook
  • Onshore Wind Policy Statement
  • Scottish Government Procurement Policy

Other policy areas referenced included: climate policy, the nature emergency, the circular economy, participatory budgeting, land reform, crofting reform, and agricultural reform.

There was also a suggestion that CWB guidance could be embedded within existing legislation or policy, such as the Sustainable Procurement Duty or the Fair Work First Policy.

Type of guidance

In general terms, respondents were looking for guidance that is simple, clear and accessible as possible; it was noted that the wider community can find formal and lengthy guidance off putting. A specific suggestion was that it could be framed as a 'Handbook on Community Wealth Building' and as relevant to all stakeholders.

There were less-frequent references to the guidance being specific and detailed; it was reported that when the Public Sector Equality Duty guidance was being developed a number of public bodies called for it to be as broad as possible, but that there are now calls for more prescriptive guidance setting out step-by-step processes for meeting the duties.

Working with a range of stakeholders was seen as a way of ensuring that the guidance draws on existing resources and knowledge and meets the needs of a broad range of audiences. It was reported that many anchor organisations have already produced evidence and work that present a range of options and recommendations for a fairer and more sustainable society, and that the CWB guidance should draw on this work, rather than re-inventing the wheel.

There were also references to existing guidance or practice materials in other policy areas that could offer a useful model or ideas. Examples given included the LRRS for private businesses and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It was also suggested that the National Standards for Community Engagement, the Participatory Budgeting Charter, and the Scotland CAN B 'Impact Journey' framework could all be looked at.

Suggestions for the type of content that would be helpful included:

  • Links to resources for deliberative democracy, including citizens' panels, and to tools and resources for supporting communities to organise and have influence, including Scottish Community Development Centre resources such as 'Building Stronger Communities' and the participation request resource pack.
  • Advice, information and practical tools to support key organisations (both anchor organisations and other significant community organisations) to undertake equalities analysis alongside their CWB planning.
  • Good practice examples from Scotland and internationally. In particular, localised case studies as to what CWB means in practice.

Associated with the sharing of good practice was a suggestion for development of networks across Scotland to allow a community of practitioners to come together and share knowledge.

Areas to be covered by the guidance

A general point was that the guidance needs to be sensitive to variations across Scotland, including to different locales, communities and economies.

Respondents also made a range of suggestions relating to the structure of, or themes to be covered in, any guidance. These included:

  • Clear definition of terms used.
  • Key information about anchor organisations: what they are, what role they play, how to identify them, and how to harness their potential in delivering CWB.
  • Defining the role and scope of CWB within the wider national context, for example outlining in which areas and sectors of the economy a local and community-led approach is appropriate and in which areas a more national approach is in the best interest of society.
  • Emphasising CWB's role as an economic development model, drawing out the linkages across CWB pillars and demonstrating the added value of taking a holistic approach to CWB.
  • Making links to a wellbeing economy and providing appropriate definitions of a wellbeing economy.
  • Culture change in the public sector and how this might be achieved.

A number of the suggestions focused on measuring success and compliance. In terms of the guidance itself, it was suggested that the following could be included:

  • The overarching CWB principles as a baseline and then tiered levels of compliance.
  • Proposals for appropriate monitoring frameworks, including both pillar-specific and overarching indicators.
  • Clear and transparent information on who is accountable for delivery and what happens if CWB duties are not delivered.

There was also a call for the creation of a statutory requirement for prescribed public authorities to use the Wellbeing Economy Monitor and Tool in the development of their strategies and plans.

Respondents also highlighted a number of inclusion and partnership-related issues to be covered, including:

  • Emphasising the role of communities in shaping CWB.
  • Guidance and principles for democratic processes in developing CWB plans and policy.
  • Specific measures to ensure that marginalised groups, including women and Black and minority ethnic people, are supported to engage with CWB in their communities.
  • Guidance on how to identify and engage with local businesses and suppliers.
  • Information on the potential value for communities in working with creative organisations and individuals in local areas, to maximise the potential value and benefit from CWB.
  • Specific measures to promote and support volunteering.
  • Encouraging partnership working. There was reference to setting out principles for how different organisations at different levels should be working together.

Some were also looking for guidance on how flexibility and judgement can be exercised and how competing priorities should be balanced. Respondents were looking for:

  • Clear principles for resolving potential trade-offs between different CWB and wellbeing economy goals, for example in situations where there are choices between more environmentally friendly national, and less-environmentally-friendly local options.
  • Information on how and when there is flexibility to tailor approaches to local circumstances, for example how organisations can manage contract arrangements to achieve local community benefit.
  • A non-statutory definition of best value, and non-statutory guidance empowering contracting authorities to take further action on community benefits. Support for local government in transforming the articulation of value to local and regional wellbeing economies and detail on how the multiplier effect of CWB should be quantified.

In relation to the CWB pillars, it was suggested that tailored guidance on each of the 5 pillars would be preferable. These pillars are the focus of Questions 3 to 7.

Q2(a): Are there other non-legislative measures that you believe are required to accelerate the implementation of the Community Wealth Building approach in Scotland?

Responses to Question 2(a) by respondent type are set out in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Question 2(a)
Yes No Don't know Total
Community development organisation or company 24 2 26
Housing organisation 2 1 3
Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP 27 1 28
Policy development, research or think tank 8 8
Political party, union or lobby group 5 1 6
Private sector company 4 2 6
Professional or representative body 6 1 7
Public Body 16 2 18
Voluntary or not-for-profit sector 25 2 27
Total organisations 117 3 9 129
% of organisations 91% 2% 7%
Individuals 25 5 7 37
% of individuals 68% 14% 19%
All respondents 142 8 16 166
% of all respondents 86% 5% 10%

Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding

A majority of respondents, 86% of those answering the question, thought there are other non-legislative measures required to accelerate the implementation of the CWB approach in Scotland.

Please provide a reason for your answer.

Around 155 respondents made a comment at this question. The analysis presented below also draws on comments at other questions that related to the themes covered below. Please note that comments were often extensive and detailed and can only be summarised within this analysis. However, all of the submissions made are available in full to the relevant policy teams at the Scottish Government.

The potential of CWB

A number of respondents commented on the potential of CWB, including as means of furthering community empowerment, building resilient local wellbeing economies and supporting a just transition to Net Zero. It was described as fundamental to transitioning to a wellbeing economy and there was also support for the consultation paper's assertion that the transition to a wellbeing economy requires a whole system transformation, of which CWB needs to be a core component.

It was noted that while the pillars are not new, what is new is the combination of the pillars under the CWB banner with a strong connection to the NSET and other Scottish Government policy goals. There was also broad agreement that some fundamental changes will be required if we are to see a departure from traditional concepts of economic development, and that this will require whole-system buy-in and significant cultural change (discussed further below).

In terms of the benefits of achieving this type of fundamental change, empowering communities and tackling inequalities was often the focus; giving due weight to the development of policy that tackles structural disadvantages experienced by marginalised groups was seen as key, as was carrying out a Fairer Scotland Duty assessment of any forthcoming national CWB strategy or Bill. The potential for CWB to raise awareness of the Gaelic language and culture and promote its value to the wider community was also highlighted, and there was a call for the Scottish Government to consider how the needs and potential of Gaelic-speaking communities are integrated into CWB.

In terms of maximising the potential of CWB to drive change, it was noted that it is operating within a complex and ever-developing policy landscape and there was a call for the five-pillar model to be reviewed periodically, in much the same way that the National Performance Framework National Outcomes are.

Changes to the economic model and prevailing culture

As noted above, the extent and depth of the change required was not under-estimated.

For some respondents, the focus was on the need for fundamental change to the economic model, and to the traditional model of economic development in particular. There was a call to put CWB aims at the heart of local economic development by changing how wealth is owned and created, and who benefits from it. It was suggested that CWB needs to become the golden thread for all economic measures that national and local governments deploy, and the central tenet of economic development activity for Scotland.

However, it was also suggested that there is a fundamental conflict between the CWB Bill, and certain aspects of the NSET. The associated view was that the NSET vision is based on a more traditional economic approach which provides returns to private investors, but that CWB requires returns to be under the democratic control of communities. Moving forward, there were calls to:

  • Address this contradiction by being explicit that the CWB agenda is given priority in decision-making.
  • Use the CWB Framework to evaluate the relative benefits (and disbenefits) of all decision-making and investment decisions made in the context of the NSET.
  • Revise the NSET to remove the aim that Scotland become 'a magnet for inward investment and global private capital'.

Some of the other mechanisms identified as drivers of change included fundamental changes to the mandates of certain public bodies, such as Scotland's enterprise agencies. It was suggested that championing local CWB strategies should become embedded in their core mandate, and they should be under a general duty to embed CWB into their corporate plans.

In order to change the approach and emphasis of economic development, respondents also highlighted the need for a change in culture and thinking within some organisations. The focus tended to be on public bodies, including anchor organisations, needing to ensure that plans are created and delivered with and by communities and not done to them. Building a culture of trust and collaboration between community organisations and their local authorities was seen as the foundation for better partnership working of the type required to deliver on CWB's objectives. However, it was reported that this needs to be done with an understanding that some community organisations feel they have been let down by local authorities.

Suggestions for how culture change could be driven included building an understanding between the different sectors and bringing together key individuals from across sectors to work collectively on problems. A national training programme for public sector staff could focus on collective/collaborative working practices and embedding CWB. It was suggested that this could build on the legacy of Collective Leadership Scotland. There was also refence to a Scottish Government funded programme with the Glasgow and Edinburgh Social Enterprise Networks as an example of working together to build capacity.

Leadership at all levels was also identified as a key factor, and it was suggested that this needs to start with political leadership and the mobilisation of all of Scotland's public sector. There was a call for the Scottish Government to support CWB collectively and collaboratively from the top down, whilst also empowering implementation from the bottom up. This direction and leadership was linked to an interconnected and complementary policy and legislative system which ensures that resources are used most effectively.

There was also reference to culture change in large organisations, including supporting senior leaders to feel confident in taking new or what feels like new, bolder action that is not current convention. It was suggested that this could be achieved by targeting 'how to' leadership training and development packages, organised by pillar, at senior teams across public bodies and professional groups.

Other comments were focused on shifting the emphasis of economic development to provide the third sector, including social enterprises, with at least a level playing field with the private sector in terms of support. It was also noted that these types of approaches are not entirely new; for example, Community Land Scotland's Community Wealth Building guidance gives information on a successful collaboration between Highlands and Islands Enterprise and community trusts, as well as community trusts acting as anchor organisations themselves. It was reported that this approach has been particularly effective when linked to a particular revenue stream, such as renewable energy.

Strategic and legislative fit with other agendas

The relationship between CWB and a range of other legislative measures and policy agendas was also the focus of a number of comments.

The current legislative and policy landscape

The complexity of the current landscape was noted, with the Scottish Government is currently reviewing several legislative and policy areas related to CWB, including in relation to community empowerment and land reform. Given this context, it was suggested that there may be an opportunity to consolidate the legislative framework underpinning CWB and community empowerment.

A comprehensive approach to considering the interconnectivity of existing legislation was suggested, including the identification of any gaps that may be addressed either through secondary legislation or other supplementary measures; the focus should be on promoting simplification and resource-efficiency and, given that risks, challenges and opportunities will evolve, a dedicated Scottish Government CWB horizon-scanning function was proposed. It was thought that this could provide an evidence-based foundation to inform the development and delivery of CWB policy and legislative support.

It was also suggested that Health Board policy and practice landscape must be decluttered to make economic development work simpler and make it easier for Boards to consider their role in reducing inequality, improving health and the retention of wealth in the local community.

In terms of general approaches going forward, one view was that it would be helpful if CWB legislation becomes the overarching legislation, and specifically that community planning legislation should be subordinate to it. Another suggestion was the adoption of a national level CWB Framework, providing a clear set of commonly agreed upon metrics; it was suggested that a commitment to the development of a CWB Framework should be included in the legislation. A high-level CWB Statement to guide how Scottish Ministers and public bodies will deliver CWB in practice was also proposed. This was likened to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 provisions relating to the LRRS.

Climate, nature and the circular economy

It was considered important to align the CWB framework closely with Scottish Government's ambitions for nature and climate. Associated points included that it would connect strongly with the underpinning objective of creating a wellbeing economy. It was noted that the climate emergency is a core threat to Scotland's communities, and particularly to disadvantaged communities, and there was a call to make the links between CWB and climate and nature issues more explicit.

These links were seen as offering real potential to produce a range of environmental, economic and social benefits, including simply by ensuring that the aims and objectives of advancing CWB are congruent with the Just Transition to Net Zero. However, there was also a concern that the consultation revolves quite heavily around the five pillars of CWB and has not asked about how the Scottish Government can deepen links between CWB, the green economy and a Just Transition.

It was also reported that, with the interim climate target of 2030 nearing, there is a growing necessity to build economies that promote resource efficiency; it was suggested that the circular economy and CWB agenda are complementary and can work together to ensure environmental, social, and economic benefits can be realised in tandem and for the advantage of Scottish communities and individuals. There was a call for a duty on local government to act as promoters, facilitators and enablers to ensure that the opportunities of a circular economy, including CWB, are maximised.

At a whole-system level, it was reported that much more can be done to help align CWB with a rapidly growing green economy in Scotland but that, to accelerate the implementation of CWB across Scotland, more formal and long-term policy, funding and governance links to a Just Transition and green economy policy areas are absolutely necessary.

The Place Principle

In addition to commenting on other legislative and policy agendas, respondents also commented on the fundamental connection between CWB and the Place Principle.

Some noted that they were supportive of the concept, including because it requires a step-change in place-focused collaboration, and hence offers an effective model and key component of delivering and embedding CWB. It was also suggested that CWB would benefit from a stronger recognition of the role that proactive planning and place-leadership can have through the enhanced corporate influence of planning. An opportunity to achieve this through the Chief Planning Officer role, provisions for which are set out in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, was referenced.

Genuine partnership, community involvement and empowerment

One of the most commonly raised themes across the consultation was the critical role that genuine partnership working and collaboration will play in making CWB a success.

For some, this was linked to democratic reform, with a genuinely transformative approach to CWB demanding that more decision-making power be devolved into the hands of communities. There was a call for urgent progress to be made on local governance reform (Democracy Matters 2) which, it was suggested, could be key to unlocking a more democratic economy if brave action is taken. It was also suggested that the findings of the Community Planning Partnership inquiry must also be acted upon if these structures are going to have a key role of coordinating CWB in localities.

Other overarching points included that:

  • CWB cannot be implemented successfully by local and regional bodies alone; it requires the Scottish government to create a better framework for devolving power and resources to the local authority and community level.
  • The legislation should require the creation of local CWB partnerships comprising local authorities, anchors, inclusive business, and civil society organisations. These partnerships should be on a statutory footing and should be empowered to create and oversee the implementation of local CWB strategies.


Many respondents stressed the importance of communities being at the heart of CWB and its success. It was noted that engaging with communities is integral to the Scottish Approach to Service Design but also that implementation remains inconsistent.

Further comments included that the legitimacy of CWB is directly proportional to the extent to which community stakeholders are meaningfully engaged and empowered as active participants. Capacity building (discussed further below) was a common theme, with other suggestions for empowering communities including:

  • Building community confidence in, and understanding of, decision-making structures.
  • Ensuring that the voice of the community is central to the development, design and delivery of both the strategy and action plans.
  • Local authorities and other public bodies acting as supportive enablers for communities to generate and retain community 'wealth' from the bottom up; this was linked to both direct investment and enabling policy.
  • Decentralising the resources and programmes that are often held at local authority or intermediary agency level to the community; the Strengthening Communities Programme of the Scottish Government was noted as a good example of the transformative potential of such an approach.
  • Supporting the development of community ownership and democratic business models, including social enterprises, co-operatives and employee-owned businesses.

It was also suggested that local authorities and other statutory bodies need clear guidance on how they work with and for communities.

Third sector

The important role of the third sector was also highlighted, including in relation to delivering CWB in practice. Specific comments and suggestions included that there is a need to improve the culture of engagement between local authorities and the third/community sectors to ensure that the latter are meaningfully engaged in decision-making processes around CWB. This collaboration and partnership with the third sector was linked to a need for successful transformation of public procurement, including through the provision of sector-specific support and expertise.

It was also suggested that the CWB legislation should recognise the contribution that the third sector, including advice services, make to successful CWB. A specific point was that the provision of free, independent, and impartial advice and advocacy ensures that communities maximise their incomes and prevents negative outcomes from lack of knowledge of their rights.


It was also suggested that the Scottish Government, as well as key public sector bodies, should improve ongoing dialogue and partnership with Scottish businesses so they have a better understanding of the business environment both nationally and locally.

There were also calls for the Scottish Government, local authorities and other public sector bodies to:

  • Engage with and define a clear role for existing businesses, including in relation to expectations on existing, conventional businesses to build support for CWB. It was suggested that this should build on the existing work and recommendations of the Business Purpose Commission.[3]
  • Give pro-active support and assistance to local businesses. It was reported that, in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and in the light of a wide range of increased business costs, Scottish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro businesses in particular require active assistance.

Sector-specific partnership approaches

The important role that certain sectors can play in making CWB a success was also highlighted. In relation to food, comments included:

  • The CWB Bill should recommend that there is a food partnership in every local authority area and that the CWB principles are used to guide the development of Good Food Nation food plans.
  • Sustainable Food Places is a network of food partnerships which work on all aspects of the food system; they are an excellent example of CWB as they take a place-based approach to improving the local food system by shortening supply chains, supporting local producers and businesses, and effectively engaging with their communities.
  • A specific Local Food Fund, allocated directly to local authorities on a population basis to help them to invest their local food systems, would be an important element of creating a more diverse and prosperous local food and farming system.

Issues relating directly to food supply are picked up again in relation to an action in the Share Policy Programme (SPP) at Question 2(b).

Comments on other sectors included:

  • Local and regional skills planning for the construction industry is required to accelerate the CWB approach in Scotland. There were calls for the development of a series of regional skills plans for construction, with demand planned alongside what is understood about the current regional workforce and the present and future pipeline of work for the industry.
  • In order for CWB to address some of the needs of coastal and island communities, the Scottish Government needs to ensure responsible use of public fisheries resource for the public good.
  • Arts, sport and cultural activities can be used as approaches to enable local communities to build local capacity, engage with and address issues ranging from economic development to environmental sustainability. There needs to be a broader view of what constitutes an anchor institution to encompass cultural and learning venues such as public libraries, museums, community arts-venues, sports and community centres.

Capacity building

One of the most frequently made points, both at this question but also most others, was the vital role that increased capacity building, and in particular capacity building for communities, will play in delivering CWB.

It was noted that for CWB to be locally-led, local people need the necessary skills, knowledge, time and confidence. The recognition that this will be particularly important for disadvantaged or 'left behind' communities was welcomed, but was accompanied by a concern that the resources and opportunities for people to develop these capacities are not always present in local communities – particularly in more deprived communities.

Comments on approaches included that communities need to be supported to develop the knowledge and skills required through embedded engagement work over time. Specific suggestions included:

  • The Scottish Government should fund bespoke training courses. These could be delivered by an existing public body, such as Skills Development Scotland, a third sector partner such as Community Enterprise in Scotland or a dedicated new body set up to build capacity for CWB across Scotland.
  • Existing organisations with a track record in this work should be used, learning from organisations already delivering capacity building work successfully.
  • The Democracy Matters approach could be helpful in embedding CWB.

There were also references to existing approaches, including the 'What We Do Now' creative placemaking network, co-developed by the Stove Network and other community organisations, which explores the needs of a place and supports the growth of strategic plans from the grassroots of that place. It was reported that the approach also identifies and develops the local skills and structures needed to implement any plans that emerge through the process.

In terms of specific issues that could be the focus of capacity building measures, comments and suggestions included that communities could be supported to carry out deep mapping of infrastructure that already exists and the current barriers and challenges to implementing actions that deliver CWB principles at a local level.

Although the focus was often on capacity building in communities, there were also comments about building capacity within organisations. These included that:

  • Community anchors are led by volunteer boards, and services are often delivered by volunteers alongside or instead of paid staff. There is a clear need to support existing governance training, peer learning and best practice, and on work on succession planning across the sector.
  • It will be critical that training and capacity building on CWB is available to a range of staff within local authorities and public bodies, enabling more staff to understand their roles and responsibilities in their capacity as anchor organisations.

The issue of resources was often linked to capacity building, both within organisations and within the wider community; it was suggested that investing in training and education programmes, as well as providing technical assistance to communities and public institutions, can help build the necessary capacity to implement CWB approaches. This issue reflected some of the comments above relating to the potential of CWB and changing the prevailing model and culture; capacity building within public bodies, including both Councils and Health Boards, was seen as key to driving positive change. However, there were also concerns about whether sufficient resources will be available.

Other themes

Respondents also identified a number of other non-legislative measures that could help accelerate the implementation of the CWB approach in Scotland. These are set out in turn below.

Awareness raising

It was reported that CWB is not yet well-understood, and there were suggestions that awareness raising activity, is required. Specific suggestions included national and local public facing campaigns to improve general understanding of the concept and what is being delivered.

Holding public events, putting out media on pilot approaches and ministerial visits and speeches were also identified as possible routes, and it was suggested that CWB could feature more prominently in the Programme for Government and the public statements and commitments of the First Minister and Scottish Cabinet. In terms of the focus on any awareness raising, it was suggested that storytelling should be used to promote and celebrate good practice.

Role of anchor organisations

There were also some comments relating to the role of anchor organisations, including whether their definition could be expanded to include more smaller organisations. This was connected to a view that larger bodies often cannot 'represent' communities needs at a hyper-local level and that communities are often also not supported to be at the tables of decision-making when they are invited.

More generally, and as highlighted in previous sections, there was a call for more recognition of the role of anchor organisations, including because they are likely to have significant spends on infrastructure, may be owners of assets and land, and are often major employers. There was also a call for further recognition of the role of community anchor organisations and community anchor networks.

Community Wealth Building Commission

A number of respondents were looking for the introduction of a CWB Commission to drive forward the embedding of CWB in policy, and to provide accountability and oversight. It was reported that there is precedent for such an approach in relation to land reform policy with the establishment of the Scottish Land Commission as a consequence of provisions within the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

It was suggested that the Commission should be led by a paid Commissioner and should have responsibilities including:

  • Holding public bodies and Ministers to account.
  • Oversight of regional implementation.

Defining and measuring impact

It was seen as important to be clear about what success will look like and how it may be measured. However, it was also noted that success will mean different outcomes for different communities, and that measures should allow for diversity at local community levels.

Also considering the local level, there was a view that while the Scottish Parliament has a scrutiny role, action on individual local strategies will be the best indicator on the ground. Associated points included that:

  • Any duty to assess and review policies and practices means that an equality impact assessment (EQIA) should be an ongoing process, with the initial EQIA process followed up by identifying the actual impact of the strategy once in place.
  • Annual reporting provides a good opportunity to keep an EQIA up to date, and will assist in both monitoring impact and designing any changes to the strategy or action plan that may be required to meet intended outcomes.

Question 2(b): Are there specific actions required to advance delivery of the items contained within the Shared Policy Programme (outlined on page 11 of the consultation paper)?

Responses to Question 2(b) by respondent type are set out in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Question 2(b)
Yes No Don't know Total
Community development organisation or company 15 1 5 21
Housing organisation 1 2 3
Local Authority, Regional Partnership or CPP 25 2 27
Policy development, research or think tank 2 2 4
Political party, union or lobby group 3 1 4
Private sector company 2 4 6
Professional or representative body 5 2 7
Public body 13 2 15
Voluntary or not-for-profit sector 19 3 3 25
Total organisations 85 6 21 112
% of organisations 76% 5% 19%
Individuals 9 7 15 31
% of individuals 29% 23% 48%
All respondents 94 13 36 143
% of all respondents 66% 9% 25%

A majority of respondents, 66% of those answering the question, thought there are specific actions required to advance delivery of the items contained within the Shared Policy Programme (SPP)[4].

Please provide a reason for your answer.

Around 120 respondents provided a comment at Question 2b. The analysis presented below focuses primarily on comments made about the relationship between the SPP and CWB and the three specific actions contained within the SPP. Other issues raised at this question are covered at the most directly relevant question.

General observations about SPP and CWB

It was noted that the SPP is already being delivered by organisations across Scotland, albeit within the existing legislative parameters. For example, one CPP respondent reported that all three of the specific actions already form part of their plan to implement CWB.

However, and reflecting themes covered at Question 2a, there was a concern about mandating local bodies, including democratically elected councils, to adopt a policy agreement between two political parties. It was suggested that local democracy requires that councils are able to adopt their own policies, decided through the normal, local democratic process.

Local context was also seen as important, with the importance of recognising local landscapes and the availability of the economic levers for delivery highlighted. It was seen as important that the principles of CWB should be included in the delivery of the SPP without being too prescriptive to enable local circumstances to be considered. An alternative perspective was that legislation should require public bodies to carry out the actions unless they can show there is strong reason not to.

Another general theme raised was around delivering the actions in a way that is truly inclusive and benefits communities as a whole. Further comments included that:

  • Resources need to be put into understanding the barriers to improvement; this needs to be done at a hyper-local level.
  • Taking a gendered approach to how to deliver the actions will be critical; there must be clear recognition of the structural inequalities which women and other marginalised groups face in participation in the economy and access to wealth.

This latter issue was raised more generally, but also with specific reference to the first of the three actions, relating to training and labour markets, covered below.

...working within and developing procurement practices to support local economies, including SMEs and micro- businesses, and improved access to training and labour markets for disadvantaged communities and individuals

Some respondents referenced their responses at other questions, and at Question 3 in particular, in relation to this action.

Accessible procurement processes

Respondents were most likely to highlight the importance of simplifying the procurement process, with further comments including that current processes are still a barrier to many SMEs.

Nevertheless, there were references to progress being made, including a Local Authority respondent reporting that they have been instrumental in developing procurement practices that are being promoted as best practice. They went on to note that the recently published Scotland Excel/Scottish Government Pathfinder Programme - Community Wealth Building is regarded as best practice when seeking to embed CWB into procurement.

In terms of the types of improvements that could or should be rolled out, some comments related to support and funding to enable SMEs to access public sector contracts. It was suggested that appropriate support is needed for businesses of all forms to be competitive when responding to tender opportunities. A Public body respondent reported that providing support to locally-based enterprises, through organisations such as Growbiz, has complemented the Business Gateway service that is already in place.

More generally, it was suggested that the Supplier Development Programme remains instrumental in delivering free advice, training and support on public sector procurement to micro and SMEs and that additional and longer-term funding should be considered. There was also a query as to whether removing the need for public bodies – and specifically health boards – to pay a fee would increase the Supplier Development Programme's use, and by extension the access of SMEs to public contracts.

Other suggested ways to make procurement practices simpler and more accessible for SMEs included that:

  • Organisations should formalise a commitment to supporting local companies. A Local Authority respondent reported that they have done so through their Corporate Procurement Strategy.
  • Larger procurement contracts could be disaggregated to make sure that they are accessible to smaller businesses and their supply chain.
  • Regular and specific "Meet the Real Buyer" type events would be beneficial.
  • Mapping spend within anchor organisations could help to understand how it is impacting on communities in terms of good job provision and micro and small business support, particularly areas with high deprivation.

Supporting local economies and supply chains

The importance of building capacity within SMEs and micro-businesses was also highlighted, including in relation to strengthening local supply chains and, by extension, enabling anchor organisations to tap into local businesses as part of their procurement programmes. There was specific reference to the need to increase resilience in local supply chains in rural areas, and to address skills shortages, particularly in the construction industry.

Suggested ways to encourage and support the development of more robust local supply chains included:

  • Creating a national approach that focuses on business resilience and addressing red tape; the associated concern was that localised procurement models will increase the cost to the public sector.
  • Developing more detailed information and guidance on inclusive ownership models (including employee ownership and co-operatives) and including case studies as illustrative, on-the-ground examples of good practice.
  • Looking at sector specific approaches where appropriate, for example by Forestry and Land Scotland to prioritise access to procurement for local, small scale sustainable forestry businesses and community enterprises.
  • Being clear on the application of subsidy control legislation and a 'local market' element; this was connected to a concern that a risk avoidance approach on financial support to community enterprise – which is a cornerstone of the CWB approach – will stymie efforts to grow social economic activity.

There was also a call to considering the unique contribution of businesses operating as social enterprises, including (as above) by reviewing public procurement processes so they are not overly restrictive for smaller community-focused enterprises.

In relation to workforce and skills shortages, it was suggested that addressing future challenges with an ageing and declining population will require a strategic approach by the Scottish Government to support the rural authorities affected. There was reference to attracting, retaining and developing talent to meet the needs of local employers and to supporting job security and growth within the third sector. Multiyear funding and early notice of funding decisions were seen as key to workforce retention in the sector.

Improving access to training and labour markets

A number of respondents commented on the importance of improving access to training and labour markets, especially for disadvantaged communities and individuals. There was refence to some of the work that is already underway, including a Local Authority respondent reporting that a comprehensive programme of employability offers for residents is in place in their local area and region. This included a Flexible Skills project and an Inclusion Workers and Investment Fund project to support people closer to and into the labour market.

However, some of the challenges around improving access and training were also noted. These included that:

  • There are other policy areas which have a direct impact on the efficacy of employability services, including access to affordable and flexible childcare, and to affordable, regular and reliable transport options, that need to be addressed.
  • Elements of the Fair Work agenda will be easier to achieve for larger businesses; it was suggested that Scottish Government, local authorities and others should work with all employers to advance the agenda while being mindful that smaller businesses may move at a slower pace.

In terms of progressing the SPP action through the CWB route, suggestions included that we need to:

  • Integrate community benefit opportunities with targeted training and recruitment opportunities for those facing barriers.
  • Recognise and reward private businesses that promote CWB and Fair Work, and that have a track record of delivery, through weighting / scoring in procurement processes.
  • Progress land reform, including by encouraging the expansion of community owned land and assets; the connection was made to supporting local economies and improving access to training and jobs, most particularly in disadvantaged communities. It was suggested that vibrant local economies in which wealth circulates create conditions for training and improved job prospects, which in turn encourages the retention of young people and the encouragement of migration to the area.

Comments and suggestions about addressing the barriers that disadvantaged communities and individuals face included that we need to:

  • Engage with women's labour market inequality; it was reported that women's labour market experience continues to be characterised by low pay, discrimination, insufficient working hours and precarious work, particularly for specific groups of women including young and disabled and those in a racial minority.
  • Ensure actions to deliver the proposal that anchor organisations should develop and commit to local or regional fair employment charters, are adequately gendered, so as not to simply replicate and reinforce existing inequalities.

There was also a call to use procurement practices to compel employers to recognise unions and allow workplace access.

...encouraging public kitchens, including school canteens, to source more food produced by local businesses and organic producers.

The importance of schoolchildren of all ages having access to a healthy meal when they are at school was recognised, although a number of respondents highlighted issues that will need to be addressed for public kitchens, including school canteens, to source more food produced by local businesses and organic producers.

There was also a note of caution in relation to the SPP, that duplication of legislation may occur with the introduction of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022. It was suggested that there could be a risk of duplication and confusion over an action that is already laid out and covered by the Act.

A different perspective was that strong targets in the Good Food Nation national plan will be crucial in encouraging public kitchens to serve more local and organic/sustainably produced food. There was also a call for the current review of Catering for Change guidance to be used as a driver for CWB for public food, and for consideration to be given to making documents such as Catering for Change statutory in nature to ensure compliance and the enable the embedding of these principles in practice.

Procurement issues

Reflecting themes across the consultation, a number of the comments focused on procurement. For example, it was reported that public procurement systems often being inaccessible to small-scale crofting businesses, including because of the quantity and types of foods not matching with the seasonal and small supplies. Other comments included that:

  • Consistency and reliability of supply will be needed; it was reported that while local authorities might prefer to use more local produce, they can be let down by lack of distribution and/or service from the suppliers.
  • There will need to be reassurance of quality at all stages; it was suggested that accreditation, such as British Retail Consortium certification, will be needed.

Specific ideas included introducing targets for local spend in public procurement of food, and refocusing procurement to consider sustainability and the role a wholesaler or producer plays within local communities. Other suggestions included:

  • More guidance on assessing the relative merits of locally produced food from an environmental and ethical perspective; it was suggested that the 'Every Mouthful Counts' toolkit for local authorities could be signposted or the refresh of the 'Catering for Change' document could assist with further guidance.
  • In response to the issue about consistency of supply, a central distribution company which could handle orders and deliveries could be set up.
  • More emphasis on the opportunities that sub-contracting can bring, for example with local SMEs establishing sub-contracting relationships with distributors.
  • Developing networks of small businesses working as a co-operative to provide the necessary scale.
  • Encouraging uptake of the Food for Life Programme by the Soil Association Scotland. It was reported that beyond the support for school kitchens in Scotland, the UK programme also encourages other public sector catering resources to consider accreditation.
  • Providing further education, information, and training on local supply and the importance of product traceability in school canteens and other public kitchens.

Supply chain issues

Other comments related to creating and sustaining a robust local supply chain. Points made included that the scope to increase local spend is greatly influenced by the availability of local suppliers that can provide the goods and services required by local authorities. Looking for mechanisms to support more local agricultural and horticultural production was seen as important, with suggestions including:

  • Ensuring that resources are in place to enable local authorities to invest in their local food system.
  • Working in partnership with stakeholders on opportunities to grow the local business base; a Local Authority respondent reported that they are working with key industry representatives to raise awareness of opportunities across the entire sector. There was also reference to promoting the roll-out of Sustainable Food Places and to the Scottish Wholesalers Association's 'Delivering Growth Through Wholesale' education and training programme.
  • Improving data-sharing arrangements, so that enterprise agencies can share client information (where permission is given) with procurement managers in other public bodies.
  • Seeking to support existing community provision, such as community markets, by providing sustainable resources to local communities.
  • Developing guidance to support the development of the infrastructure that would facilitate local approaches to issues such as food waste or fuel supply.

Finally, there was reference to the potential of the public diners model as an important part of building social as well as economic assets and wellbeing, offering nutritious balanced meals at very affordable prices, enhancing social cohesion and reducing loneliness, as well as providing local employment and supporting local producers.

...where possible, to base public sector capital and revenue funding decisions on targeted social, economic and environmental outcomes

One Local Authority respondent reported that their current practice is to base funding decisions on social, economic and environmental outcomes. Others made suggestions relating to how this action could be progressed through CWB, including:

  • Making it a requirement for local government to support wellbeing economy approaches in their economic regeneration policies.
  • Basing funding decisions on place-based and inclusive growth and wellbeing outcomes included as part of a broader range of socio-economic indicators.
  • Explicitly basing decisions on the National Performance Framework and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As in relation to other issues, there were also calls to for national procurement legislation to be reformed to allow best value assessments to consider more spending locally. Regarding targeting social, economic and environmental outcomes, it was suggested that community benefit, Fair Work and climate action should be mandatory scoring elements, especially for higher value contracts.

Other comments noted that it will also be important to ensure that approaches can be tailored to local needs.

In terms of the issues that could be considered in the scoring and award of public funding, suggestions included:

  • Local procurement and recruitment of local staff and contractors, based on a Fair Work policy.
  • Creation of opportunities for local and social enterprises.
  • Creation of opportunities for communities to own and manage land and buildings.
  • Finance directly or indirectly generated through investment in natural capital resulting in community benefit (as per the Protocol on Responsible Natural Capital and Carbon Management).



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