Chapter 6: Partnership Working
"My advice is plain: in the case of child poverty, the best person to ask is a child. What we think should make an impact on Scotland!"
Member of the Children's Parliament, age 9
The Poverty and Inequality Commission highlighted the need for the Delivery Plan to recognise the role played by the wider public, private and third sectors in tackling child poverty. Government cannot end child poverty on its own; the challenge has to be genuinely shared. The benefits are many - for example, new thinking, better ways of working and shared goals.
The Scottish Government already works in partnership with organisations across the piece. This section sets out how we are going to deliver more on child poverty with a number of key partners. We'll continue to build on our approach to partnership through the period of the Plan, and will report back on our progress annually.
A New Innovation Fund with The Hunter Foundation
We will introduce a new £7.5 million Innovation Fund in 2018-19 with The Hunter Foundation to trial and scale up innovative approaches to prevention and redesigning services.
We said in the Programme for Government 2017-18 that we were committed to testing new approaches, strengthening the evidence base and supporting innovation at both national and local levels. We want to do this in a way that helps us meet our targets. So, we're establishing a new Innovation Fund as a joint venture with The Hunter Foundation, worth £7.5 million over the Delivery Plan period.
This Fund will be used to trial new and innovative approaches to prevention and redesigning services. We want to achieve sustained systemic change, with a view to speeding up progress on the targets. We also want the Fund to help us take pilot approaches that are working and scale them up across Scotland. Central to our approach will be that families and carers needs must come first, and system needs second.
Recognising the geographical variation of poverty across Scotland, this Fund will invest strategically in a few local areas, while maintaining a keen focus on the national picture. As part of that we'll be looking at local child poverty action reports that show excellent innovative practice.
The Hunter Foundation will commit up to £2.5 million towards the £7.5 million Innovation Fund over four years. The balance of the funding will come from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund. The Innovation Fund will also use the wider assets of The Hunter Foundation and Scottish Government to help make sure change happens.
Fund worth £7.5 million between 2018-22, with up to £2.5 million being committed by The Hunter Foundation.
Innovative approaches to prevention and redesigning services could help make progress towards the targets. As interventions are developed, they will be tested and will help add to the evidence on what works in reducing child poverty.
Stronger Links Between City Region and Regional Growth Deals and Tackling Child Poverty
City Region and Regional Growth deals are joint projects between the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners; for City Region Deals these partners include the UK Government. They deliver billions of pounds worth of investment to stimulate inclusive economic growth. As we roll out Growth Deals to cover all of Scotland, we will expect the Regional Economic Partnerships that manage them to deliver maximum benefit for all of the communities in their region, with a specific focus on reducing poverty, including child poverty. Therefore, we will work with local authorities and Regional Economic Partnerships across Scotland to promote, monitor and evaluate activity designed to maximise regional inclusive growth, including a focus on delivering strong and sustained reductions in child poverty. What follows are two examples of what we will do.
Community Wealth and Localism
This government has always sought to empower communities to take forward the solutions they think are best to tackle issues such as regeneration and inequality in their locality. Whether that's local activity in taking over a community asset or regional regeneration through City and Regional Deals. We want to explore what more we can do to encourage inclusive growth at community level and will therefore examine how other areas across the UK have addressed this issue to harness wealth for the benefit of local communities. For example using existing resources already in place through the social and public sector such as job creation, procurement, land assets, alongside local businesses and social enterprises to encourage economic growth and to tackle poverty and inequalities at a local level. One part of this work will be consideration of the model of using 'Anchor Institutions' to benefit a locality is worthy of examination and we will take forward as part of a cross-government approach.
We will also pilot a specific Community Wealth approach to procurement with selected local authority areas, providing direct support and testing changes to current practice to retain a greater share of the public spend with local businesses. As this pilot rolls out, its potential contribution to reducing child poverty will be a central consideration.
The Economic Policy Unit, working with Procurement Policy, will provide resource to take forward potential pilot projects.
May have the potential to support local employment opportunities. As the pilot is rolled out, additional work will take place to understand this further.
Partnership between the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Region on inclusive growth and child poverty
As a concrete example of our intent here, the Scottish Government and the Glasgow City Region Cabinet will take a range of actions over the period of this Delivery Plan. Specifically within the Glasgow City Region we will:
- Develop inclusive growth monitoring and evaluation frameworks that include analysis and reporting of child poverty impacts, including against the child poverty targets in the 2017 Act.
- Use the Inclusive Growth Diagnostic to understand opportunities, constraints and to guide investment.
- Ensure that Inclusive Growth is embedded within the City Deal interventions, including its child poverty dimensions, and in all other investment decisions taken by partners. We will also provide tailored support to those sectors of the economy which can have the greatest impact on achieving inclusive growth, particularly in supporting parents to gain skills and achieve in-work progression.
- Ensure improvements to the transport infrastructure are designed to promote inclusive growth, particularly in ensuring access to jobs for all communities. Transport issues were a particular concern for parents in our consultation activity.
- Explore practical ways to integrate employment support for low wage families e.g. skills, childcare, transport.
- Work with those with lived experience of child poverty to ensure their voices are at the heart of our policy development and delivery models - we say more about this in the following action.
- Work with employers to develop common purpose around an inclusive growth approach which tackles child poverty and benefits everyone as a result.
Funding for this range of actions will be supported by the Glasgow City Regional deal investment programme, which includes Scottish Government investment of £500 million, covering a 15-20 year period.
Many of the barriers faced by families in poverty are also barriers to inclusive growth, and actions to tackle both should be mutually reinforcing.
A Strong Partnership with Local Areas
We are providing a range of support for local authorities and health boards. This includes:
- A national child poverty coordinator.
- A new analytical partnership.
- Support for communities to get their voices heard.
In addition, we're introducing a new Fairer Scotland duty on public bodies from April 2018 to help deliver strategic decision making that has a positive impact on outcomes. We now say more about each of these.
A National Child Poverty Co-ordinator
We're funding a new post in the Improvement Service to help local authorities and health boards with their child poverty planning and reporting.
Local solutions to tackle child poverty are a crucial part of the picture. That's why we included a local reporting duty in the Child Poverty Act, which covers local authorities and health boards. We've worked closely with a reference group of key stakeholders to develop clear guidance for reporting, while ensuring that there is flexibility for local areas to respond to their unique needs. The first set of local reports will be published in 2019.
To help support local partners on the ground, we are also funding a new national co-ordinator who will have a particular focus on the planning and reporting duties under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act.
The co-ordinator will be based in the Improvement Service but will work closely with the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland and other stakeholders such as the Poverty Alliance to support local partners to develop their reports and think about how to monitor progress.
They will also facilitate the sharing of best practice across Scotland. This will include, for example, helping local authorities to explore a more proactive and, where possible, automated approach to benefits, grants and payments in kind.
The co-ordinator will also play a key role in supporting the implementation of the Fairer Scotland Duty, and the role will be funded from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
A new analytical partnership on local child poverty
We're providing funding for the new Scottish Poverty & Inequality Research Unit to provide analytical expertise for local area child poverty planning.
The new Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit ( SPIRU) brings together researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, working alongside external partners to analyse various aspects of poverty and inequality. It focuses on applied research and policy engagement, and aims to collaborate and communicate with policy makers, campaign groups and community stakeholders. Professor John McKendrick and Professor Stephen Sinclair, who lead SPIRU, have a long-established interest and expertise in understanding how poverty is experienced by people in their local communities, and the types of action that can make a difference.
To help support local partners we are providing new funding to SPIRU (£20,000 per year for three years) to support their engagement with local authorities and their local health boards to help develop and understand actions that influence child poverty and to share best practice. Over the three years SPIRU will seek to engage in all 32 local authority areas aiming, through collaborative working, to identify and share good practice on the ground. A key priority for the analytical partnership will be to engage with local partners who have historically had less capacity to participate in work to tackle child poverty.
A new Fairer Scotland duty
We've introduced a new statutory responsibility for public bodies on reducing the inequalities of outcome caused by socio‑ economic disadvantage.
From April 2018, the Scottish Government is introducing a new duty on the public sector, the Fairer Scotland duty. The duty will require public bodies, including the Scottish Government, to consider how they can reduce inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, whenever strategic decisions are being made. We will task the national co-ordinator post, above, with supporting public bodies to implement the duty successfully to bring about better decision-making. We'll also ask the co-ordinator to focus on links between the duty and public bodies' child poverty responsibilities so that the duty genuinely improves outcomes for children who are living in households on low incomes.
Bringing the voices of people with experience of poverty into local decision-making
We're making resources available for public bodies to help them involve people with experience of poverty in their decision-making.
The Scottish Government has already invested in helping local areas set up their own community bodies to bring people with direct experience of poverty into strategic decision making. Dundee, North Ayrshire and Shetland have already benefited. We are now looking to expand that support over the period of the Delivery Plan so that, in other areas of Scotland, people with experience of poverty - including parents and those who experienced poverty themselves as children - can help shape both child poverty planning and contribute to implementation of the Fairer Scotland duty. Some of this support will be analytical or about national leadership, rather than additional financial resources.
For example, over the period of this Delivery Plan, the Scottish Government will be working together with Edinburgh City Council to do all that we can to eradicate child poverty as well as the wider inequalities that exist across the city. The Scottish Government will support the Council as it convenes a new Edinburgh Poverty and Inequality Commission to help the city tackle the significant pockets of poverty and deprivation that exist within Edinburgh so that all of its citizens - including children - can thrive and grow. The Scottish Government will support the Commission to listen to, and engage with, those who have lived experience of poverty in Edinburgh.
In terms of additional investment, we'll be particularly keen to support those authority areas where anti-poverty work is under-developed, perhaps because of a lack of capacity locally.
The national co-ordinator will be funded from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund. Costs to be agreed with the Improvement Service.
£20,000 per year from 2018-19-2021-22 will be invested in SPIRU from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
Additional investment for these actions will be set out shortly.
Establishing and sharing best practice among local authorities and health boards should help speed up local actions to help meet the targets.
Expanding capacity outwith local authorities will provide a further means of helping them to develop robust action to put in place to help meet the targets.
Taking account of socio-economic disadvantage when taking strategic decisions will make sure tackling poverty is given appropriate consideration in decision making.
It is important that decision-making is informed by the lived experience of poverty, if it is to be effective. Not being heard can be both a cause and a symptom of poverty, and compounds experiences of being disempowered.
New Priority in the Empowering Communities Fund
We are introducing a new child poverty priority within our £20 million Empowering Communities Fund to further enable communities to make a positive impact on the targets.
We want to support communities to make an even more active contribution to tackling child poverty locally. To do this, we will introduce a new child poverty priority within the Empowering Communities Fund.
Community-led regeneration is at the heart of our regeneration strategy.  The £20 million Empowering Communities Fund supports communities to develop:
- skills, resources and confidence to identify their own needs and aspirations;
- community-led responses and solutions; and
- assets, services and projects which improve social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The Empowering Communities Fund has already helped to unlock the power of communities to meet their own needs. It supports disadvantaged communities to tackle poverty and inequality on their own terms; and, increases community participation, involvement in planning and decision making, and delivery of change. Community empowerment and inclusive growth is relevant to every community in Scotland. And by introducing a child poverty priority, we will ensure that our investment in communities makes even more of a positive impact for disadvantaged children.
The Empowering Communities Fund has been maintained at £20 million for 2018-19.
Ensuring that decisions are made at the community level when appropriate, and by using local assets, the benefits of inclusive growth will be owned and felt directly by communities. This approach will be flexible to community needs, and could help identify and intervene in areas were local and national government are less effective.
Strengthening Our Investment in the STV Children's Appeal
We're making a £4 million commitment to the Appeal's work over the course of the Delivery Plan.
The Scottish Government has been supporting the STV Children's Appeal for several years now. It is an annual Scottish charity appeal organised by STV and The Hunter Foundation, in aid of the STV Charitable Trust.
The Appeal is committed to providing support across a wide range of issues affecting Scotland, and in its first year the charity's work was focused on supporting children and young people affected by poverty. The Appeal focuses on helping parents through key underlying issues of child poverty, including employment, income maximisation, education and housing.
The charity funds impressive work tackling the causes and consequences of child and family poverty and adverse childhood experiences ( ACEs). Until now, we have been providing funding on an annual basis. However, we want to help the Appeal to be able to plan its investments with longer term funding. So we are now committing to supporting the Appeal with annual funding of £1 million over the course of the Delivery Plan. This will ensure the Appeal can continue its great work to tackle child poverty.
£1 million per year between 2018-19 and 2021‑22
Funding support over the course of this Delivery Plan will provide certainty for the fund, and help in their efforts to tackle the causes and consequences of child poverty.
Working in Partnership with the NHS on Children's Health and Well-Being
Health services have a key role to play in managing the complex links between health and family poverty, and there are a number of ways in which we will support them to do so.
We know that Scotland's substantial health inequalities are driven by poverty and that the problem is in many ways cyclical. In its simplest form, this means low income making health problems worse or illness making it more difficult to earn enough to get out of poverty. We continue to target health policy and services at areas of deprivation and are looking to do that ever more effectively. Over the next three years we will see significant investment in the primary care workforce, which will release GPs to spend more time with those who need it, and the new funding formula for general practice reflects the impact of deprivation on practice workload.
We now set out some specific partnership working with the NHS on early years and income maximisation.
Extra help for families with children's health in the early years
Building on the learning from the Building Connections project in Glasgow, we will provide funding in 2018-19 for a welfare advice service facilitator to support the development of embedding Welfare Advice Services in Health and Social Care settings, with a particular focus on general practice and early years.
We will deliver on our commitment to 250 Community Links Workers over the life of the Parliament, and increase the number of health visitors by 500. The increase in frontline staff will support the delivery of improved health visiting services for all families with children aged 0-5.
Our £1.5 million Neonatal Expenses Fund will go live on 1 April 2018. The Fund will support families of premature babies with travel and subsistence costs while their baby is being cared for in a neonatal unit and will be particularly useful for low income families.
The increased £16.9 million funding for the Family Nurse Partnership will help complete the roll-out of the programme to all first-time teenage mothers and reach vulnerable first-time mothers up to the age of 24, providing intensive support during pregnancy and the first years of their child's life. This help will be particularly beneficial for some of our priority families.
In 2018, we will publish our Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan, which will set out concrete actions to support all children to become, and remain, healthy and successful, putting children and young people at the centre of policies that affect them. The Action Plan will include a focus on cross cutting issues relating to health and wellbeing including child poverty.
Health and Income Maximisation
We will invest an additional £500,000 over two years to support income maximisation services in health settings.
The Health Promoting Health Service includes a requirement for NHS Boards to identify referral pathways to financial inclusion advice in secondary healthcare settings. As such there is already a positive foundation on which to build, with all NHS Boards reporting financial inclusion support services either being in place within hospital settings or mechanisms to signpost/refer patients on to, in the reporting year 2016‑17.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Healthier Wealthier Children model has been particularly well evaluated, and Scottish Government remains committed to embedding its key principles of Health and Advice services joining up to ensure pregnant women and families with children receive access to high quality and timely financial advice.
Healthier Wealthier Children supports pregnant women and families with children at risk of, or experiencing, poverty by creating information and referral pathways between the NHS early years workforce and money/welfare advice services. As well as securing financial and practical support for families, the approach raises awareness of child poverty among the NHS early years workforce, and builds skills in raising the issue with parents and accessing appropriate advice and support.
NHS Health Scotland carried out a scoping exercise late last year with all NHS Boards to establish their current position regarding the embedding of referral pathways, and have now established a sub-group of Health Promotion Managers to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers on how to embed the approach in areas that don't currently have maternity and advice pathways.
Building on the recommendations of the Health Promotion Managers group due in April 2018, we will work with NHS Boards, Integration Authorities and Local Authorities to ensure referral pathways suitable to local needs are embedded in all health boards by the end of this Parliament. We will explore how implementation can be supported with £500,000 from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
£1.5 million Neonatal Expenses Fund.
£16.9 million funding for the Family Nurse Partnership.
£250,000 per year in 2018-19 and 2019-20 from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
Embedding Welfare Advice services in Health and Social care settings could directly help families access financial support. Many of the other interventions will provide support, including financial support, for families at high risk of poverty at crucial stages in their child's life.
This could help progress towards all four targets.
Targeted Opportunities for Cultural Participation
New plans to make sure partnerships with schools and community organisations can meet the needs of the most socially disadvantaged children.
Expressing ourselves through culture helps us make social connections, boosts our self-esteem and well-being, contributes to the quality of buildings and places and often helps us to make sense of the world around us. We are developing a 'Culture Strategy for Scotland' in collaboration with individuals, communities and organisations across the country which will ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to take part in and contribute to culture in Scotland.
There is consistent evidence that children who are encouraged to attend and take part in cultural activities are more likely to do so as adults, compared with those who were not encouraged to do so. This remains true even when other factors such as education, gender, age, income, deprivation and area rurality are taken into account.
We will therefore work with cultural organisations and partners, in the most deprived areas of Scotland, to evaluate existing partnerships with schools and community organisations with a view to developing and expanding these to ensure they meet the needs of our most socially disadvantaged children now and in the future.
This action is part of our overall 2018-19 culture spend of almost £167 million, an increase of almost 10 per cent on 2017-18.
Aims to ensure that a person's background is not a barrier to participating in the arts. Has the potential to impact positively on the social connections, self-esteem and well-being of our most socially disadvantaged children.
New Support from the Poverty Alliance
We work closely with stakeholder organisations and experts to ensure that we have access to the best information about poverty in Scotland and that we are hearing the voices of those with lived experience of poverty.
The Poverty Alliance have been one of our partner organisations for some time, and we are pleased to have agreed a new three-year funding commitment with them, to deliver a programme of work on child poverty.
The Poverty Alliance will take forward a new policy development initiative: Get Heard Scotland.
Get Heard Scotland will see the Alliance tap into their existing strong community, voluntary and grassroots networks to help support the development of policies and proposals from the Delivery Plan, as well as local child poverty action and reporting.
This new partnership will provide clear recommendations for the Scottish Government and local partners, based on evidence from people with direct experience of poverty, and it will increase community participation in the child poverty agenda.
The Poverty Alliance will deliver this action from their currently agreed level of core funding.
Working with voluntary and grassroots networks to develop robust policies will help the Scottish Government and local partners best target future resources at tackling child poverty.
Scottish Housing Regulator
The Scottish Housing Regulator is the independent regulator of social landlords in Scotland. It safeguards and promotes the interests of nearly 610,000 tenants and over 123,000 owners who receive services of social landlords; around 40,000 people and their families who may be homeless and seek help from local authorities; and over 2,000 Gypsy/Travellers who can use official sites provided by social landlords.
The Regulator recently published a discussion paper - the first step in a review of its Regulatory Framework, setting out its emerging thinking on the future of regulation of social landlords in Scotland. The discussion paper highlights that rent affordability, value for money and cost control are becoming increasingly important for landlords and their tenants given wider economic pressures, Universal Credit rollout and objectives around child poverty. The Regulator has invited feedback from stakeholders on how it, and landlords, might present landlord rents and cost information in accessible ways, to empower tenants and help them consider whether the services they are getting represent value for money. The Regulator will reflect on this feedback and develop detailed proposals for consultation in autumn 2018.
In December 2017, the Regulator also published a special update for landlords and other stakeholders on rent affordability. It highlighted the importance of landlords setting rents in a way which ensures their continued financial viability, while at the same time protecting tenants' ability to keep paying their rent. The Regulator will continue to have a strong focus on rent affordability in the coming year.
The costs for this measure will be met through the Scottish Housing Regulator's normal operating budget.
Efforts to focus on the issue of rent affordability for tenants could help prevent future increases in housing costs, potentially impacting on all four targets.
A Role for the Children's Sector Strategic Forum in Monitoring Implementation
We will work with the children's sector to monitor cross-government delivery of the Plan.
Children in Scotland has established a Strategic Forum for senior members of the children's sector to connect, collaborate and influence the policy areas of shared concern. Ending Child Poverty is one of their key themes and throughout 2018 the Forum is working with Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government and the senior civil servant in Scotland, on a new project. This will test out a more integrated approach to Scottish Government work on delivering better outcomes for children and young people, and strengthen and deepen connections between Scottish Government Directorates and their partners in the children's sector.
We will work with the Strategic Forum, building on the work they are undertaking with the Permanent Secretary, to monitor the effectiveness of cross-government working needed to deliver this Plan. We will ensure that engagement at a senior level takes place over the coming year so that the Forum, with its expertise in children's policy, will be able to challenge and support the Scottish Government as we work towards our first progress report in 2019.
There are no direct costs for this, aside from Scottish Government staff costs.
Monitoring the effectiveness of this Plan will be invaluable in terms of providing learning for future policies and plans.