1. The Principles of effective community planning
What we asked
Q1: The guidance identifies a series of principles for effective community planning. Do you agree with them? Should there be any others? Please explain why.
1. Part 2 of the guidance provides further detail about the principles of effective community planning; this forms a major part of the guidance. This recognises that effective community planning requires more than compliance with the duties in the Act.
2. This question sought to understand whether the principles detailed in guidance were sufficient and whether respondents considered that there should be additional principles to further support effective community planning. Respondents were asked to explain why.
3. 84 respondents replied to this question. The majority, 81 (96%) respondents indicated that they broadly agreed with the principles with a number offering further comment. 29 (35%) respondents suggested there should be others or offered revisions to existing principles.
Q1 respondent views: agreement with principles
4. Themes emerging in the responses to this question include - welcome for statements clarifying purpose of community planning and broad agreement with principles many of which are already being implemented by CPPs and partners.
Broad agreement with principles in draft guidance
5. There was a high level of support for and broad agreement with the principles as outlined in the draft guidance, particularly those which placed an emphasis upon:
- community participation
- shared leadership,
- understanding of local communities' needs, circumstances and opportunities,
- focus on key local priorities
6. Many respondents indicated that the principles reflect best practice. Some stated that they build well upon previous materials such as the Statement of Ambition which COSLA and Scottish Government agreed in 2012 and other statements issued since then.
7. A small number of respondents who supported the principles considered that there should be no more principles. Their view was that the principles described were well established and recognisable as building upon previous materials such as the Statement of Ambition which COSLA and Scottish Government agreed in 2012 and other statements issued since then from the National Community Planning Group.
8. A CPP respondent who welcomed the principles commented "we fully endorse the identified principles of effective community planning, which are consistent with the messages from the Christie Commission and are fully reflected in the work of our partnership". Another CPP respondent reflected this consistency, noting that these principles "should be recognisable concepts to those involved in community planning". A Public Body respondent stated that "the principles are clear and encourage genuine partnership working across all partners at both a strategic and operational level". A Third Sector organisation noted that "guidance embraces 'bottom-up' approaches and encourages CPPs to draw upon the local knowledge and experience of our members".
9. The 29 respondents who considered there should be more or who offered revisions replied with a wide range of views, included increased prominence or emphasis upon, for example: duties on named partners to facilitate community planning; regional and pan CPP outcomes; dispute resolution; contribution of wider partners and flexibility of local response.
10. Several respondents from across the categories noted that the important role of communities needs to be reflected throughout community planning, emphasising for example, that communities have a key role in contributing to the ambitious vision that effective leadership requires.
11. A smaller number of public and third sector respondents emphasised the potential benefits of a high level community participation plan or strategy as part of efforts to build the trust and confidence of communities so that they are meaningfully engaged and with expectations that their voices will be listened to and acted upon.
12. Many respondents welcomed the statements in support of shared leadership, with a small number indicating that such references should be more prominent. One CPP respondent in welcoming the principles captured this view by simply stating "We would especially highlight the importance of shared leadership. This has been key to [our] success". A Public Body respondent, who welcomed the section on shared leadership, also considered that "It would be helpful to also refer to the key role of 'communities/community bodies' in contributing to the setting of this vision."
13. Another Public Body respondent commented that it was crucial that shared leadership approach is translated into practical change on the ground. They considered it important that shared leadership is not simply seen as an issue for CPP Boards but is "reflected in the organisational practices and cultures of community planning partners at all levels". This chimes with comments in guidance relating to proportionate local autonomy and support at operational levels to help develop local responses.
14. There were a few CPP and local authority respondents who thought that shared leadership should be given more prominence in the guidance without offering detail as to how this should be achieved.
Understanding of local communities' needs, circumstances and opportunities
15. Many respondents from across the categories who supported the principles for effective community planning welcomed the emphasis on participation with, and accountability to local communities. Some considered this would enable them to develop flexible local responses.
16. There were strong expressions of support across categories of respondent for the National Standards for Community Engagement and other methods of participating with communities beyond consultation, as ways of supporting stronger participation by communities throughout community planning. One CPP expressed the view that whilst the Public Sector should have a supportive role in enabling community empowerment, they should not direct or control it.
17. A Third Sector respondent considered that the CPP decision making structure "should also include representatives of communities from, throughout the area of the Community Planning Partnership, to present the views and advocate on behalf of the views of communities at this strategic level, as well as within individual communities and localities."
Key local priorities
18. This was viewed by many as supporting local autonomy to determine a small number local priorities upon which they could gain traction. This was both widely recognised as building upon previous statements and was widely welcomed.
19. An NHS respondent summarised the importance of this focus for many when they noted "Key priorities: Acknowledge the important focus on where the collective effort of community planning partners and communities can add most value to improving local outcomes and tackling inequalities".
20. A CPP respondent, who fully endorsed the principles, reflected many others views when they noted that this principle provides them with the flexibility and autonomy from Scottish Government "to respond effectively to identified needs of our communities; and focus on our key priorities".
21. In contrast, a Third Sector respondent expressed "concern that this allocation of resources and attentions could lead to the detriment of other outcomes as a result" even where these were identified and prioritised by CPPs in consultation with communities. This differing view appears to express concern that where CPPs direct resources towards priorities that other non-priority areas may fare less well.
Should there be any others?
22. The majority of respondents were content with the principles as described with many indicating that reflect best practice and others stating that they build well upon previous materials.
23. The 28 respondents who considered there should be more or who offered revisions replied with a wide range of views, included increased prominence or emphasis upon, for example:
- importance and role of non-statutory partners throughout community planning;
- the duties on the named partners to facilitate community planning;
- the contribution of resources from partners to meet CPP priorities;
- flexibility and autonomy of local response;
- cognisance that some outcomes may be regional or pan CPP;
- dispute resolution amongst partners and communities;
24. A small number of respondents mainly from local authority or CPP were keen to ensure that others recognised the role of all governance partners in facilitating community planning. Formerly, under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003, it was the responsibility of the local authority alone to facilitate community planning.
25. Other examples include a small number of Public Body respondents with national or regional focus who were keen to ensure links to pan CPP area issues were emphasised. They noted that this was particularly true in the assessment of local communities' needs, circumstances and opportunities which they illustrated by means of major capital expenditure impacts across multiple CPPs.
26. A small number of Third Sector respondents requested further information about the transparency of response to engagement requests with community bodies. This request for transparency echoed wider comments from across the categories for dispute resolution processes between partners, regardless of sector or interest.
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