7. Fairness Pledges
It takes all of us to build a Fairer Scotland – that's why the Fairer Scotland Action Plan included Fairness Pledges from a range of organisations across society. This chapter provides an update from pledgers on the progress they've made over the past 12 months.
The Carnegie UK Trust pledged to work to improve access to affordable credit.
"This year has seen a significant increase in support and understanding of affordable credit as part of an anti-poverty solution. This has brought real results for citizens, with more providers lending to more people in need in Scotland. Scotland is being recognised by partners from around the UK as being in the vanguard of tackling the problems of access to affordable credit and financial exclusion, with the Trust working closely with actor Michael Sheen to help his End High Cost Credit Alliance replicate approaches which are seeing results in Scotland.
We launched the £1 million Affordable Credit Loan Fund to be made available to not-for-profit credit providers to lend to more of the poorest communities in Scotland. The Scottish Government has matched this £1 million, doubling the size of the fund, through a commitment in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. The Fund is being managed by Social Investment Scotland.
We launched Speaking out for Fair Credit, a short film highlighting the positive impact not-for-profit lenders can have on borrowers' lives, featuring narration by Michael Sheen and testimony from customers who have been helped by some of the UK's affordable lenders.
Conduit Scotland, the new affordable credit lender serving Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk council areas, supported by a unique consortium of these local authorities, has had a successful first year of trading. Nearly 1,000 loans have been issued to local people, who report a 99% satisfaction with the service.
Following last year's successful expansion into Edinburgh, Scotcash has continued to grow their reach through a series of successful TV marketing campaigns and the development of an online lending offer to the whole of the UK, winning them the Responsible Lender and Alternative Lender of the Year accolades at the UK Credit awards.
We have published three major pieces of research to continue to build understanding of affordable credit challenges. Repay Right is an exploration of young people's experience of and attitude towards credit and debt by Young Scot. Payday Denied, undertaken by Coventry University and Toynbee Hall on behalf of the Trust, examines where customers who are declined high cost credit go to meet their borrowing needs; while Use of Credit and Financial Resilience is a deep dive analysis by Ipsos MORI of the saving and borrowing habits of people in Scotland. In addition, we commissioned an ambitious review of the UK personal lending CDFI sector to identify the actions required to deliver a step change to £200 million of operationally sustainable lending by the sector by 2027.
We supported a new Credit Union Consortium to help more of Scotland's workforces benefit from credit union membership via their employer. We are doing this by supporting the appointment of a new Employer Engagement Officer shared by East Kilbride Credit Union, Castle Community Bank, Kingdom Community Bank, 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union and West Lothian Credit Union.
The Trust-convened Affordable Credit Action Group, led by the Very Reverend John Chalmers, has continued to provide strategic and advisory support towards the expansion of affordable credit in Scotland. Following this lead, stakeholders in Wales have now established a similar group to advance Welsh activities in this area."
Corra Foundation (previously known as Lloyds TSB Foundation For Scotland) pledged to help the Scottish Government support innovative approaches to tackling poverty and deprivation. As well as continuing to be a thoughtful grant-maker, they would work differently to reach the communities that historically have accessed very little charitable funding.
"The past 12 months have been a period of significant development for Corra Foundation, the People in Place programme, and communities we are working alongside. Corra Foundation has continued our commitment to getting alongside communities and developed new, interconnected People in Place programme elements that contribute to a Fairer Scotland.
Getting Alongside Communities: Community Co-ordinators are now established in nine communities identified through an innovative approach to working where traditional grant funding has not historically reached: Cumnock in East Ayrshire; Fernhill in South Lanarkshire; Carbrain in North Lanarkshire; Castlehill in West Dunbartonshire; Blacklands in North Ayrshire; Dunterlie in East Renfrewshire; Bainsford and Langlees in Falkirk; Buckhaven and Methil in Fife.
Key aspects of our work alongside communities include:
- Supporting communities to access the agenda free spaces required to develop new ideas and activities.
- Providing a key brokerage role within communities (between local people and groups) and between communities and wider stakeholders.
- Building trust and relationships required to support communities to have a voice in local decision making.
- Empowering local people and communities to identify and translate ideas into action, for example, community actions plans, environmental improvement, parent and toddler groups, community events, growing and sharing food, creative and social history groups.
Appetite for Change: After developing our Getting Alongside Communities team, we began to be approached by places, outwith our initial communities, who wanted to collaborate with us to develop innovative place-based approaches. In response to this demand we created the Appetite for Change programme and are currently developing partnerships, and new investment, to take this work forward.
Place-based Working Project: Funded by Scottish Government, this project aims to improve place-based working in Scotland. It brings together organisations from across the third, private and public sectors, supports collaboration and is currently working towards development of a knowledge hub and a place leadership summit in autumn 2018."
Dundee Partnership – Dundee City Council have pledged to take forward all recommendations of the Dundee Fairness Commission.
The Cost of the School Day project has completed its first year of work in 11 primary schools, two secondary schools and two early years' centres. Its key recommendations for schools and the council address many aspects of school, including breakfast clubs, school lunches, uniform, school trips and homework. The full report was presented to the Council's Children and Families Committee in June 2018. Already, the Council has adopted four Cost of the School Day pledges. Phase two of the project is underway and will focus predominantly on supporting schools to adopt and implement action plans to remove school costs and address other financial barriers that stop children and families fully participating in the opportunities that school life offers.
Dundee Fighting for Fairness (the second Dundee Fairness Commission) was established in June 2017 bringing together 24 Commissioners on a regular basis - 12 with personal experience of poverty and 12 with influence across various sectors in the city. After hearing Commissioners' personal stories, the Commission identified three key areas of focus: Mental Health through the Lens of Poverty; People and Money; and Stigma. Working Groups were formed to allow the Commission to take conversations out to others before identifying challenges and exploring practical solutions. The Commission had an early success by influencing the preparations for the recruitment of front-line staff to be employed by the new Social Security Scotland agency to be headquartered in Dundee. The commission launched its Dundee Fighting for Fairness report and recommendations on 29 November 2018 and Community Commissioners have presented these to the Dundee Partnership and the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government in December 2018.
Inclusion Scotland pledged to seize every opportunity to ensure that disabled people are full included in the delivery and future development of all aspects of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan.
"Inclusion Scotland has continued to help ensure that the voices of disabled people inform the development of the new Scottish social security system. We collected disabled people's views to inform the evidence we provided duringthe Social Security Act's passage through Parliament. We also worked with officials and MSPs to improve the legislation. Changes we helped secure include a right to advocacy support for disabled people claiming social security assistance, a right to be paid in cash, the adoption of inclusive communication standards and the ending of unnecessary face-to-face medical assessments.
We have also continued to be involved in the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group – our CEO is Deputy Chair – and several other social security stakeholder groups. Other key areas of activity have included securing changes to the Child Poverty Bill and we have worked in partnership with the EHRC on their inquiry into accessible housing and publicised the issue via national press and media work.
On employment, we ran a social media campaign (#myworkstory) to gather disabled people's experiences of recruitment and employment. Employment was the theme of our Annual Summit, Situations Vacant. This shifted the focus away from employability, which focuses on disabled people's perceived inadequacies to employer's 'employer-ability' – to recruit and retain us. The Summit report contains 27 solutions from disabled people to improve our chances of employment. These informed a major Scottish Government Congress on disabled people's employment. We have also continued our programme of internships for disabled people, focusing primarily on placements within the Scottish Parliament, third and public sectors. We are currently piloting an expansion of this programme into the private sector.
Building on the success of our Parliamentary Internships and the Access to Elected Office Fund, which we administer on behalf of The Scottish Government, we worked with the main Scottish political parties to develop an Access to Politics Charter. This is designed to enable more participation by disabled people in political activities leading, in the longer term, to their greater representation as candidates and elected members. The Charter was launched at an event in the Scottish Parliament where all five of the main parties' Parliamentary leaders signed it and pledged their parties' support.
We have been working to inform our members of opportunities to participate in local decision-making and budgeting. Our Highlands/Localisation project has also been successful in promoting disabled people's involvement in community planning. In the coming year, our People-Led Policy project will enable how people who use adult social care support to be actively involved in developments can be directly involved in decision-making around social care policy and implementation.
We worked with a UK-wide coalition of Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations in participating in the examination of UK and devolved Governments in Geneva on their implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. The coalition of groups was described by the UN's Rapporteur as the real leaders in disability rights whilst the UK Government were condemned for presiding over a "human catastrophe". We will continue to work with the UK Coalition and Scottish Government to progress the delivery of disabled people's human rights and establish means through which disabled people can monitor progress.
We also brought together disabled people, academics, service providers and decision makers to explore the implications of Brexit for disabled people and to identify solutions. We then produced a Statement of Principles to inform disabled people and decision-makers about what needs to happen to preserve and progress our rights post-Brexit."
Joseph Rowntree Foundation pledged to set out their strategy to solve poverty in common with the Fairer Scotland Action Plan through a range of actions.
"JRF is in the process of becoming a social change organisation. We will do so by developing our social investment work and supporting the direct participation of people with lived experience of poverty, as well as continuing to publish independent research evidence on the changing face of poverty in Scotland and across the UK.
We have committed £1.75 million to our social investment work in Scotland, as well as GB-wide funding which benefits people experiencing poverty in Scotland. We want to help build practical solutions to poverty – for example, we are part of the Fair by Design coalition which aims to end the poverty premium in key goods and services within a decade. We are co-investors alongside the Scottish Government in Our Power which has helped more than 24,000 social housing tenants to make substantial savings on their energy bills. We are supporting Fair For You which targets the high-cost rent-to-buy market by offering white goods and home essentials at an affordable price, saving customers more than £500 on average per item. This is a GB-wide service proving popular in Scotland, in part due to remote and rural areas having the same access and costs as urban areas.
We are investing to reduce financial exclusion, by partnering with Carnegie UK Trust and Social Investment Scotland to boost access to affordable credit for low-income households.
On fair work, we are investing in Glasgow Together which directly employs people with an offending history in construction jobs, paid at the living wage.
And on affordable housing, we are supporting a pilot fund for Housing First in Edinburgh for people with multiple, complex needs to secure housing and personalised support in the community.
JRF funded the catalyst role in the Building Connections demonstration project in Glasgow. This tested the embedding of advice on social security payments, debt, childcare, apprenticeships, mental health and English language support in two GP surgeries and two Job Centres. Findings published at the start of 2018 showed more than 700 residents being referred to advice agencies (more than 80% of them for the first time), resulting in £1.2 million worth of financial gain through take-up of social security and reduction in debt costs. There are valuable implications for the Scottish Government's commitment to introduce a Financial Health Check for families."
NHS Health Scotland pledged to help the Scottish Government in its ambition to end child poverty in Scotland.
"We continue to provide public health leadership and advocacy on the impact of child poverty on health and wellbeing and what action that can be taken to tackle it, for example, through the Children and Young People Public Health Group and by contributing to the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017, the Scottish Government's Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, the Scottish Government's local child poverty action report guidance and Best Start Grant.
We are working in partnership with the Improvement Service and the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit to provide practical evidence, evaluation, analytical and facilitation support to local areas producing child poverty action plans as part of the Act, working with and through local partnerships. Our contribution to date includes a suite of child poverty briefings, a sample outcomes planning tool and case studies on local action.
We continue to progress efforts to embed financial inclusion within universal NHS services. Our work with the Scottish Health Promotion Managers Group to further develop financial inclusion referral pathways between midwifery, health visiting and advice services has resulted in a mapping report of current activity in Scotland with recommendations and the creation of an action plan. The Scottish Government included reference to this work in their Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan and invited us to submit a successful proposal on how the £500,000 allocated fund should be used, namely through NHS Board Public Health. This resource provides a contribution to the approach that will allow local leadership and ownership for the actions that are required to be tailored to local circumstances but focusing on creating capacity, developing the workforce and negotiating additional capacity with local advice service providers. We have also been providing advisory support to the Scottish Government funded Welfare Advice Services Professional to promote the embedding of advice services in general practice. A series of films has been produced to explain these different models.
We are leading the Facing up to Child Poverty in Schools Practice Network with local authority representatives and partners to strengthen local partnership action on efforts to scale up efforts across Scotland to address the cost barriers of school. It provides a forum for peer support, learning and improvement around adoption of poverty-proofing approaches and practice, and engages with other national partner organisations to progress required action at a national level. A series of films to promote this activity have been produced.
We have been working with the Poverty Alliance to establish a structure for a new poverty learning hub. This will host pre-existing learning materials on poverty with an emphasis on stigma and discrimination. We are working with relevant staff from across public services to help refine the content and co-produce supplementary learning materials. We aim to launch the poverty learning hub on our Virtual Learning Environment at the end of March 2019."
The Poverty Truth Commission (PTC) pledged to ensure that people experiencing poverty are at the heart of work to overcome it.
"The PTC has continued to work to ensure that people experiencing poverty are at the heart of work to overcome it. The fourth round of the Commission (bringing together people experiencing poverty with others who can influence policy and attitudes for an 18 month period) came to a close in June 2018, and concentrated on mental health, asylum and benefits cuts and assessments. Further details of the work and recommendations can be found in our final report.
Building on the work and experiences of the previous four Commissions, in autumn 2018 we will be planning where our future work will focus and, looking at what we have learned over the last 10 years and where we would like to go in the future, ensuring that we are a movement for change led by people with experience of poverty.
We continue to talk with and support the new PTC style conversations and look forward to learning from each other in the coming year."
The Prince's Trust Scotland pledged to expand Mosaic, their new mentoring programme for BME young people who are growing up in the most deprived communities.
"The Prince's Trust Scotland has pledged to support 150,000 vulnerable young people by 2030 to overcome significant barriers and have increased access to education, training and employment opportunities.
Our Mosaic mentoring programme creates opportunities for young people from black and ethnic minorities who are growing up in our most deprived communities. In 2017, we worked across four high schools, and supported 277 young people to boost their confidence, self-efficacy and long-term employability. Next year we aim to support 300 young people in four to six schools.
Our education programme, Achieve, supports those disengaged with school to equip them with the confidence, skills and a qualification to re-engage in education, training or employment. Last year we worked in partnership with 1,730 young people, and we aim to expand this to just over 2,000 in Scotland this year."
Timewise And Family Friendly Working Scotland (Working Families) pledged to produce the first ever Flexible Jobs Index for Scotland and to encourage employers to adapt to flexible recruitment
"Following publication of the first Flexible Jobs Index for Scotland, Timewise has committed to work with the Scottish Government again to publish an updated index in 2020. This will analyse whether progress has been made to increase the ratio of quality jobs advertised as open to flexible or part time working at the point of hire which, in 2017, was only 12%. The new index will highlight whether employers are beginning to apply flexible working to the hiring process to capitalise on the talent and skills of many candidates who can only consider jobs that offer flexibility. To date, 52 Scottish employers are actively using the Happy to Talk Flexible Working logo and guidelines. FFWS intends to grow this number to 75 employers in financial year 2019-2020.
Timewise also ran a series of workshops for two Scottish Government directorates to enhance their approach to flexible working as a key public sector employer."
Virgin Money pledged to do its best to make banking fairer and more accessible for the people of Scotland by building a bank that aims to treat its customers fairly through helping with financial inclusion and tackling diversity.
"Virgin Money has continued to support Scotcash, the ethical lender, to grow its operation in Edinburgh as well as Glasgow. Since our partnership with Scotcash was launched two years ago, we have helped around 250 Scotcash customers without access to their own bank accounts to open basic bank accounts.
We have continued to lead on the UK Government's Women in Finance initiative and 273 firms (almost double the 2017 number) have now signed up to the Women in Finance Charter to promote gender equality in financial services firms in Scotland and across the UK.
In addition, on the important subject of fairer access to further and higher education for all students regardless of background, former Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia chaired the Independent Review into Student Support in Scotland. The review's report, A New Social Contract for Students, was published in November 2017 and was well received.
In the field of Education, Virgin Money is a committed member of Business in the Community Scotland and has led on various projects, including the Children's Neighbourhoods Scotland pilot in Dalmarnock, Glasgow (working with the University of Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and other stakeholders). Virgin Money volunteers are also helping to extend the excellent MCR Pathways mentoring scheme from Glasgow secondary schools to those in Edinburgh.
Finally, Virgin Money is providing significant expertise and resource to the
the Cultural Cities Enquiry which launched across the UK earlier this year and has convened in Glasgow. Part of remit of the project is to encourage the regeneration of deprived areas of our cities through new culture projects, so encouraging fairer access to culture in our society."
Working Families pledged to help the Scottish Government build a fairer Scotland by sharing their experience of working with and supporting SMEs to introduce flexible working.
"We have concluded our work with employers on our project in Wales, and are finalising our toolkit for SME employers and will launch this in Jan 2019. Employers have asked for easy to access, digestible and targeted practical resources, and we will align our materials with their requirements to maximise uptake."
Young Scot pledged to use the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and its built in smart-technology to connect young people to services and opportunities.
"We continue to use and develop the capabilities of the Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC) and smart-tech to tackle inequalities; working with partners in the Scottish Government, Improvement Service, Transport Scotland and NECPO to further develop the Young Scot NEC smartcard technology to deliver new opportunities to young people.
We are working to deliver smart, widespread capabilities and applications to enable enhanced entitlements, smart transport, opportunities and services – all without stigma for the young person. This includes new local and national entitlement packages connected to our work on the poverty related attainment gap and support for young carers.
The ongoing collaboration with the Improvement Service has made significant progress and is now moving at pace. The programme of work aims to utilise digital and mobile technology to deliver information and services to the 700,000 Young Scot NEC holders, focusing on the best application and delivery methods for those young people who face additional challenges.
Using the smart infrastructure behind the Young Scot NEC, the partnership aligns to the Scottish Government's aims of tackling inequalities and of reducing poverty across Scotland, Scotland's Digital Future Strategy and Transport Scotland's Smart and Integrated Ticketing Strategy.
Our strategic partnership with Scottish Government supports the development of enhanced entitlements to tackle the attainment gap in Scotland and for young carers.
We are currently working with Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Highland local authorities to deliver entitlements covering food provision, transport and leisure through the Young Scot NEC. These entitlements, as well as Young Scot's information, discounts and rewards, are helping to remove potential barriers to learning for young people who have faced disadvantage or poverty.
We are establishing a Young Carers Vision Panel, which will support development of a package of non-cash entitlements for young carers, delivered using the Young Scot NEC and our digital services. This project is currently in the co-design phase and delivery of the entitlements will start in 2019."
Youthlink Scotland pledged to support the Scottish Government's aims of ensuring "A Fairer Scotland for All" and "A Strong Start for All Young People" by supporting the significant contribution that youth work makes to equality and the realisation of young people's human rights.
"In partnership with Education Scotland, we have trained 40 people who will go on to train other practitioners (who work with young people) in the development of human rights based policy and practice. We have also delivered an Introduction to Children's Rights session to 16 practitioners in Orkney and 21 people in North Ayrshire. We have jointly delivered a Children's Rights session with the Scottish Youth Parliament to YOYP 2018 young ambassadors.
We offer Under Pressure training in partnership with Zero Tolerance Scotland, through which we have trained 26 people who will go on to train other practitioners to work with young people to prevent teen abuse, exploitation and promote healthy relationships. We have supported the establishment and expanded the membership of the Scottish Equalities in Youth Work Steering Group from eight to 23 members. The group also act as an expert panel for the ALL IN inclusive youth work training project.
ALL IN training on inclusive youth work is scheduled to be delivered to its first international cohort in August 2018 and in autumn 2018, the training will be cascaded to youth work practitioners in Scotland. In February 2019, YouthLink Scotland will host an event showcasing the training which will include best practice examples of inclusive youth work.
On 14 May 2018, we launched the Action on Prejudice website, a one-stop shop for young people and youth work practitioners to find information, support and resources to tackle prejudice in their communities. The website was created with input from 18 young people through consultation groups. In the first two months since its launch, the website was accessed by 577 users. We are now working towards the development of a hate crime prevention toolkit which will be co-designed by young people as a peer education tool.
We have partnered with Sense Over Sectarianism to deliver CPD training to teachers and CLD workers on anti-sectarianism resources quality assured by Education Scotland. The training has been offered to schools, youth work organisations and local authorities across Scotland.
With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with the National Library of Scotland, over the last year through the Youngwummin project we have trained and supported 10 early career youth workers and 44 young people from five youth groups across Scotland to use youth-led research to examine the impact of WW1 on young women in Scotland. This has culminated in a three month exhibition of the young people's findings at the National Library of Scotland between June and September 2018."
Email: Daniel Paterson