National Partnership for Culture: independent report

Recommendations from the independent National Partnership for Culture.

2. Community and place

2.1 National initiatives should be joined up and both inform and be influenced by local and regional initiatives.

The National Partnership for Culture propose that the recommendations on community and place should be taken forward by a multi-sector task force that includes representation from the following sectors: arts, heritage, education, health, community development, local authorities, regeneration, local democracy, diversity, fair work, and planning. The task force should have an independent chair and secretariat support from Scottish Government. The role of the task force would be to gather local, regional, and national intelligence, recommend policy and monitor implementation.

The Culture Strategy highlights the importance of place and the role that people, location and resources play in realising the full potential of communities across Scotland. Combining this with skills and support ensures that the capabilities are in place to build a sustainable culture infrastructure and ecology that facilitates participation in all parts of Scotland, across all organisations and regions.

The Scottish Government should commit to continuing to widen the role of culture in society, by increasing the ways people can participate in culture. This is highlighted throughout this paper with proposed initiatives in health and education and similar approaches should also be applied in community development, local democracy and regeneration (e.g. community planning, 20 minute neighbourhoods, community wealth-building and community ownership).The Scottish Government should continue to develop place-based approaches to policy making and be open to utilising resource in new ways, focusing on more strategic delivery of the benefit that culture offers to communities: for example in community development, participation in local decision making, growing social enterprise, place planning and physical regeneration initiatives.

2.2 Equity of access to culture should be prioritised at a national level to support local, grassroots delivery.

The Scottish Government should commit to developing a synergy between local, regional, and national initiatives. This requires new communication and support structures which facilitate joining up and collaboration on a national, regional, and local level to maximise the resources available and ensure that smaller, local organisations can become the sustainable infrastructure needed to support and develop local populations of freelancers and create pathways into the sector for people currently under-represented within it.

2.3 Local authorities should use culture as part of their delivery across wider local authority services.

There is clear potential for culture's role to be amplified within local authorities. It should be promoted as an asset that supports community wellbeing, fairness, and equality. There is currently significant disparity in the role culture plays within local authorities across Scotland, which is a significant barrier to realising the aspirations of the Culture Strategy across every part of Scotland.

To help support grassroots delivery and improve equity of access to culture, the Scottish Government should consider updating, resourcing, and reinstating the role of Culture Co-ordinators or Creative Community Link posts, supported by Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Museum and Galleries Scotland, ensuring there is active engagement with COSLA. Joined up strategic planning of national and community activities would be beneficial to ensure equity of provision across the country, with capacity to target as required.

The PfG commitment to define 20-minute neighbourhoods offers an opportunity for the Scottish Government to adopt an inclusive approach in integrating culture across wider local authorities. The Scottish Government should consider the power of culture to help deliver the priorities on "planning our places" with an emphasis on living locally, supporting public health and wellbeing, reducing inequality, and strengthening community resilience. This could be achieved by dedicating a percentage of funding for this commitment to culture and developing a bespoke, place-based implementation strategy at regional level. The Scottish Government should consider the National Planning Framework as an opportunity to develop this place-based approach.



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