Place Principle: introduction

Information about the ‘Place Principle’, developed with partner organisations to provide a shared context for place-based work

The Scottish Government and COSLA have agreed to adopt the Place Principle to help overcome organisational and sectoral boundaries, to encourage better collaboration and community involvement, and improve the impact of combined energy, resources and investment. 

The principle was developed by partners in the public and private sectors, the third sector and communities, to help them develop a clear vision for their place.  

It promotes a shared understanding of place, and the need to take a more collaborative approach to a place’s services and assets to achieve better outcomes for people and communities. The principle encourages and enables local flexibility to respond to issues and circumstances in different places.

The Place Principle supports the National Performance Framework’s collective purpose for Scotland.

It helps partners and local communities unlock the National Performance Framework and make it applicable to where and how they live and work.

What does the Place Principle say? 

We recognise that:

  • Place is where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose, and is at the heart of addressing the needs and realising the full potential of communities. Places are shaped by the way resources, services and assets are directed and used by the people who live in and invest in them
  • A more joined-up, collaborative, and participative approach to services, land and buildings, across all sectors within a place, enables better outcomes for everyone and increased opportunities for people and communities to shape their own lives.

The principle requests that:

  • all those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place need to work and plan together, and with local communities, to improve the lives of people, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and create more successful places.

We commit to taking:

  • a collaborative, place-based approach with a shared purpose to support a clear way forward for all services, assets and investments which will maximise the impact of their combined resources.

What does it mean for partners?

We face significant challenges, fiscal, demographic and socio-economic. More of the same won’t do. We must adopt a more common-sense approach that focuses on what is important: people and communities. To maximise the impact of our combined resources we must work better together. 

Implementation of the Place Principle requires a more integrated, collaborative and participative approach to decisions about services, land and buildings. 

The principle is a way of bringing ideas about services, investments, resources and assets together under one roof.  

It is an approach to change based upon a shared understanding of what that place is for and what it wants to become with partners and communities collaboratively agreeing the joint actions required to make that happen and doing them.

It provides communities and partners with a way to exercise local or regional accountability over decisions taken about the way resources, services and assets are directed and delivered.

We endorse the Place Principle because we are committed to strengthening the co-ordination and integration of all place based activity. This means we will:

  • consider the benefits of planning, investment and implementation activity at the regional level of place - where that focus could drive faster rates of sustainable and inclusive economic growth
  • ensure that place based work at the local or regional level being led by Scottish Government and its agencies is taken forward in a way that is integrated between both levels of place and cognisant of all complementary work being taken forward in associated policy areas
  • exemplify the behaviours reflecting the core of the principle, working and planning together with our partners and local communities to improve the lives of people, support inclusive growth and create more successful places

Examples of tools, resources and applications

  • Place standard is a tool designed to support communities, public, private and third sectors to work efficiently and effectively together to assess the quality of a place. 
  • USP Your Town Audit provides the standard benchmark for measuring the health of a Scottish Town
  • The Planning for Place programme at the Improvement Service supports local authorities apply the place principle and collaborate on place based approaches.
  • Scotland’s Centre for Regional Inclusive Growth (SCRIG) which seeks to drive improvements to grow the economy sustainably and inclusively throughout our economy and across all of our regions.
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