Publication - Factsheet

Place Principle: introduction

Published: 10 Apr 2019

Information about the ‘place principle’ which was developed collaboratively with a range of organisations to provide a shared context for place-based work.

10 Apr 2019
Place Principle: introduction

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 in Scotland’s regions, cities, towns, neighbourhoods, villages and islands. 

The Place Principle was developed by a wide range of cross sectoral partners to help partners’, public, third, private and community to develop a clear vision for their place.  

The principle aims to promote a shared understanding of place, and the need to take a more joined-up, collaborative approach to services and assets within a place to achieve better outcomes for people and communities. The principle is not prescriptive – rather, it encourages and enables local flexibility in responding to issues and circumstances in different places.

The Place Principle is intended to provide a collective focus to support inclusive economic growth and create places which are both successful and sustainable.

The Place Principle supports the National Performance Framework’s collective purpose for Scotland, the values and the 11 interconnected National Outcomes, for creating a more successful country through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth

The Place Principle is an enabler which helps partners and local communities unlock the NPF 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?

The Place Principle is a means to help overcome policy silos and organisational and sectoral boundaries and to strengthen cross sectoral collaboration to help maximize the combined impact of policies in places irrespective of their scale or setting.

The place principle provides a coherent focus for many differing agendas, it is a way of bringing many ideas about services, investments, resources and assets together under one roof to help shape a better here.  

It is an approach to change founded 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 simple mechanism by which to exercise local or regional accountability over decisions taken about the way resources, services and assets are directed and delivered.

Endorsement of the Place Principle makes clear our commitment to strengthening co-ordination and integration of all place based activity geared towards achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. 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.

A new place website is being planned which will include introductions to the place principle, the place standard and access to illustrative examples of innovative place based working. We will update this webpage with links to the new website upon launch.