Social Renewal Advisory Board: our response

The Scottish Government’s initial response to the Social Renewal Advisory Board’s Report “If not now, when?”.

Partnership Working

What will be key to realising the true ambition of the report and Calls to Action is a further strengthening of partnerships across all sectors and communities in a collective endeavour to renew Scotland.

A Scottish Government of whatever political stripe cannot progress this work on its own. We have seen a remarkable coming together of our society, public services and communities in the response to the pandemic, but we recognise that the damage done by COVID-19 requires us to do still more. We agree with the Board that the country's recovery response needs to be driven by an overarching focus on addressing structural inequalities – shaped by poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. It needs to actively prevent harm and embed human rights to support sustainable improvement across Scotland's National Outcomes[28]. We must look at how policy development and public services can be shaped around community priorities, with active input and involvement from communities themselves, including communities of identity. This will mean fundamental changes to how things are done here.

With the scale of the challenges we face uppermost in our minds, now is the time to make sure we continue to invest in our future, our people and communities. We must not waste our energy in duplicating effort. Instead, we must take a holistic approach to this work and ensure that we identify and build upon the synergies and connections that exist elsewhere. This includes on our work on the Housing to 2040 Vision, Principles[29] and Route Map[30] and our responses to the reports from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery[31] and the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland.[32]

The report also recommends that collectively we should recommit to the preventative principles of the Christie Commission[33] to drive real change and ensure renewal happens. We agree there is an opportunity for parties to recommit, reset and reinforce our commitment to Christie, in order to cultivate conditions that ensure our public services are better placed to support our collective resilience and wellbeing in the face of current and future challenges. Local and national experiences from the last year prove that, more than ever before, Christie principles embodying prevention, partnership and empowerment provide the right recipe. Emergency response efforts have worked because local public services, third sector bodies and communities have come together to support them with speed, energy and compassion. The voices and capabilities of communities have come to the fore, while front-line staff have worked with adaptability, agility and flexibility, going beyond traditional silos in order to support each other and the communities they serve in innovative and joined-up ways.

For our part, the Scottish Government reiterates our commitment to Christie principles which we continue to apply in our own work. Many of the actions set out in this response illustrate in some way the value we place on prevention: from additional investment in our Young Person's Guarantee to help young people move positively into work; through investment to prevent digital exclusion and concerted action to minimise the risk of evictions into homelessness; to transformative collaboratives to prevent poor outcomes which we are supporting through the Social Innovation Partnership. The Scottish Government is also building preventative principles into the heart of significant current programmes. For instance, our Economic Recovery Implementation Plan[34] places wellbeing, tackling inequality and fair work at the centre of our approach to economic recovery from the pandemic. We are committed to delivering the transformative changes needed to implement the outcome of the Independent Care Review - The Promise[35], which involves taking a whole system approach to ensure people with care experience can flourish. Provision of holistic family support will be key to keeping the promise.



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