Community Learning and Development: Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships
This guidance comes against the backdrop of the most ambitious set of reforms to post-16 learning ever undertaken in Scotland. The Government is pursuing those changes with three clear objectives in mind: to align the system more purposefully with our ambitions for jobs and growth; to improve people's life chances; and to ensure the sustainability of our system in a time of inescapable pressures on public spending.
Community learning and development (CLD) is an integral part of this story. It already plays a central part in ensuring individuals, families and communities across Scotland reach their potential through lifelong learning, mutual self-help and community organisation - and that the available support and opportunities are community-led, built around people's aspirations.
This strategic guidance clarifies our expectations of Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs), within the broad framework of public service reform, and in line with the Review of Community Planning and Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs). We expect local authorities to provide clear leadership and direction, and to drive the action needed to ensure we maximise the contribution of CLD partners in the reform of public services.
It is important to be clear about the purpose of CLD. We see it as empowering people, individually and collectively, to make positive changes in their lives and in their communities, through learning. This guidance outlines the action necessary to maximise CLD's impact, resulting in better alignment of services and optimal use of resources.
The Government's National Performance Framework sets out the strategic objectives for all public services, including those delivering CLD. CLD's specific focus should be:
1. improved life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship;
2. stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.
The implementation of this guidance must be led by CPPs, with support from Government bodies such as Education Scotland and with national and local Third Sector partners. It should form an integral part of public service reform, ensuring that Community Planning provides the vehicle to deliver better outcomes in partnership with communities.
Using an evidence based approach; reducing outcome gaps between areas; jointly prioritising outcomes; and strengthening community engagement and participation are the principles which will shape work on community planning and SOAs. This will, in turn, improve partnership working, including CLD partners, in delivering SOAs.
Evidence from a range of sources, and in particular from the inspection of learning communities, demonstrates the powerful impact of CLD on the lives of learners and communities. To secure yet further improvement, we need now to strengthen the coordination between the full range of providers, and communities themselves.
Our communities face major challenges from the wider economic outlook, falling public expenditure and our changing demographics. But Scotland cannot afford the potential consequences of high levels of youth unemployment, the decline of vulnerable communities and the challenges faced by an increasingly elderly population. This is why it is essential we build resilient communities and release the talents of people (particularly those of our young people) across Scotland. That is what this guidance aims to do.