In the last ten days, along with the usual buzz of activity, there have been two major announcements of significance for community development in Scotland: the consultation on a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill and the new Strategic Guidance on Community Learning and Development, and we shall look at these in detail.
Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill – begin the debate
Bookings are now being taken for our conference on Thursday 28 June, from 10.45 am to 4pm, at Anniesland College, Glasgow. The conference will involve Scottish Government speakers and expert commentators, including writer on land reform Andy Wightman, and Ade Kearns of Glasgow University. But most of all it will offer a chance to debate your ideas about the proposals with a wide range of colleagues.
Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. The College is easily accessible by train from Queen Street Station, and parking is also available. Registration and refreshments will be available from 10am, and a light lunch will be provided.
POLICY AND PRACTICE DEVELOPMENTS
Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill consultation
The Scottish Government has launched its consultation on a proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill with a wide ranging consultation paper. An ‘easy read summary’ is also available.
This is described as an ‘exploratory consultation’. Speaking at the launch, Local Government and Planning Minister Derek McKay said ‘we have kept the options open and the options radical’. The consultation runs until 29 August 2012. There will then be a consultation on a draft Bill in spring 2013 with a view to legislation being ready for introduction to the Scottish Parliament in winter 2013. A Reference Group will be co-chaired by COSLA.
The proposed overall ‘policy aims’ for the Bill are that it “strengthens opportunities for communities to take independent action to achieve their own goals and aspirations and ensure communities are able to have a greater role in determining how their local public services are delivered.”
Most of the press publicity around the consultation so far has centered on issues about the transfer of land and assets to communities (see below). But there are other questions raised about enhancing the role of communities. These questions may have the potential to affect as many or more people and communities. They are in the section on ‘Strengthening Community Participation’. This starts with some questions, ones that are important but in a sense limited in scope, about participation in Community Planning and about the role of Community Councils (the Scottish Government also has a working group looking at the role of community councils).
It then throws in a few bold general ideas, including:
- Should the various existing duties on the public sector to engage communities be replaced with an overarching duty?
- Should there be a duty on the public sector to follow the National Standards for Community Engagement?
- Should there be a duty on the public sector to publish and communicate a community engagement plan?
It then looks at various areas where rights for communities might be created or strengthened: managing social housing, challenging and possibly taking over service provision, and participation in budgeting.
The following section on ‘Unlocking Enterprising Community Development’ contains a wide range of suggestions on possible changes to law on the transfer of and responsibility for land and assets. These range from the sweeping:
- Would you support a community right to buy for urban communities?
(which would presumably affect both private and public sector land sales) to consideration of the laws on Common Good land and allotment gardens. Much of the focus, however, is on the possible transfer of unused or underused public sector assets to communities.
The final section on ‘Renewing our Communities’ adds to this with the suggestion that communities might also or instead have a right to use or manage such public sector assets. The rest of this section is perhaps of less direct relevance to community development, being partly concerned with local authority powers over defective buildings, compulsory purchase etc..
The Christie Commission had recommended that the Bill should also “explore ways to promote action to build community capacity”. The new consultation acknowledges this. However it then refers to the new Strategic Guidance on Community Learning and Development and specifically the fact that “we are considering what can be done through legislation to strengthen the provision of CLD”. The conclusion is “this essentially fulfils the same goal and so this consultation does not ask about community capacity building”. We shall look at these other developments next. (The consultation does however ask “How can the third sector work with Community Planning partners and communities to ensure the participation of communities in the Community Planning process?”)
The CDAS conference on the 28 June will be the major public forum for discussion on the bill during the consultation period. The Scottish Government is keen to hear directly from community groups where possible and also asks agencies and organisations who are responding to pass on additional views from communities whenever possible. The Community Empowerment Unit can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CommEmpower. Discussions on the Bill should use the tag #scotCERB.
Legislation on Community Learning and Development in the pipeline
The idea that the Scottish Government might legislate to strengthen the existing rather diffuse and uncertain powers which allow the provision of publicly funded Community Learning and Development services has been under discussion since the publication of ‘Putting Learners at the Centre’ last autumn. As we have just seen, the consultation on a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill suggests that separate legislation is being considered, and makes it clear that this would cover the provision of community capacity building services.
The Scottish Government has further confirmed this by choosing, when launching the new Strategic Guidance to the press, to place the emphasis on the fact that “legislation for local authorities will be explored … to support the government’s commitment to provide access across the country to crucial services such as youth clubs, parenting classes, English language tuition and groups starting up social enterprises”.
Though discussions are still underway, we understand that any such legislation is likely to be along the lines of a requirement on local authorities to work with partners to assess the need for CLD provision and report on how it is to be met (not a statutory requirement to provide any particular form of service). People involved in community development will want to ensure that, if their work is meant to be included, this is made clear and explicit, and to consider whether the lack of a clear link to the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill is acceptable.
Community Learning and Development – new Strategic Guidance
The Scottish Government has issued new Strategic Guidance on Community Learning and Development, the first completely new statement of its approach to this field since ‘Working and Learning Together’ (WALT) in 2004. The Guidance is presented as being ‘for Community Planning Partnerships’, and it is clear that the government expects them to give CLD services and approaches a central role in how they achieve outcomes, and to plan strategically for their delivery. However the guidance also seeks to be clear about the wide range of sectors and organisations who have an active role, and should consider the implications of the Guidance, ranging far beyond those who currently do explicit ‘CLD’ work.
The core of the Guidance, in our reading, is firstly to present a vision of the unifying principles involved in CLD and then to emphasise their crucial significance for the reform of public services and the achievement of national outcomes, particularly through the ‘preventative’ impact of CLD work. The purpose of CLD is defined as
- “empowering people, individually and collectively, to make positive changes in their lives and in their communities, through learning”.
In a discussion at a CDAS Members’ Meeting this week, some felt that an emphasis on learning may not always be appropriate in work that supports social action. Learning it is argued, often comes from participation in social action rather than the opposite. (The fact that the very first paragraph of the guidance places it in the context of ‘reforms to post-16 learning’ is not a helpful contribution to gaining the active consent of all the necessary sectors, but that is probably of fairly short term significance).
However, the Guidance then goes on very clearly to make it clear that creating stronger communities is one of two main purposes of CLD. Though relevant to much of the National Performance Framework, its “specific focus should be:
- improved life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship
- stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities”.
This effectively replaces the threefold division of the priorities or strands of CLD into youth work, adult learning and community capacity building, familiar from WALT. A fuller list of different approaches which can be part of CLD is given later (3.4) and the first in the list is:
- “community development (building the capacity of communities to meet their own needs, engaging with and influencing decision makers)”.
Later again (4.3) comes the statement that:
- “Working with communities to realise and build on their own strengths or assets is at the core of the CLD delivery model.”
The core of the Guidance relates CLD to the ‘four pillars’ of the Government’s approach to public sector reform:
- a decisive shift towards prevention
- greater integration of public services at local level
- enhanced workforce development and effective leadership
- a sharp focus on improving performance … .
Under the heading of ‘prevention’ decision makers are urged “to make full use of CLD’s ability to:
- build an in-depth understanding of people’s needs, strengths and aspirations through sustained dialogue;
- identify issues and solutions at an early stage;
- identify barriers to participation and strategies for overcoming these;
- mobilise and support direct participation in planning and service design; and
- enable community organisations to develop their infrastructure.
Looking at partnerships, no one specific model for the delivery of CLD is laid down, but it is made clear that “each local authority should have a clearly defined framework for planning and delivering CLD, through partnership, as a key element of its reformed public services”.
The existing work of the Standards Council and others on workforce development is endorsed, and a need “to consider further the future of pre-service training” is identified.
In order to improve performance, CPPs “should ensure that CLD providers are part of the planning and reporting process supporting Single Outcome Agreements”, and the government promises to “work with partners to … develop the best unified, flexible framework possible for self-evaluation, performance management and measurement of impact …”
The current document is pitched at a strategic level and acknowledges that a lot of work now has to be done to put an implementation framework in place. This will be developed by Education Scotland and is expected to involve a wide range of partners. In addition, the government will commission Education Scotland “to provide an evaluative report on the impact of the guidance, based on inspection evidence and any other thematic evaluative activity.”
Education Scotland is currently hosting a discussion on the Guidance, with invited contributions from partners, on its ‘Engage for Education’ website. Opportunities for comment and future support materials will be available on the ‘Connect’ site. Twitter discussions can use the tag #cldguidance.
Review of Community Planning and Single Outcome Agreements: Update
The Scottish Government and COSLA have issued an update on their joint review of Community Planning and Single Outcome Agreements. They have now agreed three core proposals for implementing the previous Statement of Ambition.
- Strengthening duties on individual partners through a new statutory duty on all relevant partners, (whether acting nationally, regionally or locally), to work together to improve outcomes for local communities through participation in community planning partnerships and the provision of resources to deliver the SOA.
- Placing formal requirements on Community Planning Partnerships by augmenting the existing statutory framework to ensure that collaboration in the delivery of local priority outcomes via Community Planning and the SOA is not optional and is made as effective as possible. “That does not mean that CPPs will have to be legally constituted bodies. They will not employ staff or hold budgets, and decisions about resources will remain a matter for individual partners”.
- Establishment of a joint group at national level to provide strategic leadership and guidance to CPPs.
A ‘joint leadership event’, bringing together relevant Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers, new Council Leaders and relevant appointed chairs of public bodies took place on 12th June, to agree on next steps.
Community Planning survey results published
The results of baseline survey of all 32 Community Planning Partnerships, intended to inform the review of Community Planning, have been published. The Improvement Service carried out the survey in April. Findings include:
- The representation on CPP boards of other statutory partners is varied. Scottish Enterprise or HIE sit on 27 CPPs, members of health boards sit on 25, members of police and fire boards each sit on 18, and regional transport partnerships sit on 17.
- In addition, FE/HE institutions sit on 23 CPP boards and Skills Development Scotland sits on 18 CPP boards. Scottish Government sits on three CPP boards.
- All CPP boards include representatives of the voluntary sector, but only 50% of CPP boards include representatives of the private sector.
- Community Health Partnerships, Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships, and Community Safety Partnerships often appear not to be regarded as within the scope of Community Planning.
- While 28 CPPs (90%) have thematic groups which receive performance information on partners’ contributions to the SOA, only seven CPPs (23%) reported that they have thematic groups which significantly influence partners’ resource allocation decisions
- 20 CPPs (63%) now have localised Community Planning arrangements, although there is considerable variation in the criteria used to define these sub-areas.
- 90% of localised arrangements include community councillors and representatives of the voluntary sector.
Successful relaunch for community development network
After a number of years lying dormant and more years struggling to carry on with a few active members, it was with some trepidation that remaining members of the Scottish Community Development Network called a relaunch meeting earlier this month. The network aims to provide a meeting place and a voice for individual workers and activists involved in community development. In the event the response was overwhelming, with over 90 registrations for the event and a new committee formed with over 14 members. Enquires about the network can be directed to its new Chair, Fiona Ballantyne, email@example.com.
Specific equality duties for public authorities now in force
‘Specific duties’ regulations for Scotland have now been passed and are in force from 27 May 2012. The general equality duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and other unlawful conduct, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different protected groups. The specific duties require listed bodies (a list can be found on the Home Office website) to:
- report progress on mainstreaming the general equality duty
- publish equality outcomes and report progress in meeting them
- impact assess new or revised policies and practices as well as making arrangements to review existing policies and practices
- gather, use and publish employee information
- publish gender pay gap information and an equal pay statement
- consider adding equality award criteria and contract conditions in public procurement exercises.
- Explains the obligations of listed authorities to involve
- Explains the purpose of involvement and how this relates to the other requirements of the public sector equality duty
- Provides advice on the use of involvement in preparing equality outcomes, and other uses of involvement
- Advises on success factors and involvement methods.
Kirk report calls for reassessment of the purposes of economic activity
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has debated a report that calls for a radical reassessment of the purposes of economic activity which puts the interests of the poor first. four main priorities that it sees as being fundamental for a just and ethical economics system are:
- Reducing inequality
- Ending poverty
- Ensuring sustainability
- Promoting mutuality.
Communities and Families Fund Launched
A new fund has been launched by the Scottish Government and the Big Lottery Fund which forms the first allocation from the Scottish Government’s £50 million Early Years Change Fund. The £6m fund, for children under the age of eight, will offer grants from between £250 and £10,000 to grassroots projects which can be used to fund a number of activities that promote wellbeing and learning.
It will support local projects that will meet at least one of the following outcomes:
- Improve the quality of life of children (pre-birth to eight) through greater access to early learning, play and child and maternal health support
- Enable communities to shape and deliver support for families.
Architecture and placemaking consultation
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on a policy on architecture and placemaking for Scotland, ending 07/09/2012. The paper considers how our architecture and places can help provide a better quality of life and better position Scotland on the world stage. Two of the twelve questions asked are:
- How could the policy encourage design processes that better meet the needs of individuals and communities?
- How could the policy help build successful, resilient communities?
National Walking Strategy
The Scottish Government will produce a National Walking Strategy to maximise the number of people using walking as a mode of transport, to get active and to stay active.
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
SCDC launches LEAP online The Scottish Community Development has launched a new software package to support the use of LEAP – Learning Evaluation and Planning – the well-known participatory, outcome focused approach to planning and evaluating work with communities. The online version encourages users to ask critical questions about their project or programme, and is designed to support joint working by allowing access to shared project plans and reports among various partners and stakeholders.
SCDC is offering an initial trial period which provides you and your team with free access to the tool for three months. For more information on how you can take up this offer please visit the SCDC website, or contact SCDC on 0141 248 1924.
Grow your own Scotland The Federation of City Farms and Gardens have launched their new website - www.growyourownscotland.info - which brings together, on a single site, all the organisations and ‘grow your own’ resources available in Scotland.
Community land advice online A new website supporting the drive to make more land available to community gardening and growing groups is now available. The Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) is a UK wide initiative, designed to help tackle the lack of available land for community gardening and associated activities. The website contains a range of documents, from FAQs about community land use, to overviews of topics such as finding land, offering land to community groups, negotiating tips and information on leases and planning.
Refreshed ‘GIRFEC Guide’ The Scottish Government has issued a revised guide to ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’, which it describes as “An essential read for anyone involved or working with children and young people, including practitioners working in adult services with parents and carers. It shows how the GIRFEC Practice Model and tools can be used locally to complement your own materials and processes.”
Participation Toolkit v2 The Scottish Health Council Participation Toolkit, which was launched in November 2010, has now been updated. The second edition adds seven new tools – including After Action Reviews, Digital Stories, Emotional Touchpoints and Talking Mats.
Building Stronger Communities in Stirling A booklet ‘Building Stronger Communities‘ celebrates the range and diversity of community capacity building work across the Stirling area, with several illustrated case studies. It is one of a number of examples of resources presenting the work or outcomes of Community Learning and Development services that are presented on the CLD Managers Scotland website.
- GoWell 6th Annual Event, held on 15 March, including presentations on mixed tenure and on the lived realities of regeneration
- SURF Annual Conference, held on 29 May
- Scotttish Policy Innovation Forum: seminar “The New English Localism: How real and how relevant?” held on 30 April.
Learning is Good for your Health The Education Scotland Communities Team have updated the resource Learning is Good for your Health which is a Guide for adult learning providers on how to build relationships with their local NHS and raise awareness of adult literacies issues. Contents include information on how the NHS is organised in communities, research evidence on the link between poor health and poor literacy, possible awareness raising session plan, information on ESOL and specific learning difficulties and some case studies on the difference that adult learning has made to individual lives.
Pupils speak out about child poverty Students at St Kentigern’s Academy in West Lothian want to raise awareness of child poverty in the UK. This film captures the challenges faced by one young person living below the poverty line. St Kentigern’s is part of UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting Schools programme.
Who controls Scotland’s councils? The Improvement Service has produced a series of interactive maps showing the breakdown of political control in all Scottish local authorities.
Start your social enterprise on-line guide Social Enterprise UK has launched their online guide to setting up and running a social enterprise. It covers “everything from writing your business plan, finding investment and funding to deciding on the most suitable legal structure and governance”.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Participation Standard National Overview report NHS Boards used the Participation Standard in 2010-2011 to monitor their patient and public engagement activity, and members of the public were involved in agreeing how much progress had been made. 22 individual reports have been summarised in a National Overview, which includes examples of good practice gathered from across Scotland.
Strengths-based approaches for working with individuals A new paper from IRISS, The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services brings together much of the recent work around asset-based approaches and presents selected illustrative examples. It uses the umbrella term “strength-based approaches” to group together asset-based community approaches and more individual focused work in psychology and self-management.
Redesigning support for care leavers Another IRISS report explores the use of co-productive methods to collaboratively design and improve leaving care services.
New work on prevention In The Wisdom of Prevention the New Economics Foundation outlines the benefits of prevention for society, the environment and the financial sector. A clear case is made for shifting to a prevention model, and ways of overcoming deeply entrenched barriers are suggested.
Think tank urges remoter local government Think tank Reform Scotland has issued a report entitled, apparently without irony, “Renewing Local Democracy” in which it argues for reducing to 19 the number of Councils in Scotland. A COSLA spokesman said: “This is a disappointing report in which some of the thinking is woolly and piecemeal. It is also interesting and somewhat odd that a think tank that champions localism is trying to deny councils the opportunity to be truly local”. Meanwhile Local Government Minister, Derek Mackay, has confirmed that there will be no reorganisation of Scottish Local Authorities for the foreseeable future. He stressed that this will allow the Scottish Government and local authorities to concentrate on working collaboratively on public service reform. Some have received positively the report’s suggestions for the transfer of more powers to Community Councils.
The Silent Crisis Another contribution on the same theme comes from The Jimmy Reid Foundation. The report draws a distinction between local administration and local democracy. It concludes that local government reorganisation is unnecessary but that another layer of localised democracy is essential. It calls on Scottish Government to set up a Commission to take this proposal forward.
The commissioning culture New Philanthropy Capital has published research on Charities’ experiences of public sector commissioning. 100 large UK charities (income over £800k) responded. 73% said they are laying off staff; 63% are cutting front line services.
Equality Bulletin The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched its first bi-monthly electronic bulletin. It will report on discrimination and human rights law decisions in Scotland and Great Britain as well as developments on the Public Sector Duties. The bulleting is short, accessible and quick to digest. Click here to view and to subscribe
Rural Scotland The Rural Policy Centre at the Scottish Agricultural Centre has published Rural Scotland in Focus 2012. It covers a wide range of rural-related issues, such as changes to demography, economy and environment, the strengths of rural areas as well as the challenges they face, the roles of the voluntary, community and private sectors and the rolling out of broadband.
Happy Planet Index The New Economics Foundation released its third Happy Planet Index, which measures what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, lives for the people that live in them, within environmental limits. The 2012 HPI report ranks 151 countries of which Costa Rica comes first and the UK 41st.
Debates on human rights in Scotland SCVO invites you to a series of debates on human rights in the life and work of the third sector which it is hosting as part of the outreach of the GCU/SCVO Masters in Citizenship and Human Rights programme. Book now. Remaining dates:
- 26 June, Edinburgh, Human rights and citizenship
- 28 June, Glasgow, Human rights, poverty and the economy
Working with the Grassroots: Learning from community organisers, community development and community engagement Manchester, Thursday 28th June 2012
This policy seminar has been organised by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Third Sector Research Centre and is hosted by the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation. It will explore and compare the theoretical input around the different models and value bases of community organisers, community development and community engagement practice. Reflecting on current policy in England and the pervasive aim towards building a ‘Big Society’, it aims to further understanding of local grassroots organisations, how they operate and the challenges and issues they face. Places are limited. If you wish to attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 22nd June.
Public Consultation on Health and Social Care Integration
A programme of consultation events on the proposals for the integration of health and social care will be held across Scotland. These events will give the public a chance to learn about the Scottish Government’s proposals and discuss what this could mean for carers and users of health and social care services. More information and booking
- 4 July – Glasgow
- 5 July – Dumfries
- 19 July – Edinburgh
Engagement events on Children and Young People Bill The Scottish Government is organising a series of engagement events around Scotland to discuss proposals for a Children and Young People Bill ‘aimed at strengthening how we support children and young people and place their rights at the heart of what we do’.
- 25 July, Glasgow
- 1 August, Dundee
- 8 August, Inverness
- 22 August, Glasgow
- 4 September, Edinburgh.
Scottish Learning Festival SLF 2012 takes place on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th September in the SECC, Glasgow (with new, improved ‘CLD Village’). For information on the full SLF conference programme, and details of how to book your place, please visit the SLF website
Improving children’s life chances through early intervention Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Thursday 4 October
The theme of the Scottish Pre-school Play Association’s national conference is “The Earlier the Better: Improving children’s life chances through early intervention”. Details.