POLICY AND PRACTICE DEVELOPMENTS
First Minister’s Priorities Speech
In the First Minister’s Priorities Speech to Parliament she said:
“The final theme I want to talk about today is empowerment and democratic accountability. Within this parliament, we will work constructively to improve the way in which government is held to account. I have already made proposals that seek to do just that. More broadly, we will seek to empower individuals and communities. Across our country for example, at a time when the UK government is still considering repeal of the Human Rights Act, we will take a different approach. We will work with civic Scotland to establish a set of social and economic rights for all of Scotland’s citizens. By valuing and strengthening human rights, we can empower citizens and encourage better government.
And we will devolve more power to local communities. We will work with local authorities to review their roles and responsibilities and get more powers into the hands of communities. As a first step, over the course of the parliament, we will increase participatory budgeting across local authorities to at least 1% of all council spending. We will also introduce an Islands Bill to give new powers to our island communities.
And we will continue our work to get more land into community ownership and make land ownership more transparent. The Land Reform Act, passed at the end of the last Parliament, provides a strong basis for taking our land reform agenda forward and I can confirm today that over the summer we will progress our commitment to introduce a mandatory public register of controlling interests in landowners”.
Planning Review Report
The Scottish Government has published the independent Planning Review Report Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places. The section which deals most directly with the community empowerment agenda is Chapter 8. pp35-39 It argues that “The evidence shows that the planning system is not yet effective in engaging, let alone empowering, communities”. It recommends:
43. There should be a continuing commitment to early engagement in planning, but practice needs to improve significantly.
44. Communities should be empowered to bring forward their own local place plans, and these should form part of the development plan. [“…this may emerge from community planning as locality plans, or could be driven by land reform or charrettes. … Communities should also go beyond plan preparation and be supported to actively enable their delivery….”]
45. Community councils should be given a statutory right to be consulted on the development plan. [“This right should bring with it a responsibility to demonstrate that the wider community, including young people, have been involved. …”]
46. We are not persuaded that third party rights of appeal should be introduced. […” We believe that using time and resources to focus on improved early engagement would provide much greater benefits”].
47. A working group should be established to identify barriers to greater involvement in planning, taking account of measures contained in the Community Empowerment Act and the Land Reform Act. [“… during this review we saw little evidence that disabled people, young people, minority ethnic groups, or disadvantaged communities are being effectively and routinely involved in the planning system…”].
48. A new statutory right for young people to be consulted on the development plan should be introduced.
Procurement law takes effect
The sustainable procurement duty and community benefit requirements introduced in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 take effect on 1st June 2016. More detailed information can be found in the statutory guidance.
The sustainable procurement duty requires contracting authorities to think about how they can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of their area before they purchase anything, and has a particular focus on reducing inequality. It also requires a contracting authority to consider how its procurement processes can facilitate the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported business and how public procurement can be used to promote innovation.
The community benefits requirement requires a contracting authority to consider including community benefit requirements for all regulated procurements where the estimated value of the contract is equal to or greater than £4 million.
Negotiated sales of land to communities
A range of additional rights for communities who may wish to purchase land are provided in recent legislation. However using these rights can be more onerous, for both landowners and communities, than reaching a sale via negotiation. Community Land Scotland has published a joint protocol with Scottish Land and Estates which is designed to ease some of the strain involved in negotiated sales.
Review of enterprise and skills agencies
A review of Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies has been announced by Economy Secretary Keith Brown. He will chair a review group looking at roles, responsibilities and relationships of enterprise, development and skills agencies.
Review of NHS targets system
A review of the NHS targets system, to align them more closely with the focus on patient outcomes and the shift towards delivering care in community-based settings has been announced.
The Scottish Community Alliance has provided a list of who’s who on which Scottish Parliament committee and the latest organogram of the civil servant team in the Third Sector Division.
Community Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The International Association for Community Development (IACD) has decided that support for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be its main area of priority over the coming years. They have issued a draft Position Statement, emphasising that the Goals will be far harder to reach without prior and ongoing community development work that assists citizens at a local level, together with communities of identity, to participate as active and informed partners in their implementation. Comments are invited.
NICE Community engagement: Improving health and wellbeing
NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which issues guidance on health standards primarily in England, but which are referred to throughout the UK, has existing Guidance on ‘Community engagement: improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities’. It is now about to consult on a ‘Community engagement: Improving health and wellbeing’ Quality Standard. The consultation will run from Monday 25 July 2016 to Monday 22 August 2016.
A Fair Way To Go
‘A Fair Way to Go’, published by the Dundee Fairness Commission, is a research-based report providing recommendations for tackling poverty and inequality within Dundee. Many of the concerns and recommendations for reducing poverty in the city may also be highly relevant for organisations working towards social justice across Scotland. It has been usefully summarised by SURF, and the full report is available here.
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Scottish Justice Matters: Hooray for Communities Can we learn from community development experience as we develop new approaches to community justice? This is the question asked by an article written by Fiona Garven, Director of SCDC and Justina Murray, Chief Officer of South West Scotland Community Justice Authority. The article, published in the June issue of Scottish Justice Matters, notes:
“With the current redesign of community justice claiming “community lies at the very heart of the new model” (Scottish Government, 2014), we should reflect on what this means for communities and how far they hve the motivation and capacity to respond. We need to explore how far the language of community is helpful in relation to justice, and if the time is right for a new national conversation on what this means.”
Libraries in Regeneration In a SURF blog, Ken McKinlay former Head of Education at East Renfrewshire Council, argues that Scotland’s public libraries, regularly overlooked by the regeneration community, offer a wealth of potential and assets that can be effectively aligned with town centre action plans and other strategies.
CHEX-Point Newsletter – issue 50 The Community Health Exchange’s CHEX-Point Newsletter has reached its 50th issue, in which they look back at the progress community-led health has made, examine where we are now and look at future opportunities
Communities driving the agenda through action research A group of people from community organisations, non-government organisations, funding bodies, academia and Scottish Government met to talk about action research as a process and a tool. They focused on how communities and community organisations might be supported to conduct their own inquiries into the issues that affect them, and how they might be supported to use their own evidence to influence change. The resulting report provides the background for community-led action research, as well the current context and potential for its development across communities in Scotland.
New social security powers The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has published a briefing paper to give an overview of the new social security powers that will be devolved to Scotland under the Scotland Act 2016.
IACD webinar: Community capitals and migration IACD has produced a presentation based upon a webinar led by IACD member Cornelia Flora, Emeritus Distinguished Professor at Iowa State University. Dr Flora discussed the recent migration issues faced by the USA and Europe using the community capitals framework.
How can rural communities work well for older people? In this article, Anne Connor – Chief Executive of Out of the Box – describes their work to find out how rural communities can work well for older people.
Brochure highlights European rural projects The ‘Smart and Competitive Rural Areas‘ brochure from the European Network for Rural Development has examples of innovative projects delivering results on the topics of rural broadband, digital access to market, farm modernisation and more.
Community Lover’s Guide The Community Lover’s Guide ‘is an open source platform supported by a large network of editors and projects from across the world’ which showcases community initiatives.
New banking guidance for charities OSCR has been working with the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Charity Finance Group (CFG) and other partners to produce guidance aimed at supporting charities and other voluntary organisations with their banking arrangements. The new guidance is aimed at charity trustees and managers, providing information on choosing and opening the right bank account, understanding banking charges and fees, and how to switch accounts
Guide to proportionate evaluation Third sector consultancy NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) has produced a guide ‘Balancing act: A guide to proportionate evaluation‘ to “help you think through what proportionate and meaningful evaluation design looks like for your organisation”.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – A Guide for Children and Young People The Children & Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has produced a booklet, in partnership with the Scottish Government, explaining the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to children and young people. Email here to order a free copy of the booklet.
LGBT people and public services Stonewall Scotland has produced a good practice guide on how public services should be fit for everyone and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (or transgender) (LGBT) people should experience the same level of service as everyone else.
Event Report: Housing and homelessness – where now for service user involvement? Members of the Scottish Co-production Network came together with people involved in housing and homelessness groups, networks and services to talk about new ways to develop meaningful service user involvement of people with lived experience of homelessness. A core group will hopefully form to take on the work and keep the momentum going. You can read the full report of the day here.
Australian Code of Ethics The Australian Community Workers Association have published their Code of Ethics and Practice Standards.
Mapping Where Immigrants Settle Interactive maps of the whole of the UK at census small area level identify the most and 2nd most common country of birth of residents (excluding each local UK country), wherever these exceed 8% or 10 people.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Insights into Key Equality Outcomes Figures for local areas and equality groups analysed over a three year period have been released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The Scottish Surveys Core Questions draw data from the three major Scottish surveys (Health, Household and Crime & Justice) into one output. Findings include:
- There are continuing strong associations between deprivation and a range of poorer outcomes, such as poor self-assessed general health, prevalence of smoking and disability and lower levels of mental wellbeing.
- However in 2012-2014, adults in the 20% most deprived areas were increasingly likely to report that the crime rate in their local area has stayed the same or fallen.
- Those in the most deprived areas are, compared to the Scottish population as a whole, more likely to be:
- Under 35
- From “White: Polish” or from “all other” ethnic groups (which include people identifying as African, Caribbean or Black, Arab, mixed or multiple ethnic group or “Other”)
- Roman Catholics
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & other orientation
- Those born in the wider EU or UK but not Scotland report higher levels of good or very good health and have higher mental well-being scores than those born in Scotland. This is not an effect of the different age profiles in these groups.
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and other sexual orientations report poorer levels of general health and lower mental wellbeing scores compared to heterosexuals.
Identity and Equality in Multicultural Britain Opinium’s latest report looks into whether we have become comfortable with a multicultural society. It suggests that we think we have become more tolerant as a country, and this appears to be reflected in the hopes and beliefs of ethnic minorities. Just under half (48%) of White Britons think that the United Kingdom has become a less racist country in that time, with a similar proportion of ethnic minorities (46%) agreeing.
For almost three quarters (72%) of White Britons the country in which they live in is the single most important part of their identity. However, for many ethnic minorities there are other layers which affect their sense of identity, as half consider their religion or ethnicity to be the most important part of their identity, compared to only 10% of White Britons
Similarly, what it means to be British and what makes you proud differs in many ways. White Britons often concentrate on some of the more traditional aspects of being British (such as British humour and the English language) while ethnic minorities were much more likely to focus on aspects of modern British society such as multiculturalism.
However, all, regardless of their heritage, equally seem to share a pride in individual freedom and democracy.
Faith-based charities Third sector consultancy NPC have established a programme of research on faith-based charities in the UK. A new paper looks at the income of faith-based charities, the areas they work in, and how long established they are, putting this in the context of non faith-based charities and the sector as a whole.
Impact & value of Community Benefit Clauses in procurement contracts This report draws on data from a large scale e-survey of public organisations and in-depth analysis of 24 individual contracts. The research demonstrates the link between community benefits and the National Performance Framework.
Heritage, health and place: The legacies of local community-based heritage conservation on social wellbeing This paper examines the personal motivations and impacts associated with people’s growing interest in local heritage groups. The findings reveal a rich array of positive benefits on the participants’ social wellbeing with/ in the community.
Role of signposting in improving health and wellbeing The ALLIANCE has published a new ‘thinkpiece’ document ‘Developing a Culture of Health’ to highlight the potential of signposting and set out examples of how this approach is making a difference for people accessing support and services across Scotland.
Signposting is a term used to refer to linking people with non-medical sources of support and there is a growing body of evidence about the benefits of this approach within primary and secondary care, the third sector and beyond. The report sets out that being linked to the right support, in the right place at right time can change lives and improve outcomes at both individual and system levels.
However these benefits are not yet fully realised across the nation. The report calls for signposting to be regarded as part of a long term, whole system approach rather than a one off project, as initiatives can only be sustained if they are co-produced with local people and groups and integrated with hubs such as local public services, general practices, libraries, voluntary and third sector groups.
7th International Conference of the Popular Education Network Wednesday 22nd – Friday 24th June, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh.
The conference is an opportunity for university-based teachers and researchers, as well as others involved in higher education, who share a common interest in popular education – many of whom work in considerable isolation in their own institutions – to meet, exchange ideas, learn from each other and enjoy some much needed solidarity and conviviality.
Go digital 22 June, Edinburgh
OSCR and SCVO are hosting a free of charge event. Digital services are increasingly part and parcel of how we operate. But how can you maximise the opportunities for your charity? Speakers will share their experiences and how their use of digital has moved their organisations forward.
Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference 25 June, 10am-5pm, Ayr Academy. Tickets £10.
This conference coordinated by Archaeology Scotland, Scotland’s Urban Past, Dig It 2017 and Historic Environment Scotland, is open to anyone with an interest in history, heritage or archaeology. The day includes talks, interactive workshops, inspirational displays and networking opportunities. Volunteers who protect and promote our heritage, such as the Friends of St John’s Tower, Friends of the Prestwick Seafront and the Friends of Dundonald Castle will share their stories, struggles and expertise, and invite the audience to join the conversation.
U-Lab Taster Session 2016 30th June, 9.30am – 12.30pm, Learning Link Scotland, 17 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3NX
U-Lab is a worldwide free online MOOC Course and was initially trialled in 2015. Scotland has a special arrangement with the Global U.Lab team for a dedicated space within the U.Lab course for Scottish specific learning content.
The first course took place in September 2015 with over 900 people. Due to its success and popularity, U-Lab 2016 online MOOC course will begin at the beginning of September 2016. Publicity says nothing about what the course is actually about, but asserts that it has “an amazing impact” on something or other “at individual, organisation and community levels”.
This is an opportunity to introduce you to U-Lab, with a little taster session. There is no commitment to sign up for the course. Booking essential.
Community Cafe networking event 2016 Thursday 1 September, Glasgow
Places are available at Community Food and Health Scotland’s next community café networking event for anyone working in, running, managing or supporting a community café. To register your interest, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PHINS (Public Health Information Network for Scotland) Seminar Friday 9th September, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
The annual PHINS (Public Health Information Network for Scotland) seminar is free of charge. However, spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Programme. Bookings.
FREE training and events for Scottish community groups tackling climate change If you are a Scottish community group interested in tackling climate change the free programme of training and events provided by Keep Scotland Beautiful could help support you in your work.
VHS Annual conference and AGM 24 November, Edinburgh
Voluntary Health Scotland’s annual conference and AGM will consider compelling evidence about the impact of social isolation and loneliness on mental and physical health and the part the third sector plays in preventing and addressing this.