POLICY AND PRACTICE DEVELOPMENTS
Last month we gave extracts from some of the party manifestos for the Scottish Parliament elections. Following the election result it is worth revisiting some of the key community development related points that we quoted from the SNP manifesto, since these may be a guide to future actions by the new ministerial team (subject to any consequences of the absence of an overall majority).
“Review the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and the relationships between local authorities and health boards. We aim to transform our democratic landscape, protect and renew public services and refresh the relationship between citizens, communities and councils:-
- Consult on and introduce a Bill that will decentralise local authority functions, budgets and democratic oversight to local communities
- Review and reform the role of Community Planning Partnerships so they are better placed to drive reform, including through use of citizens’ panels and town hall meetings
Build on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act by:-
- Setting councils a target of having at least 1 per cent of their budget subject to Community Choices budgeting. This will be backed by the Community Choices Fund.
- Allowing community councils that can demonstrate a strong democratic mandate to deliver some services. We intend that in future community council elections will be held on the same day across the country to increase their profile and recognition.
Extend to individual schools responsibilities that currently sit solely with local authorities, allocate more resources directly to headteachers and enable them to take decisions based on local circumstances. Encourage school clusters and create new educational regions to decentralise management and support.
Recruit at least 250 Community Link Workers to work in GP surgeries and direct people to local services and support [in deprived communities]
Give greater recognition and weighting to community involvement and support in making future decisions social about investment in community sport facilities … increase the number of Community Sports Hubs to 200 by 2020.
Use new powers to establish social and economic rights for Scotland over all matters we have responsibility for and to further embed the European Convention on Human Rights in Scotland. Invite a cross party group, including civic society, to establish a collaborative process, engaging with people across Scotland and learning from best global practice in participatory democracy, to advise on the guaranteed protections we should seek to enshrine in law.
[Place] a duty on Housing Associations and councils to consult with tenants on the management of homes.”
New Framework Agreement for Standards Council
The Community Learning and Development Standards Council has a new framework agreement with Education Scotland. It sets out the strategic goals, roles and responsibilities of both organisations The Agreement is only to cover an interim period, during which Education Scotland will act as host organisation and its staff will remain Civil Servants.
However it recognises that the Council “is a peer-led organisation and … the remit and principal strategic functions require it to be a step removed from Government in order to have a distinct identity and allow ownership of its strategic areas of responsibility”.
The Agreement will be reviewed by 20th April 2019 (perhaps with a view to the Standards Council becoming fully independent?)
Almost half of Dumfries and Galloway Community Councils dissolved
Thirty-eight community councils in Dumfries and Galloway have been dissolved after failing to meet the deadline for producing a constitution. Under Dumfries and Galloway Council rules, community councils were required to agree a constitution within three months of the community council election in October 2015 or be automatically dissolved. It is thought that Dumfries and Galloway Council is the only local authority in Scotland that has this compulsory dissolution clause.
Only 44 of the 91 community councils across the region submitted a constitution by the deadline, while 12 others submitted one after the deadline. Councils that have been dissolved will need to need to re-elected in a by-election. A spokesperson for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “The council is keen that the affected community councils are supported if they wish to re-establish themselves”
All Scottish Job Centres Now Offer Universal Credit
From Monday 25th April, all Scottish Job Centres now offer Universal Credit to single jobseekers. Arbroath, Blairgowrie, Montrose and Perth were the final Job Centres to be involved.
Scottish Land Fund extends to urban Scotland
A community initiative in Barmulloch, Glasgow is the first to receive funding from the new Scottish Land Fund, following the decision to open the programme to both rural and urban projects. The Barmulloch Community Development Company receives £85,000 to purchase the former All Saints Church and associated church house, known locally as the Broomfield Road Centre. The centre houses a popular boxing gym, Money Advice Centre and training/meeting rooms, all of which will continue when the premises are brought into community ownership.
Funding for sheds in local communities
A new fund set up by the Asda Foundation supports the opening of ‘sheds’ in communities. Sheds provide a space for men to meet, share tools, make things and socialise and are one response to tackling isolation among older people. The fund will award grants of between £250 and £1,000 to groups looking to set up sheds in their own communities.
The results of the Scottish Government Planning Review are due out May 2016, but not available at the time of writing. CDAS member Planning Democracy say that they are “hoping that there will be something interesting but having read the report on the analysis of written responses we don’t think it is going to be as ‘game changing’ as we might hope”. They note that the name of the ‘Third Party’ Right of Appeal, which have campaigned for, is changed in the report to ‘Equal Rights’ “which is pretty cool”.
Equality and Human Rights Commission Strategic Plan 2016-19
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published its Strategic Plan for 2016–19. It can be found here along with a new video. The Plan explains four Strategic Aims:
- Significant impact – to secure advances in equality and human rights in priority areas
- A strong evidence base – to provide authoritative analysis and insight
- Sustainable infrastructure – to ensure an effective and sustainable infrastructure to protect rights in practice
- Improved capability – to be an expert, independent and authoritative national body.
The future of community work in England
A report has been published from the recent conference on the future of community work in England, held in the light of the closures of the Community Development Foundation and Community Matters. Recommendations include:
“Address current fragmentation by networking at every level and sectors to find ‘common ground’ and shared commitments.
- Reach out across different ‘disciplines’ to link up with like-minded people who are working with communities but may not use the same terms
- Encourage the ‘next generation’ of community workers to connect with existing networks
Look at the policy environment (e.g. devolution, localism and community rights) for opportunities to influence policy and practice.
Observe and learn from national networks in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.”
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Community Development and Regeneration in the British Library Links are available to free resources on community development and regeneration held by the British Library.
IACD updates The International Association for Community Development (IACD) “wants to provide you with contemporary news and information about what is happening in the world of community development on a more regular basis… so since April we have been utilising our main Facebook Page much more, to post daily updates on events, resources and news. We have been covering news from Alaska to Mongolia, Hungary to Brazil, from the United Nations to the smallest grassroots community development agency”.
CHEX-Point Newsletter at 50 In its 50th issue CHEX-Point Newsletter is looking back at the progress community-led health has made, examining where we are now and then taking a look at future opportunities.
New Father Friendly Resources Fathers Network Scotland presents some new papers showing how organisations often unconsciously exclude dads – and the huge growth in those who have turned “father-friendly”.
- ‘Here’s Dad’ Very few family services would say they don’t work with fathers. However, the vast majority of services do not offer a specific service for fathers. In 2007, of a sample of 382 Scottish services for parents, only three services were adapted to suit the needs of fathers. Less than a decade later, a survey has found a more than 900 per cent increase to more than 80 services, projects and agencies that in one way or another are either for dads, are dad-friendly or reach out to include dads. This includes not only national charities and councils but also local projects and self-help groups.
- ‘Where’s Dad Too’ A new and revised edition of ‘Where’s Dad?’, which for more than two years has helped them campaign for more father-inclusive practices.
- Father-proofing Guidance for Marketing and Communications A new toolkit with suggestions about how to make changes to ensure that family services welcome both mothers and fathers.
Scottish LEADER programme This film highlights six of the inspiring projects from the 2007-13 Scottish EU funded LEADER rural development programme.
Talking about Participation Requests Videos of comments by participants in SCDC Focus Groups on Participation Requests are available.
The economics of prevention NHS Health Scotland has produced a briefing which outlines the ‘economics of prevention’. It details the role of preventative behaviours (e.g. reducing smoking, drinking) but notes:
“Policies and interventions which directly address the social and economic inequalities that drive health inequalities are likely to be most effective. Examples include the introduction of a living wage, the introduction of higher standards for privately rented accommodation and measures to improve the physical environment. Evidence … highlights the economic case for investing in programmes tackling the social determinants of health, such as programmes helping people find good jobs and stay in work.”
Community Health Navigators Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing selected a group of 5 of its member organisations to form a consortium to take part in a project in which they appointed Community Health Navigators. A new Learning Resource describes the work of this ‘Out & About ’ programme, which between October 2013 and March 2016 has been supporting 160 isolated individuals with long – term conditions to build their confidence, skills and knowledge and reintegrate them to the wider community using the social model of health.
Website for aspiring councillors Localcouncillor.scot, a new website for candidates standing in the 2017 local government elections and beyond, has been launched by the Improvement Service. The website will help potential candidates make a decision on whether they would like to stand for election, highlight the important role councillors have in improving the lives of people in their area and support candidates that haven’t previously been councillors to be better informed about what is expected of them should they be elected.
New website for charity tax information and campaigns The Charity Tax Group, which works to improve understanding and secure a fair deal for charities on tax matters, has launched a new website. The new online guide aims to provide
- a detailed explanation of the taxes that charities have to pay and any relevant tax reliefs.
- a study of the cost and impact of taxation on the sector.
- timely updates on tax changes.
Promoting Good Relations New Approaches, New Solutions The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER),a Scottish anti-racism organisation has produced a guide to the concept of ‘good relations’. This is a vital but poorly understood aspect of equality in Britain. The concept is considered important enough to be enshrined in law: fostering good relations is one of the three requirements of the Equality Act 2010 general public sector equality duty. The aim of the guide is to provide a practical viewpoint on potential new approaches and new solutions for good relations in Britain, which can strengthen and inform public and organisational policy.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Asset-based approaches: their rise, role and reality A new book examines the role and development of asset-based approaches across three key policy areas in Scotland today. The book is written by Fiona Garven, SCDC, Jennifer McLean, Glasgow Centre for Population Health & Lisa Pattoni, Iriss and published by Dunedin Academic Press.
Destitution in the UK The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s latest research defines and measures destitution in the UK. Destitution is the most severe form of poverty and means someone can’t afford the basic essentials they need to eat, keep clean and stay warm and dry. (Blog)
The total number of destitute people in the UK, including UK citizens, is not currently measured by the Government. This report was commissioned by JRF in response to perceptions that such extreme poverty had risen in recent years. It has been conducted by Heriot-Watt University.
In total, researchers found that:
- 1,252,000 people, including 312,000 children, were destitute at some point in 2015.
- 4/5 were born in the UK.
- Around a third had a complex need.
- Young, single people, particularly men, are more likely to be destitute, but there are considerable numbers of families living in destitution.
- There is no single cause, but most people had been living in poverty for a considerable period of time before tipping into destitution.
The most common causes are:
- The extra costs of ill health and disability.
- The high costs of housing and other essential bills.
- A financial shock like a benefit sanction or delay.
A review of inclusive play in Scotland The “Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Action Plan” has set out a vision of Scotland as ‘a nation which values play as a life-enhancing daily experience for all our children and young people’. In order to work towards achieving their vision, the Play Strategy Group and partners set out to review inclusive play in Scotland. Their review provides a strong foundation and a detailed understanding of what we need to do in Scotland, to ensure that all children, including disabled children, play with quality and equality every day.
History, politics and vulnerability: explaining excess mortality Scotland experiences high levels of ‘excess’ mortality over and above that explained by the country’s socioeconomic profile. This excess level of mortality is particularly pronounced in and around Glasgow. Although poor health in Glasgow is principally explained by its high levels of poverty and deprivation, mortality in the city is also much higher than in other UK comparable cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. This report from Glasgow Centre for Population Health and colleagues summarises all the research that has been undertaken into this phenomenon, and from a detailed examination of all the available evidence, identifies the most likely underlying causes and, therefore, the most appropriate policy responses. As the report makes clear, however, such responses need to be entwined with ever more urgent actions to address the key drivers of overall poor health in the country – poverty and deprivation – and to seek to narrow the widening gaps in income, power, wealth and, therefore, health in Scottish society.
Growth in community growing in central Scotland There has been a significant increase in community growing activity across the central belt of Scotland between 2010 and 2015 according to new research from the Central Scotland Green Network Trust. The study estimates that there are more than 300 sites spread over 230 hectares of land in the CSGN area, with around 72% of the space used for allotments, 16% for community orchards and 12% for community gardens.
Scotland’s Local Environmental Quality in Decline A new report ‘Scotland’s local environmental quality in decline‘ confirms that after many years of improvements, we are now seeing a deterioration in key indicators across the country. The acknowledged indicators of ‘local environmental quality’ are litter, dog fouling, flytipping, graffiti, detritus, weed growth and flyposting.
Measuring the relationship between poverty and growth This Joseph Rowntree Foundation report presents a new tool – the inclusive growth monitor – to measure the relationship between prosperity and poverty and help to assess whether cities are delivering ‘inclusive growth’.
SHRC report on child rights in Scotland The Scottish Human Rights Commission has submitted a report to a review by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The report draws attention to the impact of poverty, poor quality housing and inadequate access to mental health services on children’s human rights. Emerging issues are also highlighted including the impact of benefits sanctions on children, and the growing risks to Muslim children from negative media coverage and the effects of counter-terrorism measures.
Local early action for better results Community Links and the New Economics Foundation have published a new briefing ‘Local early action: lessons from the UK’s first Early Action Commission’. This “sets out a bold new model for thinking about how we can act earlier in different localities. It draws on learning from the UK’s first Early Action Commission, based in Southwark and Lambeth, and aims to share insights from how it worked in their area, and therefore how it might be approached elsewhere too.”
Understanding the Gap: How research can help us address health inequalities in Scotland Wednesday June 1, Stirling Court Hotel, Stirling
A one day conference by Voluntary Health Scotland In partnership with The Open University to explore what the latest research tells us about health inequalities.
Participatory Budgeting, Democratisation and Open Government: The State of the Art in Europe and the UK Thursday 2nd June, 1.30pm – 6.30pm, Brunel University, London
At the national gathering for Participatory Budgeting, the UK wide PB Network and its partners, the Empatia programme and Brunel University will analyse the state of the art of PB and participatory processes in the United Kingdom and Europe.
A Dundee Regional SCDN Network? 7th June, Dundee. Morning event: 10 am, The Steeple, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DG
The Scottish Community Development Network is hosting two events, alongside Dundee University, to establish a Regional Network in Dundee and hear your views on how best to set this up. You are invited to a morning of discussion relating to the current and future practice of community development in Scotland. From practice to training, activism to policy development what actions do those who care about community development in Scotland need to prioritise to take forward creative and critical practice?
The morning discussion session will be followed by a planning session in the afternoon (venue to be confirmed).
International experiences in Participatory Budgeting: A session with Giovanni Allegretti Monday 13 June, 11am to 13:00 , Paterson’s Land – Room 1.26 University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ. Free but places are limited
What Works Scotland is delighted to invite you to a morning session with international Participatory Budgeting expert Giovanni Allegretti. This session provides an opportunity to hear about international PB experiences and how they compare to current developments in Scotland. The session will be hosted by Oliver Escobar (WWS), and feature Kathleen Glazik, PB lead at the Scottish Government, who will provide reaction to Giovanni’s presentation as well as reflection about the future of PB in Scotland.
Where Community Meets Enterprise 24 June, Edinburgh £17.02
This Community Enterprise event will bring together community organisations, funders, policy makers, intermediaries and social enterprises from throughout Scotland to debate and discuss: ‘Where Community Meets Enterprise: the nature and scale of ‘community enterprise’ within Scotland’s growing family of social enterprises – a debate and a celebration.’
Citizen Participation University July 4 – 8th, Kunbabony, Hungary
Citizen Participation University is a multi-day, intensive residential training and strategic planning gathering that is equal parts theory, practice, and networking for people trying to make the world a more democratic and just place. We will examine the state of our planet, our economy, and our democracy.
Insisting on the Indispensable: International Conference on Youth Futures 11th October to 14th October, Ayr Campus
A four day conference by the Institute for Youth and Community Research, University of the West of Scotland, featuring Professor Henry A Giroux.