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Building a Sustainable Future: Regeneration Discussion Paper


Chapter 4: Tackling area-based deprivation - local neighbourhood services

131. A fundamental feature of the Government's outcomes-based approach is that it recognises how circumstances and priorities vary across Scotland. Through this approach, local government and its local partners are committed to taking forward the Government's Purpose and National Outcomes. But they have the freedom to tailor how they do this, by focusing on local outcomes which reflect their understanding of local circumstances and priorities.

132. Single Outcome Agreements ( SOAs), set out this vision for the area, capturing it as a series of local outcomes and related targets, each of which is linked to at least one of the Government's National Outcomes. The latest SOAs, agreed in 2009 between each Community Planning Partnership and the Scottish Government, describe ambitions which provide local partners with a shared and sustainable medium- to long-term vision for their area. These SOAs are evolving expressions of local priorities, and there is scope for CPPs to propose adjustments to keep the agreements up-to-date.

133. Having set a shared local vision for their areas, local partners are committed to working together to pursue these agreed ambitions. Some of this work will reflect distinctly local issues. However, much of it relates to progressing a strategic approach to tackling the long-standing inequalities that exist in Scotland, in ways which reflect local circumstances. Several programmes, developed jointly with COSLA, feature as part of this strategic approach: the three social policy frameworks - Achieving our Potential 18, Equally Well19and the Early Years Framework20- GIRFEC and Equal Communities in a Fairer Scotland21, the joint statement on tackling concentrated multiple disadvantage. Further details about how these programmes are being taken forward feature later in this chapter.

134. Under this framework sits a range of policies, programmes, organisations and services which impact upon our neighbourhoods.

135. In 2010-11, the "ring fence" was removed from the Fairer Scotland Fund, the last in a succession of central Government funds targeted at our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. This decision was taken jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA in order to increase local autonomy, flexibility, and the pace of progress in tackling high levels of multiple deprivation in our communities. It was recognised that community planning partners need to come together with communities themselves, focus on the outcomes to be achieved, and align organisational priorities and resources to achieve this.

136. A joint Action Plan was published alongside Equal Communities in a Fairer Scotland which set out, among other things, how the Scottish Government would support practitioners to embed an outcomes-based approach, adapt to a different funding environment and tackle the complex needs associated with deprivation. This work is delivered through our Community Regeneration and Tackling Poverty Learning Network.

Our approach

137. The Scottish Government's role in directly supporting services delivered in disadvantaged communities at a neighbourhood level has changed considerably in recent years. Funding for local neighbourhood services is now the responsibility of Community Planning Partnerships. Local partners work together to pursue national strategies in ways which also reflect local circumstances and priorities.

138. The three social policy frameworks address the same set of issues from differing perspectives and are clearly interlinked. It is increasingly evident that inequalities in health, education and employment opportunities are passed from one generation to another, particularly in our deprived communities, and the frameworks aim to break these negative cycles through early and effective intervention. They make clear there are no quick fixes: the early years framework envisages a 10 year+ time horizon before the scale of change we wish to see is delivered. The frameworks share a common approach:

  • Prevention of problems in the first place.
  • Early intervention if problems have started to manifest themselves, to prevent them getting worse.
  • Building capacity in communities, families, parents and children to help them to tackle their problems - for example, through the Equally Well test sites.
  • A multi-faceted approach - no one policy or strand of policy will address all the issues.
  • A locally-created, bottom-up approach. One size doesn't fit all; every area of Scotland is different and different ways are needed to tackle the issues faced by the local population.

139. Getting it right for every child ( GIRFEC) provides the methodology for delivering the three social frameworks and aims to improve outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland. It provides a framework for all services and agencies working with children and families to deliver a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach which is appropriate, proportionate and timely. The Scottish Government, local authorities, NHS Scotland and other agencies are working together to embed the principles and practice of the GIRFEC model by encouraging leadership and team-working among agencies involved in the delivery of children's services, and through disseminating practice guidance.

140. Alongside the three frameworks and GIRFEC, other important social strategies include community safety and crime reduction (see, for instance, Promoting Positive Outcomes, the revised national Antisocial Behaviour Strategy published in March 2009 22). Evidence shows that disadvantaged communities are disproportionately affected by crime, and the strategy aims to tackle the causes of antisocial behaviour; preventing crime, and the fear of crime, that blights too many neighbourhoods.

141. The 2010 Equally Well Review23 confirmed that the three social policy frameworks remain the best approach to improve outcomes over the long term. It also recognised that joint action by the full range of community planning partners to redesign local services is key in delivering the vision of change set out in the three frameworks.

142. That broad message was reinforced in the recent statement from the independent Tackling Poverty Board, which recommended that central and local government must further embed early intervention and prevention into core service delivery, promoting any shared services agenda which helps to deliver this. Reducing demand for services by acting to prevent incidences of poverty is cost effective to both service deliverers and, more importantly, to households at risk.

143. These are ambitious programmes which will take time to produce results. Much has been achieved already, however, to put in place the necessary partnership action to work towards long-term shared outcomes. But we know that there is still a lot to do before all of Scotland can flourish in line with the Government's purpose. In this chapter we want to explore how mainstream social policy actions can better embrace area-based issues.

Challenges for the future

144. As we have seen in chapter 1, evidence shows that the majority of Scotland's social problems are considerably more acute in a relatively small number of areas. Increasingly, there is a need for service providers to design and deliver services that meet the specific needs of local communities and build up those communities' own assets and capacities.

145. The recent UK budget announcement relating to welfare benefits and the associated reform agenda will have a significant impact on Scotland's people and the demand for services across our communities. We believe that for most people, work is the best route out of poverty and securing sustained employment can transform the lives of individuals, communities and wider society. Whilst in the longer term, the proposals by the UK Government are to "make work pay" through a radical reform programme, we are concerned that the recent budget measures will impact adversely on some of the poorest and most vulnerable.

146. Allocating relatively small amounts of funding to stand-alone regeneration projects will not achieve the radical change in life outcomes needed in some of Scotland's communities. We need to consider how best mainstream policies, programmes and services could incorporate a conscious area-based focus on improving the prospects of deprived neighbourhoods within their strategies.

147. This is a difficult and challenging issue, and involves public sector bodies working across agency boundaries and focussing on shared outcomes, as well as organisational targets. It means delivering a shared set of priorities, and being transparent and accountable for those, as well as operating within different organisational performance management systems. But there are also opportunities. The public sector's strategic focus on outcomes in Scotland should enable us to develop a stronger, shared approach to tackling the problems of the most disadvantaged areas.

The Scottish Centre for Regeneration is working with the Improvement Service to help support five Community Planning Partnerships over 15 months to improve their outcomes-based approach to service delivery and break down barriers to local delivery of anti-poverty and regeneration activities.

The areas in Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Falkirk, East Lothian and West Lothian were selected based on the strength of their application as well as evidence of need and to ensure a good mix of geography, size and partnership maturity. Thematic areas covered by the project include a review of partnership structures, evaluation of the evidence base, targets and indicators, development of strategy documents and their links to practical delivery as well as effective communication of key messages.

This project has allowed the CPPs involved the opportunity to develop their approach to outcomes and work proactively to improve the joined-up nature of the services that they deliver. The results of the pilot will be shared through papers and workshops and a case study of each pilot area will be produced.

Taking a place-based approach

148. The debate about localism and place, and what is meant by these terms, has been rapidly developing in the UK context. The UK Government recently published its Localism Bill which proposes to devolve more power to local authorities and neighbourhoods, and to give local communities more control over housing and planning decisions. Prior to that, some areas in England had become Total Place pilot areas. Total Place was about targeted, tailored interventions to tackle specific "wicked issues" in specific local areas.

149. In Scotland, the principles of place-based working and of focusing outcomes around local communities has been central to the outcomes-based approach enshrined both in the National Performance Framework, and in the delivery of SOAs by CPPs. The challenges are about how services can be improved (either by small changes or larger transformations), efficiencies achieved and decisions decentralised in order to delivery better outcomes for communities. Some CPPs in Scotland have begun to use Total Place-type methods to help inform their thinking and action around these challenges.

150. The Scottish Government is currently funding the Improvement Service to develop outcome-based budgeting approaches in some CPP areas. There are also a range of actions and initiatives already underway which are designed to target mainstream resources on the issues faced by our most disadvantaged communities. These include:

Keep Well Health Checks

151. Keep Well health checks are targeted in the most deprived communities and aim to reduce the heightened risk of heart disease and related health problems among people living there. They do this through an holistic approach that incorporates people's mental wellbeing, employment, literacy and other life circumstances as well as more obvious health risks such as smoking and weight issues. The purpose of the Keep Well programme is to change the allocation of resources and effort in mainstream Primary Care, with targeting of effort to communities that need the most support.

Equally well test sites

152. The Equally Well test sites are examples of mainstream service delivery which seek to work across agency boundaries in a cross-cutting way to tackle health inequalities. The test sites redesign and refocus the delivery of services to meet their clients' need, working closely with communities to develop a model of co-production to support local asset building. The test sites were selected from bids from Community Planning Partnerships across Scotland. The themes were designed around local need and reflected the lead priorities in Equally Well.

153. A wide range of interventions have been developed, including looking at conventional risk factors such as smoking, piloting innovative approaches to parenting and child development and evaluating how town planning can support community reduction of health inequalities through effective place making. The Scottish Government's role is to promote the process of local change and provide evaluation that can inform similar processes in other areas. It is not to resource services themselves, and it is important for sustainability that the resources for those are identified within local budgets. For more test site information please see: http://equallywell.ning.com

The Glasgow City Test Site - Integrating Town Planning and Health: Place making and Healthy Sustainable Neighbourhoods ( HSN) - emerged from work carried out between local city planners and community members during the creation of the East End Development Strategy. The aim of the test site is to re- connect the disciplines of town planning and public health, to work together across partnerships to put creation of healthy sustainable neighbourhoods at the heart of public service.

The test site has delivered a programme of joint training for planners and for public service staff from councils and health boards - to share knowledge, expertise and thinking. The test site also has a business plan with multiple projects running across city neighbourhoods, using health impact assessments and community development to support place-making improvements. The test site has developed a HSN model and is testing this out with communities. An online HSN place-maker tool has also been developed for people to use computer technology to see how place design makes them feel and how this links to health. This place maker tool is about to be tested across all 8 test site areas.

Violence reduction

154. As part of the focus across local and national government on outcomes, justice policy has altered its approach. Understanding better the causal factors and social conditions that foster crime and offending means ensuring that enforcement and punishment are balanced with prevention and problem solving. This more balanced approach means justice agencies such as the police exploring partnership working with a wider range of organisations than has been the case previously. This is an approach advocated by centres of innovation and expertise like the national Violence Reduction Unit, which is using it to develop solutions to previously intractable problems like gang violence in Glasgow.

CIRV (the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence) is a multi-agency initiative designed to reduce gang violence across Glasgow.

The initiative is a focussed deterrence strategy, modelled on world-recognised best practice. It works by encouraging better coordination and targeting of existing public sector resources towards high-risk street gang members who do not traditionally engage effectively with services.

With £1.6 million over two years coming from the Scottish Government and a further £3.4m funding provided in services and in kind, the initiative brings together partners from justice, government, community safety services, housing, careers, education, social work, health and the community to tackle the problem of gang violence in Glasgow's East End.

CIRVformally began in October 2008. At the outset the stated intention was to mainstream the approach should evaluation prove positive. In its first year it engaged with 368 gang members, and helped over 100 clients access employment and education opportunities. This includes 60 new jobs created through a partnership bid to the UK Future Jobs Fund. The reporting period has now increased to 18 months with a 46% reduction in the levels of violent offending by gang members who have engaged with CIRV.

Independent evaluation by members of St. Andrews and Glasgow Caledonian Universities is now underway and the fourth quarter report is due shortly. Learning from the evaluation will be shared with the Scottish Government and national agencies including the Violence Reduction Unit to ensure that CIRV will positively influence practice in areas outside Glasgow.

Early Years Interventions

155. Collaborative working across agencies, in particular, building on the significant resources and expertise available to universal services, is central to the delivery of effective early years services, to secure the shift towards prevention of problems and delivery of improved outcomes in line with the ambitions of the Early Years Framework. It is for local delivery partners to determine how best to use the totality of resource available locally: this might involve provision across the whole of a local authority area - such as the Glasgow-wide provision of the "Triple P" parenting programme by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Glasgow City Council, or more targeted approaches focussed on smaller geographic areas. In either case, the key to effective provision is delivery of evidence-based approaches with minimal bureaucracy and making best use of available resources irrespective of "ownership" of the resource.

GIRFEC pilots

The GIRFEC in Edinburgh Partnership has agreed a Workforce Development Strategy for Implementation of its programme. Some key features of this are:

  • The establishment of multi-agency team of GIRFEC trainers
  • A tailored GIRFEC in Edinburgh training programme
  • The creation of a support network for practitioners

A single GIRFEC in Edinburgh Pathway has also been created to provide support to children and young people at all levels of need at the earliest opportunity. Implementation will be progressed during 2011 on the basis of Neighbourhood Partnership Areas which cover, between them, the whole of Edinburgh. These will be prioritised according to indices of deprivation: the most deprived areas, which have the highest concentration of children and young people with vulnerabilities / complex needs, will, in general, be addressed first. The focus will be on improved outcomes for children.

Employability hot spots

156. Our experience from SOAs demonstrates that community planning locally can only be achieved through partners working together in a cross-cutting way. Key to this is the support from Scottish Government and the links between local and national indicators and outcomes. The Scottish Government is considering testing a multi-disciplinary policy approach to reflect an "employability" theme. The approach is currently under discussion but could address issues such as pooling funding, joined-up policy and delivery across relevant interests.

157. In practice, officials from across Scottish Government with a direct or indirect policy interest in employability could form a multi-disciplinary team to build and develop a focussed package of support and intervention to an agreed location(s). Support would focus on areas which have the highest levels of inactivity coupled with an existing employability delivery infrastructure.

158. We hope to be a position shortly to engage in early discussions with employability-aligned partners such as COSLA, Skills Development Scotland, and Scottish Enterprise in particular to consider how we might take this forward.

Looking forward

159. As public finances tighten, a key challenge going forward will be how we learn from demonstration projects, test sites and other creative and innovative approaches. In particular, how we could enhance this and move away from an approach that relies heavily on funded pilots to a broader and more mainstream approach to fostering change.

160. Transparency and accountability are also part of the Government's approach. SOA annual reports, published by each council on behalf of its CPP, provide information for local people and other interests about what progress local CPP partners have made towards agreed local outcomes.

161. Health Boards have been asked to report on what they do as good local CPP partners towards social policy outcomes shared between local agencies in the SOA, above and beyond the NHS targets for their own services. For example, it is encouraging to see Boards building financial inclusion into their services or contributing to parenting initiatives. In addition, for the NHS the Scottish Government is increasingly requiring targets to have an inequalities focus.

162. Last autumn, the First Minister announced the establishment of a Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services under the Chairmanship of Dr Campbell Christie. The Commission's remit sets out an ambitious vision of the kind of public services the Government wishes to see in Scotland. That vision includes public services that:

  • are innovative, seamless and responsive, designed around users' needs, continuously improving;
  • are democratically accountable to the people of Scotland at both national and local levels;
  • are delivered in partnership, involving local communities, their democratic representatives, and the third sector;
  • tackle causes as well as symptoms;
  • support a fair and equal society;
  • protect the most vulnerable in our society;
  • are person-centred, reliable and consistent;
  • are easy to navigate and access;
  • are appropriate to local circumstances, without inexplicable variation;
  • are designed and delivered close to the customer wherever possible, and always high quality;
  • respond effectively to increasing demographic pressures;
  • include accessible digital services, that are easy to use and meet current best practice in the digital economy; and
  • have governance structures that are accountable, transparent, cost-effective, streamlined and efficient.

163. The Scottish Government has asked the Commission to report on the opportunities and obstacles that will help or hinder progress towards this vision, and ultimately to make recommendations for the changes that will deliver it. The Commission is being asked to deliver their final report by the end of June 2011.

164. This work may have the greatest impact on how local neighbourhood services in our most disadvantaged areas are designed and delivered in the future in Scotland.

Questions Summary

  • What would facilitate further targeting of mainstream resources on the issues faced by our most disadvantaged communities, especially in relation to delivering early intervention and prevention programmes?
  • How can we move away from funding pilots and demonstration projects to a broader and more mainstream approach to fostering change?
  • What should the Scottish Government's approach and role be in fostering change in future?
  • How could we improve accountability of public sector services in the context of regeneration and area-based issues and problems?
  • How can we support learning and sharing of information to ensure practitioners have the skills and knowledge they need to tackle area based deprivation?

What do you think?

The publication of this document is the starting point for a wider discussion about regenerating our cities, towns and villages. We hope that many of you will use this paper as a prompt to engage your colleagues and other practitioners in further debate and discussion.

For more information go to our website at www.scotland.gov.uk/regenerationdiscussion

We have published a number of analytical papers on our website and will use other events and seminars as a platform to listen to the ideas, thoughts and views of others. You can find a list of events on our website.

This is not a consultation and we are not seeking formal responses. However, if you would like to submit your views please do so by writing to Regeneration Division, Scottish Government, 1-G(S), Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ or emailing RegenerationDiscussionPaper@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. We will publish a summary of responses received after the Scottish Parliamentary Election, over the summer.