It’s been one and a half years coming because it’s a very conservative department, the issue’s not high on its agenda, and the secretary of state wasn’t happy with previous versions. A plan to improve life for Scotland’s poorest communities has been launched with a three-pronged attack on poor services, poor skills and poor knowledge of what works and why.
The long-awaited community regeneration statement, published on Tuesday, contains plans to devolve responsibility for social inclusion partnerships, give mainstream service providers more incentives to change the way they target their budgets and programmes, and establish a £3m regeneration centre – the Scottish Centre for Regeneration – within the Communities Scotland agency. A new index of deprivation is planned, strengthened by new intelligence on the location of deprivation and areas at risk, with interim measures in place by the end of the year. Area-based initiatives will fill the gaps in mainstream provision, but there will be increased emphasis on community planning as a way of joining up local and national priorities. Spending controls will be relaxed so that services can work flexibly to better meet the needs of the poorest. more details: Enact Conveyancing Melbourne
Local outcome agreements, whereby councils are given freedom to use cash to achieve specific results, will be honed and used extensively. Ministers expect community planning partnerships to deliver significant improvements in services and outcomes and ensure resources are not taken from the vulnerable. Indicators will be set for employment, educational achievement, health improvement, child poverty, crime, transport and housing. These will be published by the year-end, and will be the basis for setting local community plan priorities. Ministers are also considering setting ‘floor’ and ‘convergence’ targets to establish minimum service levels to narrow the gap between the worst services and the average.
Regeneration organisations in Scotland have welcomed the new plan to tackle deprivation, despite a ‘disappointing’ lack of detail. But it said the ‘lack of detail within the strategy on ways to take forward the development of the social economy and the role of voluntary and community bodies’ was disappointing. Another source described the plan as inoffensive but sketchy and ‘not likely to set the heather on fire, although the shift towards community planning is significant in the long term’. English Partnerships chief executive Paula Hay-Plumb is to step down from the helm of the troubled regeneration agency.