Building a Sustainable Future: Regeneration Discussion Paper

Building a Sustainable Future: Regeneration Discussion Paper

Scottish Government
10.02.11

 

Chapter 3: Community-led regeneration

 

92. The Community Empowerment Action Plan: Celebrating Success, Inspiring Change15, was launched jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA in March 2009. The principles set out in the shared plan were developed after extensive dialogue with people from various public sector agencies, the third sector and communities themselves.

 

93. At its heart, the Community Empowerment Action Plan ( CEAP) is founded on the fact that Scotland’s communities are a rich source of creativity and talent, and that communities coming together to work on the things that matter to them is a key way of unlocking that resource.

 

94. Government at national and local level recognise that supporting Community Empowerment can lead to better outcomes, reinvigorated local democracy and improved quality of life.

 

95. In the context of regeneration, it is well proven that communities themselves have a valuable role to play in influencing and delivering aspects of the process, and that community involvement is likely to result in more sustainable and successful outcomes. This is equally true in urban and rural Scotland.

 

96. However, in our most disadvantaged and fragile communities it is particularly important that communities have access to adequate and appropriate support in order to fulfil their potential to do things for themselves. This need for high quality community capacity building is even more important today given the scale of the challenges set out in the other chapters of this paper.

 

97. The Scottish Government and COSLA’s three joint social policy frameworks, GIRFEC, and our approach to improving Community Safety, are all underpinned by a belief in the benefits of empowering individuals, families and communities and that belief informs the planning system through Scottish Planning Policy and the National Planning Framework.

 

98. This approach to empowerment also resonates strongly with the Chief Medical Officer’s view set out in his Annual Report for 2009 16: that it is important to move to an "assets-based model" for improving health. This recognises the strengths and abilities of individuals and communities to take control over how to tackle their own problems. The assets approach will not only produce positive health outcomes – people will also experience an increase in their skills and capacities and general aspirations.

 

Our approach

 

99. Since 2007, the Scottish Government, working with a range of partners, has backed its commitment to Community Empowerment with a range of resources. Some of the most significant include:

 

The Climate Challenge Fund ( CCF) – a £27.4 million fund over 2008-11. A total of 261 communities have benefited from 331 awards approved by the CCF Independent Grants Panel. Subject to Parliamentary approval of the budget, the Scottish Government will extend the CCF into 2011-12 at the enhanced funding level of £10.3 million.
We have provided £30 million Wider Role funding over 2008-11.
Rural Community Empowerment is being supported through the LEADER approach with some £52 million available over 2007-13. Active help and advice from the Rural Direct service is also available for communities in accessing and channelling these and other funds.
Cashback for Communities has invested £20m in a range of projects since 2007, benefitting over 300,000 young people.
Investing £250k over two years in a programme run by the Development Trust Association Scotland ( DTAS) which aims to learn from and promote good practice in transferring assets from local authorities to community groups. The final report of the programme will be published in spring 2011.
£7 million of the Town Centre Regeneration Fund has been invested in community-led projects.
The development of the VOICE (Visioning Outcomes in Community Engagement) community engagement database and the Better Community Engagement skills programme were both designed to support improved practice in how the public sector works with communities.
The publication of our quarterly community empowerment e-newsletter highlights and shares examples of community empowerment from all over Scotland;
Investing over £250k p.a. over 2008-11 in Planning Aid for Scotland, an organisation which provides advice, training and information to communities across Scotland on planning and environmental matters.
Meeting the Shared Challenge Programme has invested £0.5 million over 2008-10 to encourage and support community-led approaches to health improvement throughout Scotland.
Making available a £3.4 million fund over two years to support the skills development of the community learning and development workforce, including practitioners engaged in building community capacity.
Challenges for the future

 

100. The CEAP was always intended as a milestone on a journey, recognising that fully realising the potential of Scotland’s communities to do things for themselves was a long-term process. There are no easy fixes, and a lot of hard work and tough conversations are required if we are to ensure that communities play a full part in delivering a successful Scotland.

 

101. However, we are building on a lot of good work already underway across the country where community groups are playing key roles in delivering change locally. We are keen to increase momentum in this area through a shared and sustained effort.

 

102. In this chapter we want to explore three areas where we think more needs to be done to realise better the benefits of community-led regeneration. These are:

 

leadership
culture change, and
resources
103. These challenges are based on our experience to date and on conversations with people involved in community-led regeneration. There are obviously strong links between each of these issues. There may be other key areas we should explore, and we’d be keen to hear about those.

 

104. This chapter also suggests practical steps we could take to move the debate on and continue to shape practice in supporting community-led regeneration. We are keen to hear about other key areas that we should consider. Leadership

 

105. It is clear that leadership from local and national government, the wider public sector and within communities themselves is critical to supporting and developing community-led solutions to the problems facing our most disadvantaged areas.

 

106. However, it is fair to say that there are currently differing views about the extent to which the leadership challenge is being met. We have heard concerns from some people about the firmness, clarity and visibility of leadership for championing community-led solutions across the public sector. We also know that many public sector leaders are very personally and publically committed to the principles of community empowerment.

 

107. We also hear concerns about whether there is a new generation of leaders emerging in our communities; the people who will lead and develop our community-based organisations over the coming decades. Others tell us of their continued optimism that talent and commitment in our most disadvantaged communities continues to thrive.

 

108. There will always be differing views about the extent, nature and impact of leadership in all its forms in relation to community-led regeneration. Leadership is not an easy thing to measure.

 

109. An important issue allied to leadership is governance. This is a highly complex area. It can cover the critical role of local and national elected members, accountability frameworks across the wider public sector and governance of independent community-based organisations. It can also cover the mechanisms for how communities influence services at a neighbourhood level.

 

110. If we are to increase the momentum behind community-led regeneration, it is important that we reflect on any issues that might raise for governance. Areas for scrutiny might include: ensuring clear lines of accountability for outcomes; and equalities and fairness.

 

Cordale Housing Association is at the heart of a 15-year programme of community-led investment in the Leven Valley. Like many former industrial towns, industrial restructuring left behind a legacy of economic and social decline in Renton.

 

Led by local people from its beginnings in the early 1990s, Cordale Housing Association has, with Scottish Government investment, built or modernised more than 400 homes in Renton, some of them transferred from the council following an almost unanimous tenant’s ballot. Other developments include 40 recently completed Extra Care apartments, a Community Development Trust, a Social Enterprise Centre, an Integrated Healthy Living Centre and a Youth Centre.

 

The village supermarket, chemist and post office were all built by Cordale and the housing association has been centrally involved in delivering the Central Renton Regeneration Strategy aimed at transforming the commercial and social heart of the village.

 

Cordale and its partners have helped create more than 150 local jobs between 2001 and 2006 and its Employment Ladder Initiative provides skills and opportunities in the HA for school leavers.

 

Renton is an example of a community which has genuinely empowered itself and where the leadership, drive and determination of a small number of individuals has resulted in the transformation of the town and local community. Community leadership is now firmly embedded in the local culture, not least amongst young people, most of whom have a strong commitment to staying in Renton.

 

Questions

 

What do you think might realistically and practically be done to promote and support leadership in community-led regeneration in the public sector, the third sector and in communities themselves?
What do you think the key issues for governance in relation to community empowerment might be.
Culture Change

 

111. It is accepted that there has to be a degree of culture change across the public sector, the third sector and communities themselves in order to fully realise the potential and talent of local people to help improve their own economic, social and physical circumstances.

 

112. At its core, this is about people from various backgrounds viewing each other differently. For example:

 

There is scope for the public sector to think more creatively about how they can nurture local community organisations to help them deliver a range of inter-related outcomes for local people, for example, improvements in social capital, health, employment, learning and skills.
Local community organisations should look to work together to deliver local needs jointly.
We should foster an approach which encourages communities and those working with them to build on the assets they already have to help deliver change. This should build on the assets-based approach set out by the Chief Medical Officer – that is, the strengths and abilities of individuals and communities to take control over how to tackle their own problems – as an effective way of working with communities.
Local communities should look to understand the constraints that public sector organisations sometimes have to work under, whether legal, financial or in terms of governance.
The public sector should look to respond flexibly to the needs of local communities, making space for community-led solutions rather than being driven by professional or organisational needs.
113. None of this is new. These issues could be identified in a range of evaluations of area-based regeneration or public service reform programmes over the past few decades. We should also stress that there are places in Scotland where these positive influences on culture are in evidence and have been for years.

 

114. The challenge we face, in its simplest form, is how we make developing and supporting community-led solutions a part of mainstream business, rather than an occasional project, add-on or experimental programme. This will present challenges including, for example, shifting resources, changing the pattern of service delivery and design, and potentially reassessing professional roles and responsibilities. In this respect, there are parallels with the challenges faced in moving towards investing in early intervention and prevention models of service delivery.

 

One innovative method of community engagement, particularly effective in allowing communities to participate actively in planning for the physical regeneration of their neighbourhoods, is the "charette" methodology. A charette is an interactive design workshop in which the community work together with design professionals, the local authority and a number of technical experts and stakeholder groups, to develop a specific community masterplan.

 

An energising process, charette working allows all stakeholders to contribute to an evolving process, extracting vital local knowledge and empowering communities to shape their future environments. Supported by specialist designers, local contributors are able to assist in the production of proposals that reach beyond what might normally have been achievable through traditional development processes. The continual presentation and testing of ideas allows a layering of understanding and knowledge to be established, refining the proposals in a concentrated timeframe so that positive design opportunities are maximised.

 

Crucially, the charette approach focuses all contributors, regardless of their particular interest, towards the ultimate objective – the creation of a vibrant and successful place in which community life can flourish.

 

The charette approach was successfully piloted in March 2010 as part of the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative ( SSCI). Building on the success of this series, the Scottish Government intends to mainstream the approach across Scotland and allow people to participate actively in the planning of their communities.

 

115. There are a number of approaches that may help deliver a more systematic approach to community-led regeneration. We’d welcome views on these:

 

Providing clarity about what any given community can achieve for itself is important. Given the scale of the challenges faced by some of our most disadvantaged communities, locally-based community organisations will not be able to meet them alone. Joint working between public and third sector and community-based organisations, with local people playing their part as fully as possible will be essential.
Staff in the public sector should have the skills required to work alongside communities and to do things with them rather than to them. We are also interested in developing genuine models of co-production which enable individuals and communities to manage their own circumstances, supported by, but not directed by, public services. We plan to promote the outputs from the Better Community Engagement Skills programme in 2011 across the public sector to achieve this.
Community organisations need to be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses, be supported to plan and develop new activity, and be able to organise their governance to ensure they are inclusive and sustainable. It is important that we consider how best to organise this support and nurture community organisations in a strategic way at local and national level in order to build their capacity.
116. Given this, we are keen to hear views on how people can best attain the skills and knowledge that they need, be this through learning from each other about what can be achieved; case studies; events such as seminars and study visits; learning networks, action learning and peer review so that we can make learning opportunities even more successful.

 

Questions

 

How could community-led solutions best be incorporated into mainstream services and the community planning process and how would this affect organisational structures and delivery?
How might we disseminate learning more effectively and bring together practitioners to share skills and discuss approaches including, for example, peer support?
What more could national and local government alongside the wider public and third sectors do to support community organisations?
Resources

 

117. Resourcing community-led regeneration has always been a challenge. Finding public sector staff time to support or engage with communities, or volunteer time to run community organisations, as well as finding money and suitable premises to run community-led projects is difficult.

 

118. Given the scale of the financial pressures facing the public sector, and some charitable funders, this challenge is going to be greater than before. But there are also opportunities, including looking more seriously at the role local communities play in delivering change in order to help reduce pressure on public services in the medium to long term.

 

119. The evidence base on how community-led activity can reduce demand on local public services in our disadvantaged communities is patchy. In some areas, for example, community-led health, it is relatively strong, as evidenced through the Meeting the Shared Challenge programme, but a general lack of consistency makes it difficult to ask public sector leaders in particular to make tough decisions on funding competing priorities. We need to improve the evidence base and consider how we deploy it in a way that has an impact on those taking resource decisions.

 

120. The Community Empowerment Action Plan recognises that it is through locally-based community-controlled organisations, often referred to as "anchors", that empowerment happens. These are the organisations which deliver community-led regeneration, whether they are development trusts, local housing associations, church groups, community councils, tenant’s organisations or any other model.

 

121. We are interested in views on the strategic direction that funding and support for these community-based organisations should take. There are already a number of different ideas and approaches being tested, and these follow below. We are interested in hearing about other potential approaches:

 

Community asset ownership

 

122. The number of community groups owning assets is growing. This approach is seen as a key way of ensuring a community organisation’s sustainability by providing a secure base in the community and possible opportunities for developing revenue streams.

 

123. There is an opportunity to build on the work done to date on asset transfer by the Development Trust Association and on experience from other programmes like the Wider Role programme and TCRF. We should also consider how we can work with the BIG Lottery in Scotland to see how this programme might link with and support their Growing Community Assets programme.

 

Eday Partnership was formed to tackle deprivation and enhance the quality of life for the islanders of Eday, by delivering a wide range of regeneration initiatives that address housing, employment, transport, tourism and sustainable energy generation.

 

The partnership was formed in 2005 with support from a range of external partners including Orkney Islands Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the European Marine Energy Centre, Scottish Natural Heritage and Community Energy Scotland.

 

Effective joint working and collaboration between partners has broken down barriers to delivery and allowed for the provision of lifeline services in the community, such as: efficient, affordable housing; GP services through community income; regular events to improve community cohesion; development of a subsidised freight scheme; and creation of workshops/units. The partnership was recognised in the SURF Awards for regeneration 2010 and has been successful in attracting £1.3m of investment for local projects. It has installed three new wind turbines which have generated income that is being reinvested in local regeneration projects. The partnership has also developed a range of community assets – including a new heritage centre, a community-owned hostel and a community shop.

 

Community shares

 

124. While community investment is not a new phenomenon, investment in community shares is defined as the sale, or offer for sale, of more than £10,000 of shares or bonds to communities of at least twenty people, to finance ventures serving a community purpose. There are currently four types of share offer – a membership offer, a pioneer offer, a time-bound offer and an open offer.

 

125. Community shares are governed by Industrial Provident Society ( IPS) legislation, the unique attributes of which make it suitable for community investment. IPSs issuing withdrawable share capital are exempt from regulation under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Without this exemption, IPSs would need to employ an FSA authorised adviser, which could be prohibitively expensive for community enterprises raising relatively small amounts of capital. However, this exemption also places a duty on IPSs to act responsibly and protect the financial interests of their members.

 

126. We could promote the use of community shares as a way of funding local community enterprise in Scotland, learning from experience to date in England.

 

Sustaining Dunbar is a local charity, run entirely by volunteers, formed in 2008 to address some of the challenges of creating a sustainable community and start a range of practical projects.

 

Following the closure of the local Smith’s Bakery, Sustaining Dunbar conducted market research into the demand for a local high street bakery. In June 2009 it registered the Dunbar Community Bakery Ltd as a community co-operative. In July 2009 a campaign was launched to encourage local residents and businesses to become shareholders by investing in the venture. A management committee was established in August 2009 with membership from local enterprises and experts in finance, small business, communications, marketing and community development. The aim is to raise £35,000 from shareholders to help meet the start-up costs, with the remainder of the funding coming from grants and loans, some of which have already been secured.

 

It is anticipated that the community bakery will breathe new life into the town centre and will provide a new source of employment and training, and contribute to the strengthening and sustainability of the local community.

 

Sustaining Dunbar has a very good relationship with East Lothian Council, and local councillors have been involved since its inception. Working with staff in the Community Planning Department and with the East Lothian Environment Forum, Sustaining Dunbar has been able to take forward its agenda.

 

Communities and renewable energy

 

127. The Scottish Government is looking at how we can increase the local ownership of and income generated by energy, building on the success of the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme ( CARES), through a new loan scheme to help with the pre-planning costs. We are also consulting on "Securing the Benefits of Scotland’s Next Energy Revolution", and our draft Electricity Generation Policy Statement supports the Climate Change Report. We are considering how broader community benefits from renewables, from either commercial or community-led projects can be shared widely – whether rural, urban, offshore or onshore. We believe that onshore and offshore wind farms are an important part of the mix for meeting Scotland’s renewable energy targets and a key part of the government’s economic strategy, but only in the right places and not at any price.

 

Social Impact Bonds

 

128. A number of organisations are considering new bond models, such as Social Impact Bonds ( SIBs). A Social Impact Bond is a contract with the public sector in which a commitment is made to pay for improved social outcomes that result in public sector savings. The expected public sector savings are used as a basis for raising investment for prevention and early intervention services that improve social outcomes. Services are usually, though not necessarily, delivered by the third sector 17. The Scottish Government is currently investigating the potential of SIBs to contribute to improved outcomes and these may have potential to contribute to regeneration as well as other Governmental priorities.

 

Community budgeting pilots

 

129. The Antisocial Behaviour Community Budgeting Pilots aim to empower local communities by giving them a direct say in how resources are used locally to tackle antisocial behaviour. Depending on the outcome of the pilots, we could explore whether there is an appetite for further programmes of devolving local public sector budgets to community groups.

 

BIG and JESSICA

 

130. Through their Investing in Communities programme and other investment streams, the BIG Lottery in Scotland are one of the most significant and experienced funders of community-led activity in Scotland. We should explore with the BIG Lottery in Scotland how national and local government might help to ensure the success of BIG’s new £15 million JESSICA (Scotland) Trust. This independent Trust will invest in projects that create opportunities for local people and community-led organisations to develop locally owned, led and controlled assets that will lead to local regeneration. The Trust is in its very early stages of development but we should ensure from the outset that we learn from this innovative model.

 

Question

 

What other innovative ideas do you have for resourcing support for community-led regeneration?
Questions Summary

 

What might realistically and practically be done to promote and support leadership in community led regeneration in the public sector, the third sector and in communities themselves?
What are the key issues for governance in relation to community empowerment might be.
How could community-led solutions best be incorporated into mainstream services and the community planning process and how would this affect organisational structures and delivery?
How might we disseminate learning more effectively and bring together practitioners to share skills and discuss approaches including, for example, peer support?
What more could national and local government do to support and build capacity in community organisations?
What other innovative ideas do you have for resourcing support for community-led regeneration.