This report presents the findings of an analysis, conducted in - house by Scottish Government, of the responses to the Scottish Government's consultation on draft guidance and regulation for Part 2 Community Planning in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. The Consultation ran from 17 March 2016 until 19 June 2016 and explored respondent's views re:
- the principles of effective community planning,
- the review and reporting of plans
- criteria and population basis for locality planning
A total of 92 responses were received. 5 of these responses were from individuals and 87 from organisations. For the purposes of this consultation responses from organisations have been further subdivided into the following categories;
- Community Councils
- Community Planning Partnerships
- Local Authorities
- National Health Service
- Public Bodies
- Third Sector
A full list of respondents who provided their permission via the Respondent Information Form to publish their consultation response with their name is listed in these subdivisions in Annex 2.
A large amount of detailed information was provided and the findings on each of the issues are summarised below. Further details are provided in the main body of the report. It should be noted that not all respondents replied to all questions or sub parts of questions.
Principles for effective community planning
There was a high level of support for and broad agreement with the principles as outlined in the draft guidance. Almost all respondents (81 out of 84 (96%) respondents) who replied to this question supported the principles. Respondents supported the principles, particularly those which placed an emphasis upon:
- community participation.
- shared leadership,
- understanding of local communities' needs, circumstances and opportunities,
- key priorities
A small number of respondents who supported the principles considered that there should be no more principles. Their view was that the principles described were well established and recognisable as building upon previous materials such as the Statement of Ambition which COSLA and Scottish Government agreed in 2012 and other statements issued since then from the National Community Planning Group.
Respondents who suggested strengthening or adding to these principles emphasised:
- importance and role of non-statutory partners throughout community planning;
- the duties on the named partners to facilitate community planning;
- the contribution of resources from partners to meet CPP priorities;
- flexibility and autonomy of local response;
- cognisance that some outcomes may be regional or pan CPP;
- dispute resolution amongst partners and communities.
Common performance expectations
There was a wide ranging response to whether there should be common short or medium term performance expectations for community planning. The predominant views recognised potential for tension between local circumstances and common expectations. These appear to reflect that respondents valued being able to locally determine performance expectations as a whole and particularly where they were short or medium term.
Review of progress
The consultation invited views on whether the statutory guidance should specify a time limit within which CPPs must review and if necessary revise their plans. Responses to this question were almost evenly split. Responses indicate a small majority for both a specific time period for review (39 out of 75 (52%) and local determination of what that timeframe should be (39 out of 76(51%). A small number of replies provided commentary without specifying either yes or no to the question.
Themes emerging included whether this timescale should be nationally set, locally determined or whether there should be an upper range or limit to when a review must be undertaken.
Reporting of progress
A small majority of the total respondents to this question (38 out of 73 (52%)) on the timescale for progress reports indicated that CPPs should publish progress reports in a period of 6 months or less after the end of the reporting year.
Other comments about guidance
A wide range of views were expressed with respondents broadly welcoming the guidance as being helpful to them. A small number of respondents requested that guidance include commentary on dispute resolution processes, both in relation to disagreements amongst partners and where communities hold differing views with each other or with the CPP or partners. Some respondents considered enhanced emphasis should be placed on partners aligning their planning and reporting cycles, timelines and structures.
Criterion and maximum population for locality planning regulation
The consultation invited views on the content of a draft regulation which sets criteria for the definition of "locality" for the purposes of locality planning. A small majority, (30 out of 57(53%)) of those who expressed a preference, favoured a regulation which set one criterion based on population.
Consultees were also asked if a criterion which set a maximum population size for a "locality" would prevent reasonable approaches to locality planning. It also queried what difference there would be if the population maximum for localities was lowered from 30,000 to 25,000 or 20,000.
The sections on the locality planning regulation criterion and maximum population generated a great deal of lengthy and wide ranging commentary from respondents. These included comments from an additional 17 respondents who did not directly express a preference either in favour or against the criterion.
There were wide ranging views expressed in relation to these questions with themes emerging around issues such as local determination of criterion, minima regulation for maxima flexibility, communities of interest, urban and rural views, existing structures and alternate criteria. Other comments focused upon a maximum population criterion not being relevant to the circumstances in their CPP area; potential difference of views between rural and urban areas; community involvement in setting locality; balance between size of locality and structures to support implementation; using existing locality structures and potential confusion about locality terminology.
In total there were 70 responses to this question concerning whether there were equalities issues we should be aware of in respect of local outcomes improvement plans and locality plans which were very wide ranging. Some of the broad themes emerged around importance and challenge of securing the participation of those experiencing disadvantage and the potential unintended consequences of ignoring the views of those who wish to participate in pursuit of those whose participation is most challenging to secure. Other issues concerned the potential tensions between a focus on geographic communities at the expense of communities of interest.