PART 2: SUMMARY OF THE MAY CONSULTATION AND RESPONSES
1. In May 2013, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation to gather views on the Government's strategy and delivery proposals for the next round of European Structural Funds programmes which will run from 2014 - 2020. In total 84 responses to the consultation were received and have been made publicly available on the Scottish Government website 2 . Overall, the majority of respondents were supportive of the proposals and thought that the more strategic approach will better address Scotland's key challenges.
2. There were a number of common themes that were raised in the consultation responses. Most notable were the number of respondents requesting sustainable transport as a thematic objective (with a small number of requests for other thematic objectives); and a number of respondents in favour of retaining the current four-programme structure for Structural Funds.
3. Furthermore, there were some concerns regarding how policies such as youth employment, social inclusion and active ageing would be referenced in the Partnership Agreement and Operational Programmes and how these policies could be integrated with the proposed strategy for the future programmes.
4. Although broadly in favour of the proposals many respondents requested further clarification on:
- How the ESI funds will be invested to reduce inequalities such as health, income, employment, social and educational
- A recognition of importance of parents/women's employment opportunities and reflection in increased awareness in importance of childcare provision including school aged children;
- How environmental issues will be addressed
- Clarification on the roles and responsibilities of different sectors in the development and implementation of the new programmes
- Clarification on how integration between the ESI funds and the SDPs will be ensured
- Concerns regarding duplication across the funds and engagement with the education sector (schools) and the public sector (most notably the health service) were raised
- Further collaboration between the higher education sector, public and voluntary sector and industry in order to improve the structure and impact of projects.
5. In explaining the work that has taken place since May, and the next steps, the remainder of this document seeks to reference these points, and brings out specific responses in bold text.