It really will take all of us to build a Fairer Scotland. That's why the original plan also featured fairness pledges from the Poverty Truth Commission, Lloyds TSB Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation amongst others. This chapter provides an update on all of the pledges.
The Carnegie UK Trust pledged to work to improve access to affordable credit.
"We are fully committed to this pledge and has seen a number of positive steps taken on these issues over the past year:
The Trust has to date established a national Affordable Credit Action Group, chaired by the Very Reverend John Chalmers, former Principal Clerk at the Church of Scotland.
The Carnegie Associate has been working directly with affordable credit providers and local authorities to build up Scotland's affordable credit offering.
The Trust and Affordable Credit Action Group have contributed time, resources and expertise to support the creation of new CDFIs offering affordable credit in Scotland.
2017 has seen the opening of Community Development Finance Initiatives ( CDFIs) in five new local authority areas, offering affordable credit and financial capability support to some of Scotland's poorest citizens.
An innovative consortium of Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk councils has supported CDFI Conduit Scotland's opening in Dunfermline, Bathgate, Falkirk and Kirkcaldy.
Glasgow-based CDFI Scotcash opened a second branch in Edinburgh with support from the Virgin Money Foundation and Oak Foundation and a further future expansion is planned for Inverclyde.
The Trust has commissioned new research and testimony to continue to build support and understanding of affordable credit issues.."
The Corra Foundation (previously known as Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland) pledged to help the Scottish Government support innovative approaches to tackling poverty and deprivation. As well as continuing to be a thoughtful grant-maker, they would work differently to reach the communities that historically have accessed very little charitable funding.
"The Corra Foundation is working towards this pledge through People in Place, which aims to reach communities that do not historically access charitable funding but who experience multiple and complex challenges.
Rather than a traditional funding approach of inviting groups to apply for grants, the programme works directly with each community to understand their experiences, aspirations and what support could help them achieve the change they want. A Community Co-ordinator employed by the Foundation takes a Community Development Approach, working alongside communities, to help facilitate and enable capacity building within the community; widening community participation; and ultimately resulting in locally-led actions being taken. In the long term, the Foundation will aim to step back from each community with a lasting legacy of change and a sustainable investment strategy in place.
Key updates include:
- The programme is now established in 8 areas: Cumnock in East Ayrshire; Fernhill in South Lanarkshire; Castlehill in West Dunbartonshire; Blacklands in North Ayrshire; Dunterlie in East Renfrewshire; Bainsford and Langlees in Falkirk; and Buckhaven and Methil in Fife.
- The programme began in Cumnock, working closely with the local Cumnock Action Plan Steering Group. Key milestones in Cumnock have included: increased participation in community activities, for example a Christmas Festival, litter picking and flower planting. Residents have spoken of growing community confidence and pride. As part of implementing the local action plan, the community in Cumnock have seen evidence of: local people feeling valued and heard; people getting more involved, resulting in increased engagement and action across the community; increasing numbers of local people able to take the lead resulting in increasing resilience across the community; and local strategic stakeholders having increased their awareness of place and how this affects life chances and opportunities
- Actions which have been taken include the demolition of a much-hated shopping centre and early steps being taken with the community in conjunction with Scotland's Town Partnership, together with many other partners, to explore the potential for Cumnock becoming Scotland's first Green Town.
We are delighted to be embarking on a piece of work with the Scottish Government using the expertise of a group of cross-sector stakeholders to make recommendations as to the enabling conditions for place-based work to create change."
Dundee City Council pledged that all recommendations of the Dundee Fairness Commission will be taken forward.
"Following successfully applying for funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge Fund Dundee City Council were able to commission Child Poverty Action Group Scotland to deliver a Cost of the School Day project, building on the learning from their work in Glasgow.
A steering group consisting of members with a wide range of experiences within education including representatives from nursery, primary and secondary schools, teaching unions, school and family development workers and education officers has been established.
A report with interim recommendations has been produced and shared with the Council's Executive Director for children's Services and his team.
It has been agreed that CPAG will complete the Cost of the School Day project by March 2018.
The Dundee Partnership has commissioned Faith in Community Dundee to facilitate the formation and development of a new Fairness Commission in Dundee based on the poverty truth commission model. This is being supported by funding from the Scottish Government. To date all community and civic commissioners have been recruited.
The first milestone was a formal handover from the chair of the initial Dundee Fairness Commission to community members of the new model on 24 March 2017. Three full meetings of the commission have been held. It is anticipated that a final report for the group will be published at a conference in September 2018.
This new body which has been set up will make sure that the voices and experiences of people struggling against poverty in Dundee continue to be heard to inform future efforts to tackle and reduce the causes and impact of poverty in the city".
Inclusion Scotland pledged to seize every opportunity to ensure that disabled people are full included in the delivery and future development of all aspects of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan.
"Inclusion Scotland has continued to help ensure that the voices of disabled people inform developments within the Scottish Government's new social security system, including through the launch of a new 'Poverty and Social Security' Policy Panel of disabled people; one of 5 Policy Panels we will be launching over the next year to increase disabled people's input to policymaking. We have also been involved in the Expert Disability and Carers Benefits Advisory Group and other stakeholder groups. Other key areas of activity have included the publication of a report of the Disabled People's Summit on Housing, making the case for urgent action to increase the supply of accessible housing. We are also working on the Child Poverty Bill - child poverty being an issue that disproportionately affects families with disabled children or parents.
On employment, we have continued to contribute towards the development of new devolved employability services - and now evaluation methods - highlighting the importance of addressing negative employer attitudes, and barriers like inaccessible premises and communications. We are currently working to set up a new programme of internships for disabled people, this year focusing primarily (although not exclusively) on placements within the Scottish Parliament and civil service. Other activities include working with officials and key stakeholders on shaping a major Employability Congress next year.
We are currently evaluating the pilot Access to Elected Office Fund, which provided funding to level the playing field by meeting the extra disability-related costs of disabled candidates in the 2017 local government elections. Against a target of 30, the Fund initially supported 44 disabled people, 39 of whom were selected as candidates. Fifteen went on to be elected as Councillors. The Scottish Government has committed to continuing the Fund. Both the Fund and our Scottish Government funded parliamentary internships have begun to receive international interest, which we hope to pursue.
We will continue to support action to progress the delivering of disabled people's human rights and to set up structures through which disabled people can monitor progress, as is essential if the vision for a Fairer Scotland is to be achieved."
Joseph Rowntree Foundation pledged to set out their strategy to solve poverty in common with the Fairer Scotland Action Plan through a range of actions.
"We have supported Fair for You to enable this Community Interest Company to provide affordable white goods and furniture as an alternative to high-cost rent-to-buy providers. This is a GB-wide offer proving popular in Scotland, in part due to remote and rural areas having the same access/costs as urban areas. Co-investors include Social Investment Scotland and The Robertson Trust.
JRF is a co-investor with the Scottish Government in Our Power, a distinctive approach to lower costs energy tariffs for pre-paid meter customers in Scotland at the same prices as via direct debit. We have allocated £500,000 as part of a wider partnership including Social Investment Scotland and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
We are also supporting Glasgow Together via an investment bond to assist with the charity's work in training ex-offenders to work in construction jobs paid at the higher voluntary living wage. Other investors include The Robertson Trust.
JRF is funding the catalyst roles of the Building Connections demonstration project in Glasgow. This supports the embedding of advice on social security, debt, childcare, apprenticeships and support with English learning in two GP surgeries and two Job Centres. In one area of the city's East End, financial gains of £1 million have been achieved in 18 months for low-income residents through income maximisation and debt reduction. We are in discussion with the Scottish Government Social Security Directorate about the wider policy and practice implications.
Finally we are a co-investor with People in Place, the place-based programme in 'cold-spot' neighbourhoods (which have attracted little or no independent funding) run by the Corra Foundation (formerly Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland). This is now active in 8 neighbourhoods across 7 local authorities (East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Falkirk, West Dunbartonshire, Fife, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire)."
NHS Health Scotland pledged to help the Scottish Government in its ambition to end child poverty in Scotland
"The 'Child Poverty, Health and Wellbeing' eLearning module was launched in Autumn 2016 and has since been included in several undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. To date, 1053 learners from a range of sectors ( HIEs, local authorities, NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships, third sector) had completed the module. The module has evaluated well and we are continuing to roll out in its current form as well as to develop case studies to support practical application.
We have agreed with the Poverty Alliance the scope of, and support for, raising awareness of child poverty and its impact on health and wellbeing and have established a proposal for incorporating training within the Poverty Alliance's Stick Your Labels programme. The first learning session was held in October 2017 with wider stakeholders and staff from public sector agencies before rolling out learning events and resources across Scotland.
We prioritised action in the first instance on developing referral pathways for pregnant women and families with young children as they are amongst the groups hardest hit by welfare reform measures. Drawing on the learning from the successful Healthier Wealthier Children ( HWC ) initiative with universal health visiting and midwifery services, we developed the Financial Inclusion Referral Pathway Toolkit which we launched in September 2016. We hosted an event in partnership with the Improvement Service, CPAG Scotland and the Money Advice Service in February 2017 to build on our and others' practice in order to further support the development of local partnerships and referral pathways across Scotland. We are now working with and through the Scottish Health Promotion Managers Group ( SHPMG) to build on existing referral pathway activity in the NHS to establish these services across the whole of Scotland.
We are supporting the inclusion of routine enquiry around money worries and the offer of a referral to an advice service have been incorporated into the Universal Health Visiting Pathway for Scotland. We are now exploring how to further embed this approach in other NHS settings including in antenatal services through midwifery and through the Health Promoting Health Service ."
The Poverty Truth Commission ( PTC) pledged to ensure that people experiencing poverty are at the heart of work to overcome it.
"Over the last year, we led on the following actions:
- We launched the 4th round of the Commission in January 2017 and have established 3 working groups focussing on Mental Health, Asylum and Cuts and Assessments.
- We completed the third Mutual Mentoring Scheme between civil servants and people experiencing poverty and launched the fourth round in September 2017.
- We are in regular talks with our counterpart in Dundee - Dundee Fighting for Fairness who are designing new PTC style conversations.
- Ours is an on-going pledge; although some of the targets set up in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan have already been met, our ultimate vision is to have an engaged and thriving Commission, led by people experiencing poverty"
The Prince's Trust Scotland pledged to expand Mosaic their new mentoring programme for BME young people who are growing up in the most deprived communities.
"The Prince's Trust Scotland has pledged to support 150,000 vulnerable young people by 2030 to overcome significant barriers and have increased access to education, training and employment opportunities - this is on track to be achieved.
We have successfully rolled out the delivery of our new Mosaic mentoring programme creating opportunities for young people from black and ethnic minorities who are growing up in our most deprived communities. In 2016, we worked across 4 high schools in Glasgow, and supported 120 young people to boost their confidence, self-efficacy and long-term employability. In 2017 we are on track to support 300 young people in 6 schools
Our new education programme, Achieve which supports those disengaged with school, to equip them with the confidence, skills and a qualification to re-engage in education, training or employment has also started strongly. Last year we worked in partnership with 1600 young people, our aim to expand to 2,200 per year in Scotland by 2018 is ahead of target."
Timewise and Family Friendly Working Scotland pledged to produce the first ever Flexible Jobs Index for Scotland.
"Timewise and Family Friendly Working Scotland, a partnership including the Scottish Government published the first ever Flexible Jobs Index for Scotland on 7th September, with a Ministerial launch at Lloyds Banking Group.
This new research highlights for the first time that only 12% of quality jobs in Scotland are advertised as open to flexible or part time working. The report identifies both the opportunity and need to incentivise employers to extend flexible working to the hiring process, to avoid missing out on the talents and skills of many candidates who can only consider jobs that offer flexibility, and in doing so will help to create a stronger, more inclusive economy in Scotland for the benefit of everyone.
The findings will be used to support both the Scottish Government and Family Friendly Working Scotland to encourage and support employers across Scotland to embrace flexible hiring and to use the Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline in job adverts."
Virgin Money pledged to do its best to make banking fairer and more accessible for the people of Scotland and building a bank that aims to treat its customers fairly through helping with financial inclusion and tackling diversity.
"In terms of Financial Inclusion, Virgin Money helped Scotcash open its ethical small loans operation in Edinburgh in August 2017. This was done through a grant from our charitable foundation, the Virgin Money Foundation. This will help more financially excluded people access affordable credit, financial support and guidance to help make the most of their money.
On Diversity, 141 firms across the financial services sector, many in Scotland, have now signed the Women in Finance Charter, as recommended in Jayne Anne Gadhia's (Chief Executive of Virgin Money) review into the representation of women in senior management in financial services, published in March 2016. The Charter sets out that Firms should:
- have one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion.
- set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management
- publish progress annually against those targets in reports on their website; and
- have an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.
Signatory firms collectively employ over 560,000 people - equal to over half of the employees in the financial services sector and more than the total employees in the mining, energy and water sector combined."
Working Families pledged to help the Scottish Government build a fairer Scotland by sharing their experience of working with and supporting SMEs to introduce flexible working.
"We will advise on mentoring which we have carried out in Wales, and share the toolkit and guidance on job design and flexible hiring which we are developing with Welsh SMEs. We will also make available to SMEs in Scotland the Working Families SME online benchmark, so that owner-managers can assess the culture and practice of their own businesses and understand the changes they can make for more effective and fairer employment"
The project is now in its closing stages. We have held training events and are collecting final data from the participating employers whilst developing the toolkit, which will be launched online later in 2017. We have yet to secure funding for the SME benchmark. When we do, we are ready to begin development and launch it."
Young Scot pledged to use the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and it's built in smart-technology to connect young people to services and opportunities.
"We are currently developing and enhancing the role of the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and smart-tech to contribute to closing the attainment gap and tackling inequalities, including exploring, developing and implementing new local and national entitlements for young people.
We are actively working with partners in the Scottish Government, Improvement Service, Transport Scotland and NECPO to ensure that the Young Scot NEC smart-card technology is effectively utilised to ensure that young people have access to enhanced entitlements, smart transport, opportunities and services. We are currently collaborating with these partners around adding entitlements to the card, including an enhanced transport pilot offer for Modern Apprentices that will be carried on the Young Scot NEC - currently out for public consultation by Transport Scotland.
We have also been working with the Improvement Service to improve the digital aspect of the National Entitlement Card - looking at how we can diversify access utilising smart-phone technology, whilst also improving our Rewards and Discounts interface for young people.
Exciting progress has also been made with a new active project focusing on tackling the attainment gap in Scotland. Working with 9 Attainment Challenge Local Authority partners over the next 3 years, we will support the provision of enhanced entitlement for young people around health and wellbeing using the NEC and wider Young Scot services."
YouthLink Scotland pledged to support the Scottish Government's aims of ensuring 'A Fairer Scotland for All' and 'A Strong Start for All Young People' by supporting the significant contribution that youth work makes to equality and the realisation of young people's human rights
""A Fairer Scotland for All" is integral to the work of YouthLink Scotland. The specific pieces of work outlined in the pledge will be completed in the next year.
In partnership with Education Scotland we have trained 40 people who will go on to train other practitioners (who work with young people) in the development of human rights based policy and practice.
In partnership with Zero Tolerance Scotland we have trained 18 people who will go on to train other practitioners to work with young people to prevent teen abuse.
We have supported the establishment and expanded the membership of the Scottish Equalities in Youth Work Steering Group and agreed a first piece of action related to the development of a holistic training resource which encompasses and merges aspects of existing equalities materials.
We worked with 5 youth work organisations, 10 young youth workers and 60 young people to research "women of influence" in their communities."