Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 in detail

High quality public services which work together and with Scotland’s communities are essential to support a fair and prosperous society. Community planning is a key driver for public service reform at a local level. It brings together local public services and the communities that they serve. It provides a focus for joint working, driven by strong shared leadership, directed towards distinctive local circumstances.

Under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, community planning is about how public bodies work together and with the local community to plan for, resource and provide or secure the provision of services which improve local outcomes in a local authority area, with a view to reducing inequalities.

The 2015 Act makes significant changes to community planning legislation. Community planning now has a clear statutory purpose focused on improving outcomes. These reforms recognise that;

  • It is unlikely that any public sector body can most effectively meet its own business requirements by working in isolation
  • Public bodies need to work closely with each other and their local communities in order to make the biggest difference in the outcomes for which they are responsible
  • How public sector bodies and communities do this should reflect often distinctive local conditions

The 2015 Act requires Community Planning Partnerships to;

  • Prepare and publish a local outcomes improvement plan (LOIP) which sets out the local outcomes which will be prioritised for improvement
  • Identify smaller areas within the local authority area which experience the poorest outcomes, and prepare and publish locality plans to improve outcomes on agreed priorities for these communities
  • Review and report publicly on progress towards their LOIP and locality plans, and keep the continued suitability of these plans under review

The 2015 Act expands the number of public sector bodies that are subject to community planning duties. Statutory partners under the 2003 Act included the local authority, the Health Board, Scottish Enterprise / Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Regional Transport Partnership. The 2015 Act expands this list to include;

  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • The Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board for the area
  • A National Park authority
  • The board of management of a regional college
  • A regional strategic body under the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Scottish Sports Council (i.e. Sportscotland)
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • VisitScotland

The 2015 Act places specific duties on community planning partners, all linked to improving outcomes. These include;

  • Co-operating with other partners in carrying out community planning
  • Taking account of LOIPs in carrying out its functions
  • Contributing such funds, staff and other resources as the CPP considers appropriate to improve local outcomes in the LOIP and secure participation of community bodies in community planning

The participation of and with communities lies at the heart of community planning, and the 2015 Act makes it clear that consultations is no longer enough and the CPPs and community planning partners must act to secure the participation of communities throughout.

 

 

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