The Social Renewal Advisory Board was set up by Scottish Ministers to make proposals that can renew Scotland once we start to emerge from the pandemic. Their final report, ‘If not now, when?’ has just been published.

We think this is an excellent and inspirational report. We particularly like the clarity of the asks and suggestions on how to make them a reality and how to prioritise them. It’s good to see a lot of similarities between this report and what was released by Scotland’s Citizen Assembly earlier this week.

However, it’s over generous to say that the Christie’s recommendations are “yet to be delivered in full”. Whilst we certainly have a much better understanding of what’s going wrong, SCSN would suggest we have not yet made enough of a shift to participation, prevention and partnerships yet.

The report talks about “A call to turn the tide on poor outcomes created – often unwittingly – by barriers in the systems that shape how our society works.” It could be questioned if these barriers leading to poor outcomes are quite as unwittingly created as the report suggests. We know quite a lot about what creates poor outcomes but haven’t yet done a huge amount to reshape these systemic issues.

To borrow a metaphor, we feel that as a country, we have gotten very good at describing the water – via the commissioning of consultations, conversations and reports – but are yet to get round taking real action to prevent drowning. There have been so many reports over the last 10 years that have picked up on the issues dealt with within this report. There’s only so much that can be written about the way things are before we start taking concrete action that results in real change.

In the spirit of taking action, we commit to looking at what SCSN can do in response to this report, and how we can encourage and support Community Safety Partnerships to take forward some of this work.

Finally, can we not talk about renew – hands up who wants something actually new!