Case Study - Glasgow
Tackling Concentrated Disadvantage Case Study
Glasgow Case Study
Glasgow has historically received large amounts of funding to tackle concentrated disadvantage. The city received about £113.5 million over three years from the Better Neighbourhood Service Fund and about £124.7 million over three years from the Community Regeneration Fund. The re-assessment of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation during the development of the FSF resulted in Glasgow being allocated a larger budget that they expected (£154.5 million). The FSF represents 1 per cent of the Community Planning Partners' combined budgets.
Past Regeneration Activity
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Glasgow had nine geographical and three thematic Social Inclusion Partnerships ( SIPs) supported by the Glasgow Alliance (an independent company limited by guarantee). There was a further thematic SIP managed as an independent company and three small geographical SIPs managed by Glasgow City Council.
In 2005/06, new community planning structures were set up in the city. Five City wide thematic partnerships and ten local Community Planning Partnerships were established. At the same time, the Community Planning Partnership developed the existing Glasgow Alliance into a new organisation - Glasgow Community Planning Limited - to support and develop service delivery within the city.
Those involved in past regeneration activity feel that the city has made progress in tackling concentrated disadvantage over the years. In particular, housing has improved, areas have been regenerated, and there are better, more joined up, services to support people with complex problems. On the other hand, some partners feel that issues like fuel poverty are "as bad as ever", and some communities are much more significantly affected by others. Statistically, progress has been made, compared with other areas in Scotland. According to the 2004 SIMD figures, Glasgow had a 35 per cent national share of the 15 per cent most deprived communities. By 2006, this had fallen to a 33.4 per cent share. The change in the national share of communities in the worst 5 per cent was even more significant. Between 2004 and 2006 this fell from 58.2 per cent to 53.2 per cent.
Most partners consulted as part of this case study felt that partnership working had increased and improved during the SIPs and then the Community Regeneration Fund. Partly, this was due to improved partnership structures. Most felt that the move from SIPs to Community Planning Partnerships had been a positive one. Generally, they felt that SIPs had been too geographically focused (sometimes excluding some streets or areas of very significant disadvantage) and encouraged partners to make decisions based on their own interests, rather than common goals. Others, however, felt that community members had more power within the SIP structure than within community planning.
It was felt that under Community Regeneration Fund, partnerships were strong, communities still had a fair amount of control over funding decisions and the processes were perhaps more transparent than under the SIPs.
There is a strong sense that the partnership approach (developed through the SIPs and Community Regeneration Fund) has led to more effective activities to tackle concentrated disadvantage over the years. One partner highlighted the progress made in joining up services between the NHS and the Council (and social work services in particular) which has led to better information sharing, and streamlined approaches to supporting individuals and families with complex problems.
By the end of the Community Regeneration Fund, there were a large and diverse number of different projects to tackle disadvantage operating across the city. Coverage was variable, with gaps and areas of duplication. There is recognition that this is partly due to how funding has been allocated in the past - many projects evolved out of new funding streams, or as a result of local or thematic funding. As a result, some organisations would receive funding from a range of different funds managed by the same partner organisation. There was no clarity about the overall investment in particular organisations or services, and there is agreement that this was not necessarily the best way to deliver services.
Transition to the FSF
There has been a gradual development of the CPP structures in Glasgow over the last six years. A new structure was already in place when the FSF was introduced in April 2008. This includes a citywide board, five strategic planning areas and ten local Community Planning Boards (two in each strategic planning area). In addition, there are five Thematic Groups (based on the themes set out in Glasgow's Community Plan). Each Thematic Group is headed by a Theme Champion who drives forward change in that theme, and has a primary role for a number of different National Performance Targets.
When the FSF was introduced (in 2008 / 2009) the community planning partners decided to develop a standalone plan for the FSF. The themes and priorities set out in the Regeneration Outcome Agreement formed the basis for their proposals. There had been an expectation that funding streams would be rationalised in advance of the new administration's decision to merge funds to form FSF, so the then Glasgow Community Planning Limited was already preparing a more strategic approach by the time the FSF allocation was confirmed.
Partners generally welcomed the introduction of the FSF, although it was perceived by some as a change in name rather than anything substantial. Some saw it as a significant opportunity to influence mainstream services and were pleased it would bring together smaller ring-fenced funds that had previously been "cumbersome" to manage separately.
The Allocation Process
There was a conscious decision to try and take a more strategic approach to allocating the FSF compared with previous programmes. The Community Planning Partnership was keen to move away from the historical process. There was a perception by some that it raised funding expectations and did not encourage services and projects to work together. In Glasgow, this shift is often described as "Project to Programme". It has focused on rationalising funding (based on performance, and local needs) and promoting more coordinated approaches to service delivery.
There were four main elements to how decisions were informed for 2008 / 2009:
- At the end of 2007, local CPPs analysed all existing funding to evaluate whether those services funded continued to fit with strategic CPP objectives. The analysis considered a number of criteria including; strategic fit, value for money and utilised the performance information available.
- The Community Planning Partnership tasked each of the Thematic Champions to take a lead role in identifying the key activities that supported the delivery of the SOA. Each thematic group identified the key outcomes they would work towards, and agreed to focus on a number of different National Performance Targets. As a result, the FSF was linked to nine out of the fifteen National Outcomes.
- Five independently facilitated workshops were held with a range of partners. Each workshop considered the range of current strategies and action plans linked to the National Outcome and developed appropriate local outcomes and targets that take account of local issues and challenges.
- Glasgow Community Planning Ltd (in consultation with other CPP partners) conducted a mapping exercise to investigate the linkages between the FSF investment locally and the SOA. Glasgow Community Planning staff drew on existing evidence of performance and neighbourhood surveys to explore which existing projects and services could help deliver the agreed outcomes.
In 2008/09 about a third of the total FSF allocation (£14.7million) was managed directly by the 10 local CPPs in the city, based on agreed Local Investment Plans.
The changed approach resulted in what one interviewee described as a "big shake out" of existing local projects. The scrutiny process removed funding from about 20 per cent of the projects which had been supported by earlier programmes. This in turn released funding for new projects at a local level.
For specific organisations funded by the FSF or previous programmes, this has meant a review of their existing funding and activities. Where they were successful in securing a range of different funding from community planning partners in the past, there is now one single funding source, and scrutiny under new criteria.
There have been some criticisms of the approach, which some have seen as being driven by efficiencies or based on the wrong criteria. But most partners consulted in developing this case study feel it has been an important and necessary shift.
The Voluntary Sector Compact
The 2008 - 2009 SOA in Glasgow outlined a commitment amongst CPP partners to work more closely with the Third Sector to deliver key programmes.
As part of this, the CPP has been developing a Voluntary Sector Compact - this is:
"a high level agreement between the voluntary sector and other partners involved in community planning in the city which sets out a framework for good relations and a commitment to an ethos and set of standards that promote effective and respectful partnership working"21
The Community Planning Partnership's Strategic Board approved the content of the "Glasgow Compact - The Voluntary and Public sectors, working together for a better Glasgow" in December 2008. Work will continue to develop and embed to compact during 2009 - 2010, and it is viewed as a means of developing a more strategic approach to the delivery of services, including those aimed at tackling concentrated disadvantage.
Changes to the Community Planning Support Structures
In 2008 the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board ( GCPP) commissioned an independent consultant to carry out a review of the options for future management and delivery of the support structures for the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership. The review proposed two options - the current structures could continue or the responsibility could be transferred to one of the community planning partners. The report suggested that the Council would be the most appropriate partner and the Council's Executive Committee approved the transfer of functions from Glasgow Community Planning Ltd to Glasgow City Council.
A new Community Planning Division has been created within the Chief Executive's Department which is responsible for developing policy and managing the FSF and the Council's Social Inclusion Budget ( SIB). The five community planning support teams based in the North, South, East, South West and South East of the city will continue to support the ten local Community Planning Partnership boards.
During 2009/10, the Community Planning team within Glasgow City Council will work to integrate other City Council grants which focus on social inclusion, poverty and regeneration to create a single grants programme.
The 2008 - 2009 FSF proposal for Glasgow recognised the need to improve engagement in community planning:
"For Community Planning to be effective, it is essential that CPP Partners continue to engage in a meaningful way with communities."22
In 2009 / 2010 the total budget for community engagement is £800k and this comes directly from the FSF.
Key activities aimed at building community capacity and engaging communities in Glasgow have included:
- Establishing and supporting Community Reference Groups ( CRGs) in each of the ten local CPP areas and linking these with the wider Community Planning structures. These groups consist of voluntary representatives from local communities.
- Implementing community engagement strategies for the partner agencies in each area.
- As a direct response to the Glasgow residents survey, the development and implementation of Neighbourhood Management 'Action Plans'.
- Supporting the development of youth networks and engagement activities for children and young people.
- Supporting the publication and delivery of local newspapers and bulletins to share information.
- Support to a community capacity building programme to increase the level of involvement of residents in Community Planning structures and processes.
- Investment in tools to indentify community and voluntary groups in the city and capture community capacity building activity and identify best practice.
- Investment in communications across the city through use of local community newspapers to inform residents of developments in Community Planning.
Example: Community Reference Groups
Community Reference Groups have been established in each of the ten local community planning partnership areas in Glasgow. In total, over 300 nominated or elected individuals from a wide range of community based organisations are involved. The aim has been to engage a range of community interests across each area by ensuring membership from all the neighbourhoods as well as groups of people from different backgrounds ( e.g. age, race, gender, disability, sexuality, belief etc) - although this has not been achieved in all areas yet. Standards have been developed for CRGs that highlight the requirement for fairness and inclusion and the Glasgow Equalities Partnership was established to facilitate this across the City.
The CRGs have a role in communicating the priorities of local people to the local CPPs. Nominees of Community Reference Groups also sit in local Community Engagement Co-ordinating Groups (stakeholder groups charged with implementing Community Engagement) to strengthen the direct link between the community and service providers.
To help deliver the various community engagement activities, Engagement Network Coordinators were recruited locally and funded by the FSF. FSF funding was also invested in a faith communities' programme (partly to broaden engagement, participation and inclusion) and in churches (to support economic justice in priority areas across the city).
Most developments in community engagement in the city have been aimed at engaging people in community planning decisions, rather than in the FSF specifically. However, local CPP Boards across the city include local residents as members. Each local CPP Board has a funding sub-committee (which includes local residents) that scrutinise local FSF investment plans.
There was a general recognition amongst the partners consulted as part of this case study that more needs to be done to engage community members and community groups more effectively in the development of the FSF, and indeed Community Planning more generally. Different reasons were given for the perceived lack of effective community engagement:
- The timescales for developing the first FSF proposal, and the new Community Planning structures were very tight and did not allow much opportunity to consult;
- New community engagement structures within community planning are taking time to become established;
- Different approaches are being taken by different parts of the Council and the various partners, and perhaps a lack of leadership; and
- There are varying levels of skills in community engagement.
Some felt that communities are "more distant" from Community Planning processes. In terms of decision making, there is a perception that there is less community representation on the various Boards and groups than under previous programmes, and new local Community Planning Boards cover a larger area than during the Community Regeneration Fund (and therefore engage a smaller number of people from each community). There was recognition too that these criticisms related to the Community Planning in the City generally, rather than the FSF.
There are concerns that community members and community organisations have not been able to influence and shape the FSF and how it is being used:
"It has all been brought down from the mountain".
There is a sense amongst others that a small number of individuals within a community had too much power over decision making in the past and that community organisations sometimes have a tendency to "try and hold on to what they have got". But others felt that previous programmes (and the planning structures that had supported them) had been more accessible, and offered more and better opportunities for communities and community organisation to contribute views and ideas on tackling concentrated disadvantage. In this way, they had drawn on local knowledge, expertise and skills. In some cases, this involvement had built the capacity of local communities.
There is a sense that the attitude and approach towards community engagement is changing within the city, recognising the need to improve. A range of partners spoke of the need to engage communities in a meaningful way on a range of issues about local priorities (rather than selecting projects and activities) if allocations are to be made in a strategic way in the future.
One partner also highlighted that there is already a lot of good information on what the problems are in different areas, and it is important to communicate back to people what is happening, as well as asking questions:
"Communities have already told us their problems. They should be a sounding board. They don't want to be asked about their problems again - they want to know what you are going to do about it".
Most partners felt that community engagement is "on the agenda" and significant resources are being dedicated to support it.
Recent research reviewed the Community Reference Groups earlier this year and made recommendations for the future. The report highlighted the need to revisit and clearly define the roles of the groups, and address a lack of balance in representation in some areas. It suggested that the two way flow of information could be improved (so that representatives are feeding local views into the CPP structures but also information out to a local level) and that there is a need to explore and review how the structures relate to mechanisms in place within the partner organisations.
The Council is currently reviewing the community engagement structures within the city.
Impact of the FSF
Partners described services which are now much more joined up than ever before. There was agreement that community planning partners are thinking and planning more strategically since the introduction of the FSF. Some felt this had led to a greater focus on bringing about change for specific people, rather than what one consultee described as "a broad brush approach to service delivery". For example, employability services have been reviewed and streamlined to ensure people are supported through key stages, services are not duplicated, and individual outcomes are recorded and reported.
"We've got cleverer at identifying the people living in disadvantage, and have got the agencies to join up and work together to support them"
But this was seen by most as a result of the learning over a number of years (through SIPs, the Community Regeneration Fund and most recently the FSF) about working in partnership. One partner said that you need to look at approaches to tackling concentrated disadvantage as "layers on a cake", with one approach building on the previous one.
Partners disagreed about the extent to which it was the FSF specifically that had led to a more strategic approach in the city. Some feel that a more strategic (outcome focused) approach was already developing the area or that the process of developing the first SOA (which has linked the thematic work to the area based work better) has been more influential. Others disagreed, feeling that having a ring fenced fund (focusing on disadvantage) had been beneficial:
"People's minds are often drawn to a small pot of money - it focuses the attention"
Although a more strategic approach seems to be present at a City wide level within the Community Planning structures (and services are being better integrated and more effective as a result) there were concerns amongst some that this is happening less at a local level. In this way, change is being delivered by "strategic political leadership", rather than local influences.
"At a city wide level there is a shared vision. The key now is articulating this at a local level"
Most partners were relatively confident about the Community Planning Partnership's ability to gather evidence to inform decision making, and monitor and measure change.
Guidance and Support
Some partners offered views on how the Scottish Government and others could support tackling concentrated disadvantage in the future. Some felt there is a need for more support to assess what is and is not working, and to develop a more qualitative approach to measuring impact in an outcome focused way (as has happened in Community Learning and Development). There was also a desire to have more chances to share learning and best practice amongst those working in the field.
One partner consulted during the development of this case study believes the Government needs to put more pressure on local authorities to report on specific change happening at a local level across Scotland.
There are concerns about the removal of ring fencing when the Council is under such significant financial pressures. The drive for efficiency means that the FSF needs to focus more on early prevention, better value, and interdisciplinary teams and services. Partners feel that this might be difficult to handle, as some staff or organisations tend to protect their own interests.
Partners feel that more work needs to be done to make the planning and allocations process more strategic, particularly at a local level. This should include a clearer planning process, with key consultation points. It should also include a more qualitative approach to measuring impact - there was criticism that allocations are still activity led, and targets are perhaps too quantitative. In 2009/10 the Community Planning Partnership plans to mainstream many of the poverty and regeneration service programmes currently supported through FSF.
The new Community Planning processes and structures are now in place, and some partners feel this and the SOA provide good opportunities to develop more effective delivery. But others warned that the strategic approach does still need to recognise local needs - some good programmes of work begin in small ways, "from the bottom up". The new (more strategic) landscape presents may present challenges for local communities and small organisations to develop new and innovative ideas and projects. This might mean that community organisations need to "mature", and work more with others to plan and deliver services in a more strategic way.
Despite these challenges, there is a confidence within the City about the Partnership's ability to tackle concentrated disadvantage, despite the current financial and economic climate. There is recognition that no one scheme will tackle disadvantage on its own - there is a need to take a long term view, and set "a direction of travel". Most partners consulted agree that tackling concentrated disadvantage needs to - and will - remain a priority in the City, particularly at a senior and political level.
About the case study
This case study has been written on the basis of a review of the SOAs prepared in 2008 and 2009; a questionnaire completed by a member of the Community Planning team at Glasgow City Council and interviews with:
- Two members of staff at Glasgow City Council;
- One Theme Champion;
- A local Councillor;
- A member of staff from a city wide voluntary organisation;
- A member of staff from a local regeneration agency; and
- A local community activist.
The case study reflects our interpretation of the range of comments made and does not necessarily represent the views of the Community Planning Partnership.