Since we published our last Community Plan in 2013 the landscape for local public services has transformed radically. In a climate of continuing and global economic uncertainty the need to make sure we are delivering excellent public services at the right time, in the right way, and to the right people and communities, has never been greater.
Every pound of public money must go further. And so must our Community Planning Partnership in our determination to identify and drive out stubborn and persistent inequalities across Perth and Kinross. That is the Partnership’s new statutory role, a duty which rests on each and every one of the partners.
Perth and Kinross is a big place with a varied geography, it’s the fifth largest Community Planning area in Scotland and with a widely dispersed population. It spans the most remote and spectacular Highland landscapes anywhere in the country, as well as urban centres including Perth city itself, and over 100 towns, villages and hamlets. We could talk endlessly about what we mean by ‘local’ or what defines a community. What matters is that every public service delivered in our area is delivered locally, to individuals, families and neighbourhoods.
The context for public services is both exciting and challenging. New rights for communities via the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 have changed the relationship between public service organisations and the people they serve. Active participation by communities in designing, delivering and improving the impact of services is already underway, via our Local Action Partnerships established in 2016.
Over the lifetime of this Community Plan, we will be instrumental in changing this relationship with communities. This will be achieved by putting more resources, responsibility, accountability and decision making under the control of communities, through our Local Action Partnerships and through initiatives like participatory budgeting, as well as building on our strong and extensive community networks. The social capital of Perth and Kinross is tremendous: over 30% of residents actively volunteer in our communities and their skills, knowledge and talent are what makes our area the best place in Scotland to live, work and visit.
During 2017 the Community Planning Partnership carried out extensive consultation with the public, with wider partners and with frontline staff who deliver public services of all kinds, every day. This Plan is shaped by their views about what matters most for our area. I am proud to lead the Community Planning Partnership as it embarks on delivering our vision of a confident, ambitious and fair Perth and Kinross for everyone.
Councillor Iain Campbell
Leader of the Council and Chair of Community Planning Partnership Board