Why do we need a Community Plan?

New legislation from the Scottish Government asks us to set out this Community Plan, formally called a Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, to show how the Community Planning Partner organisations are working together to tackle inequalities. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires every Community Planning Partnership to publish a similar plan for their local authority area.

Under the Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 a Local Outcome Improvement Plan must:

(a) identify the local outcomes which the Community Planning Partnership consider to be priorities
(b) set out a description of how we will achieve those local outcomes
(c) define the time period within which the proposed improvement will be achieved, and
(d) consider the needs and circumstances of people and communities in the area of the local authority

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires every Community Planning Partnership to publish a similar plan for their local authority area.

In Perth and Kinross we actively promote equality and diversity and we are committed to equality of opportunity as public service providers and as employers. We have made important improvements in providing equality of access to key services, such as early years and family support. We value the diversity of the communities in our area and continue to work towards providing services that are inclusive and accessible. We work closely with our partners on a number of initiatives to support our diverse communities to integrate and feel fully included. Initiatives include our multi-cultural events, community lunch clubs, and the Show Racism the Red Card initiative, to deliver anti-racism educational workshops to our schools. By working in partnership to promote equality we believe that we will make better use of all available public and community resources.

We recognise our responsibility for promoting equality through the nine protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage/civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation). We also recognise that we must go beyond the protected characteristics and consider issues such as health, income, gender identity, employment status and housing circumstances and how they can impact on people’s life chances.

What are inequalities?

Inequalities are unfair because they don’t occur randomly or by chance, they are determined by people’s backgrounds which are often largely beyond their control. People experiencing “socio-economic” inequalities are often limited from reaching their potential. Inequalities are complex and cover a wide range of issues from: health, access, education, employment, income and other factors. Inequalities are often linked to the places people live and there are geographical patterns where different areas experiences different life outcomes.

Inequalities in Perth and Kinross: Fairer Futures

Whilst Perth and Kinross is considered to be a mainly affluent area, in reality many individuals and families across both our urban and rural communities are affected by inequality in relation to income, health and employment opportunities. The Perth and Kinross Fairness Commission ‘Fairer Futures’ has been established to learn more about how people living in the area experience poverty and inequality in their everyday lives, and the circumstances which prevent them from reaching their full potential. The Commission will develop locality approaches to help tackle inequalities through working with people who experience poverty and disadvantage.

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 sets out a clear expectation that community planning partnerships through their Local Outcomes Improvement Plan and Locality Plans must focus on “tackling socio-economic inequalities”.

What does the Scottish Government say about inequalities?

“Although outcomes are generally improving for most people in Scotland they are not improving fast enough for the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of our society, including those who face barriers because of their race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion or belief. Those who have the least access to income, employment and good housing experience higher levels of ill health; often have less physical and psychological resilience to meet challenges; and less power and influence to effect change. Poverty and inequality that is created by prejudice, discrimination or by structural bias not only diminishes opportunity and life experience, but detracts from Scotland’s economic success and wellbeing as a nation. Tackling inequalities and promoting equality of opportunity and outcome, therefore, remain our major challenge.” Source

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland in a consistent way. SIMD ranks small areas (called data zones) from most deprived (ranked 1) to least deprived (ranked 6,976). People using SIMD will often focus on the data zones below a certain rank, for example, the 5%, 10%, 15% or 20% most deprived datazones in Scotland. SIMD provides a wealth of information to help improve the understanding about the outcomes and circumstances of people living in the most deprived areas in Scotland.

Community Planning Outcome Profiles

The Community Planning Outcomes Profile is tool to help explore people’s life outcomes across different communities across Perth and Kinross and across Scotland. The tool uses a set of core measures on important life outcomes including early years, older people, safer/stronger communities, health and wellbeing, and engagement with local communities.

The tool provides:

  • A consistent basis for measuring outcomes and inequalities of outcome in your area.
  • The overall pattern of outcomes in your area and whether people’s lives are improving.
  • Whether inequality is increasing or decreasing over time.
  • Which communities are well below average for your area and for similar communities across Scotland.
  • How different types of communities are creating opportunities for learning.

Health Inequalities

NHS Tayside Equity Strategy – Communities in Control

NHS Tayside published their Health Equity Strategy in 2010. The Strategy built on NHS Tayside’s 2003 Health Inequalities Strategy and laid out that health inequalities are the differences found in various aspects of health between different groups, especially between those who are best off and those who are worst off in society. The 2003 strategy resulted in progress in many areas, however, this strategy suggests a far more radical approach. It describes the devastating effect that health inequalities caused by relative poverty have on the communities we serve. That effect is the enormous scale of poor mental health and wellbeing, long term physical ill health and early death in the poorest communities. It sets out the aim of closing the inequalities gap by aiming for health equity in a generation. That does not mean aiming to completely remove all unfair variation in health, but it does mean reducing the avoidable differences dramatically, to the point where they do not represent the appalling and systemic unfairness we now face. For example, it means reducing the years of life lost annually to poverty in Tayside from being measured in thousands to being measured in hundreds.

Evidence suggests that the one of the main ways relative poverty causes harm is the chronic stress it causes when people experience society’s unfairness. Unhealthy lifestyles such as substance misuse which help people cope with this stress are passed on at very early ages.  Having a sense of worth, aspiration and confidence can protect people from such harm – it can give them resilience. We can help to build on existing confidence and resilience, and rebuild aspiration where it is harmed by supporting communities to take control of their environment and the services that surround them.

It is about making a cultural change that is already starting to happen consistent throughout NHS Tayside and its partners, so that through joined up effort we can help communities become stronger and healthier. This needs to happen jointly with our traditional partners such as local authorities but also with the parts of the voluntary sector that we tend to have less contact with, such as small charities, self help groups and informal community groups that are in touch with people who are not in touch with us. We need to see all these actions as related despite some being for shorter term results and some for longer term. For example, actions to make services easier to access or to promote healthier behaviors are needed in the short to medium term, but they must never be conducted in a way that harms resilience or promotes dependency on our services. Full Report.

Perth and Kinross Health Inequalities Plan 2017-2020

This Health Inequalities Plan sets out our ambition to reduce health inequalities in Perth and Kinross. We aim “to encourage and support people to look after their own health and wellbeing, resulting in more people living in good health for longer with reduced health inequalities”. Through early intervention and prevention we believe there is much we can do to develop an environment which supports healthier lifestyles and reduces inequality. Full Report

Useful Resources

The Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 Part 2 is the specific legislation which tells us about the requirements for the new Community Plan. There is also guidance on the Act which says more about how to implement it –  Guidance and Regulations on the Community Empowerment (Scotland)Act 2015 Part 2.

Scottish Government – Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

Scottish Government- Shifting the Curve 

Scottish Government- Fairer Scotland Action Plan

Perth and Kinross Council- Fairness Commission

Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services – “Christie Commission” 2011

Improvement Service- Community Planning Outcomes Profiles

Insitute of Health Inequality- Fair Society Healthy Lives

Health and Social Care Partnership – Perth and Kinross Health Inequality Strategy

NHS Tayside- Health Equity Strategy

NHS Tayside- Population Heal Intelligence Network (TAYPHIN)