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CSPP @ Holyrood 2016: “100 Policy Ideas in 100 Days”



In the run-up to the Scottish parliamentary election the CSPP is provoking debate on the key issues affecting all of us who live in Scotland. 

As part of this we are featuring one policy idea every day for 100 days in the lead up to the vote, for the attention of the next Scottish Government once it has been conformed. 

We would also like your help to make sure that these ideas reflect the views and needs of our membership and the wider third sector community. What policies would you, or your organisation, like political parties to adopt in the next parliament in order to benefit Scotland’s people and places? What issues are a priority to address in Scotland at this time, and how?

The CSPP will review ideas submitted to ensure they are consistent with our policy areas important to people and place in Scotland. These include public services, health and wellbeing, environmental quality, towns and planning, community development and participation, local government and taxation, and our democracy.

So please get in touch today and help us show the breadth and depth of positive and practical thinking from across Scotland on how to improve our society and environment in the months and years to come. You can contact us via our website or by emailing ewan@cspp.org.uk. We feature the ideas on this rolling blog, via social media, and elsewhere in the policy community.

 

100 Policy Ideas in 100 Days to #Holyrood2016

Note: the CSPP is featuring these policy proposals to stimulate debate prior to the Holyrood Elections. As a third sector organisation we do not necessarily agree with each and every detail of these ideas, however we think each merits serious discussion.

Week 15: Monday 2 May- Tuesday 3 May (Ideas 99 - 100)

#100 (CSPP) - Pursue a coordinated, integrated and innovative approach across sectors to address the most pressing policy challenges in the coming parliament, harnessing the engagement and participation of communities to deliver the best outcomes for Scotland's people and places. 

#99 (Alliance Scotland) - Deliver new model of social security and employment following the Scotland Bill

- Deliver a new Scottish social security system with compassion and human rights at its core, funding independent advocacy to support people through assessment processes.
- Fund a My Skills, My Strengths, My Right to Work Development Unit to support individuals and organisations in the new Scottish employability service framework. For more read Alliance Scotland's 2 Million Expert Voices manifesto

 

Week 14: Monday 25 April - Sunday 1 May (Ideas 92 - 98)

#92 (COSLA) - Open up Scottish democracy

... by joining COSLA in establishing a constitutional convention to design a new approach to accountability.

Our interest in better local democracy is not an end in itself. It is because empowering citizens and turning around participation are the best ways to improve wellbeing and reduce inequalities for the whole of Scotland. For that to happen, local participation and elected representation both need to prosper interdependently, rather than be seen as different standards to compete with one another. This is as true of local government as it is of national government.

Change therefore has to happen at all levels of our political system. Significant investment and energy is going to be needed to build the capacity and confidence of communities to participate effectively, particularly amongst those that are furthest from decisions at the moment. That process needs to start now. By establishing a convention in the early life of the parliament- bringing together local and national government, the third sector, public services and communities – we can set a course to build the habits of democracy and foster active citizenship for the long term.

Building strong participation does not diminish the role of representative democracy. Elected representatives are fundamental to an effective democracy and will be all the more so in a context where more decisions and powers are held locally in the future. Our ambition is that as a nation we come to think of democracy not as separate or competing bodies of ‘participation’ and ‘representation’, but more simply a positive culture of collaboration in which everyone with a stake in the improvement of local outcomes is empowered to fulfil their part.

#93 (COSLA) - Join up thinking on reform

... by focusing the debate on local outcomes not sound bites.

People want better outcomes from the public sector in Scotland. Yet some political thinking still focuses on inputs such as police or teacher numbers, or policies that can prescribe how budgets are used regardless of their local relevance. This is wasteful and does little to prevent problems from emerging in the first place.

The move to genuine outcomes has started, but it has to become the predominant measure by which services are judged. Further and faster progress is now needed. Populist sounding but unhelpful arguments about inputs might appeal to some, but we are asking all parliamentarians to embrace a more progressive debate.

Of course, better outcomes are not just determined by local government, but by the way all public services do business. We therefore also need to prevent a proliferation of competing agendas from diverting attention and resources away from that task. That means freeing up all local partners to listen to communities and focus on what makes the difference to them, not one size fits all solutions or complex governance arrangements. For more on these ideas, see COSLA’s #ChooseLocal 2016 Manifesto

 #94 (Built Environment Forum Scotland - BEFS) - Ensure the planning system takes into account what local people value about their places and actively involves communities in delivering good places.

The next Scottish Government must ensure that the planning system takes into account what local people value about their places and actively involve communities in delivering good places. Increasing early and genuine public participation in the planning process will require additional resource but prevent poor built outcomes and public dissatisfaction with the planning system. It is vital that the Scottish Government continues to invest in support for community groups as they take on new stewardship responsibilities as a result of community asset transfer.

#95 (BEFS) – Prioritise direct investment to address Scotland’s backlog of property repair, combined with a requirement for property owners to carry out a building MOT.

BEFS supports the Existing Homes Alliance Infrastructure project on improving insulation but good maintenance of Scotland’s homes is at least as important, with 1.3 million homes showing signs of critical disrepair meaning they may not be wind and watertight. Direct investment to address Scotland’s backlog of property repair must be a priority combined with a requirement for property owners to carry out a building MOT. This would not only improve living standards by addressing fuel poverty but also stimulate local economies, as most repairs are undertaken by small and medium-sized firms.

#96 (BEFS) – Public bodies should lead by example in their management of historic assets, marketing these with full conservation management requirements.

Public bodies should lead by example in their management of historic assets. Where they have to dispose of assets, these should be marketed with full conservation management requirements made explicit and informed by engagement with local communities.

#97 (BEFS) - Ensure that organisations tasked with caring for our heritage, large and small, are well-resourced to deliver the care and maintenance of the historic properties it cares for on behalf of the nation.

The next Scottish Government must ensure that organisations tasked with caring for our heritage, large and small, are well-resourced to deliver the care and maintenance of the historic properties it cares for on behalf of the nation: access to heritage and culture improves people’s mental health and wellbeing. It is essential that Historic Environment Scotland’s regulatory functions in relation to the listing of buildings and the scheduling of monuments and its advisory services to planning authorities are well supported.

#98 (BEFS) - Decision-makers must be supported with the best information and advice possible when it comes to determining applications for consent.

Planning authorities must have access to appropriate expertise on the historic environment, to ensure that decision-makers have the best information and advice possible when it comes to determining applications for consent. 

 

Week 13: Monday 18 April - Sunday 24 April (Ideas 85 - 91)

 #85 (Richard Kerley / CSPP) – Provide free bus travel to those who are unemployed.

Want a Job  – get on the bus!

This manifesto proposal is about supporting the unemployed to get on the bus, through the same means and in the way that we currently support older people and those with disabilities to do so.

We currently provide concessionary free bus travel for people aged over 60 and those with various forms of disability. The overall cost that is budgeted for by the government is in the order of £250 in this year [2016] and the service is available to about 1.2m people. In practical terms usage varies widely, depending on availability of bus services, the health, mobility and social circumstances of people and so on.  Operators are reimbursed on formula per passenger [it’s all done through Smart [ish ] cards] The cost averages about £220 per head per year.

My recent work has given me a far better appreciation of just how expensive it can be to travel from some places in Scotland to other, often large towns and cities where employment might be available.  If you‘re trying to get work, or indeed, if you do get a job, the paying out £5 [and it can be more] in bus fares each day takes a large bite out of a low wage.

If we were to give each man or woman unemployed for more than 3 months a 1 year concessionary bus pass, our total likely cost might be in the order of £35-40 M per year. It would make job searching and the first period of work a lot easier and give people a chance to get back on their feet.

Some might argue it could be ‘misused’ for leisure or social travel. So what – nobody makes a judgement about me using a concessionary pass to meet friends in the pub, or my friend who uses it to get to his moored boat. And given what we know of the social and health impact of unemployment and isolation, even misuse might be socially beneficial in the longer term.

The thing about spending commitments in party manifestos is that the apparently big ticket items rarely make much difference to many people.   That extra £100M per annum on education? Councils alone spent £4.61bn last year; that extra money will be swallowed and never noticed by the system.

Make it easier for those who languish unemployed to seek work, start work, and grow in that work and we could make a real difference.

#86 - #88 (Alliance Scotland) – Seek to prevent isolation and loneliness with the following key measures:

- Amend the National Performance Framework to include national indicators specifically to monitor social connectedness and progress in preventing social isolation.

- The National Links Worker Programme should be extended to all Deep End Practices in Scotland

- Establish a national strategy to expand community transport infrastructure in Scotland. For more, see the Alliance Scotland “2 Million Expert Voices” 2016 Manifesto

#89 (COSLA) - Make Scotland’s public services local by default

… through an immediate review to localise and simplify how all public services are governed and accountable to communities.

Any reform of the public sector needs to bring democratic power closer to people. After all, services that are driven by local priorities are best able to improve outcomes, use resources effectively, and empower those around them.

What happens today will not deliver the kind of approach required in future. That’s why it is time to look again at governance right across the public sector to ensure that local people and their representatives, not bureaucracies, are accountable for the decisions that affect where they live.

Approaching democracy that way round will really transform Scotland. It could amount to the biggest decentralisation of power ever undertaken. By beginning the process now, we can ensure that all services that can be locally planned and delivered are democratically accountable to local people.

#90 (COSLA) - Redraw the partnership between local and national government

… beginning with a summit that delivers a new framework for local and national government.

17 years after the Scottish Parliament was established, devolution within Scotland remains unfinished business. Yet around the world, local choices are not something to be debated; they are simply part of the landscape.

Local variation is the solution, not the blockage, to better and more cost effective public services. That does not mean leaving local areas to do whatever they want. National government has a clear mandate to establish priorities for the nation and protect our rights as citizens. But these should be delivered in ways that respond to local diversity, and which uphold local democratic priorities and preferences.

It is the people of Scotland that want government at two levels, who elect representatives to each, and who should determine the services that each provide. That’s why we need to re-energise the relationship between local and national government in Scotland, and put it on a formal footing.

#91 - Give communities financial choices

... starting by putting local control at the heart of local taxation.

Strong local democracy is a false promise without local fiscal autonomy, and reform is urgently needed. We now have a fiscal framework between the UK and Scottish Governments, and there’s no reason why one cannot be created between local and national government too.

50 years ago, Scotland’s councils raised over 50% of their expenditure through local taxation. Today that has fallen to 12% here, but it is far higher elsewhere in Europe. The council tax freeze has been in place for 9 years, and since 1990 non-domestic rates have been centrally controlled.

As an immediate step, a new approach to local taxation will be delivered during the next parliament. But as a country we can be ambitious and put local democratic choices back into local government finance. Rather than setting restrictions from the centre, real local financial powers would allow communities to decide their priorities and how to pay for these. Specifically we are calling for:

  • Freedom to spend in ways that reflect local choice and accountability;
  • An end to central direction in the setting and raising of local taxes;
  • The power to introduce local discretionary taxes, subject to the assent of the local electorate.

A new, locally empowering approach to local government finance would allow local people to see what they pay for and hold their representatives to account. And because the local electorate, not national politicians, would be in control, it would help end the cyclical blame game between councils and Ministers for what happens locally.

 

Week 12: Monday 11 April - Sunday 17 April (Ideas 78 - 84)

#78 (Catriona Stewart) - Establish a task force to explore the intersection of gender discrimination and autism.

#79 (Catriona Stewart) - Appoint a Minister for Neurodiversity to develop autism policy.

Spectrum women and girls are marginalised and discriminated against within all areas of Scottish society, resulting in barriers to accessing swift and appropriate diagnostic services, education, health care including antenatal and maternity services, mental health, employment, social services of all kinds and within the wider community where they are often excluded, judged and bullied. Within the context that we have a Scottish Autism Strategy, these issues need to be urgently addressed, with an overall strategy to tackle ignorance/prejudice/discrimination and specific resources put in place. For autism overall, the Scottish Government should appoint a Minister for Neurodiversity and give them a department. Representatives from the autism community should be appointed to every major (and minor) decision-making body e.g. Govt committees, NHS trusts, Education boards etc. These representatives should be really representative and given a voice. Text by Catriona Stewart. For more information contact SWAN: Scottish Women’s Autism Network

#80 (Gemma Gray) - Commit to dramatically improving the diagnosis time for Autistic Spectrum Disorder children and adults whilst providing easily accessible resources for those individuals and their families awaiting 'diagnosis'.

(Ideas #78 – 80 sent via email. For more on this topic, see Colouring Outside the Lines).

#81 (Alzheimer Scotland) - Help people who need one to get an earlier dementia diagnosis.

Raise awareness of dementia, and encourage local Integrated Joint Boards to respond to the needs of people who have concerns about dementia so they feel supported and respected.

#82 (Alzheimer Scotland) - Make sure people with dementia and their carers get the support they need after a dementia diagnosis.

Urge local Integrated Joint Board to put in place quality support for people after they have received a dementia diagnosis, so that they are able to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, and to plan for the future.

#83 (Alzheimer Scotland) - Provide everyone with dementia with the integrated and coordinated care they need.

Work with local Integrated Joint Boards to make sure that people with dementia can access the different types of care they need, and that these are arranged in a coordinated way that supports their individual quality of life, by a person who they know.

#84 (Alzheimer Scotland) - support people with dementia and their carers through advanced dementia and at the end of life.

Press Integrated Joint Boards to recognise the value of continuity of care for people with dementia and make sure that the necessary expertise is available to the existing team to help them continue to support the person and their carer through advanced dementia and at the end of life. For more read Alzheimer Scotland’s 2016 Pledge on Dementia.

 

Week 11: Monday 4 April - Sunday 10 April (Ideas 70 - 77)

#70 - 73 (Scottish Food Coalition) – Reduce the environmental impacts of our food system and begin to move towards more sustainable models of food production and consumption.

To help us get there, the Scottish Government should:

  • Establish agroecology as the underlying principle of farming in Scotland, and set out a programme to transform farmer education, training, advice and research accordingly.
  • Champion a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy48 that supports and develops truly sustainable production, directing money to where it delivers most for Scottish citizens in terms of our environment and the food we eat.
  • Ensure more effective implementation and enforcement of existing environmental legislation throughout the food supply chain in order to reduce impacts.
  • Take a whole system approach to reducing the impact of our food on the climate, measuring consumption as well as production emissions and setting ambitious targets for reducing them. For more, read PLENTY: Food, Farming and Health in a New Scotland.

#74 – 77 (Scottish Food Coalition) - Scotland needs to change its unhelpful attitude to food. Eating a healthy diet must become commonplace and good food should be at the heart of our culture and society. To help us get there, the Scottish Government and local authorities should:

  • Lead by example, with all food purchased with public money and served in the public sector, being nutritionally balanced and sustainably sourced.
  • Introduce a retailers and caterer’s levy, which would require operators of multiple outlets to report periodically on the nutritional composition of their sales and pay a levy on the difference between their sales and the national nutritional targets. For example, if the added sugar across the board of Supermarket A is 14% (current average) it would pay the levy on the difference between this and the target (5%). Similar levies could be paid on the excess of saturated fat or the shortfall in fibre.
  • Support community food initiatives, helping to provide access to resources such as land, as well as training and development opportunities. Such initiatives should be helpful to expand their reach and deliver community based learning, as well as provide spaces to come together around food and enjoy meals with company.
  • Develop ‘whole school food plans’ which connect the curriculum with catering and the community, link schools with local farms and embed food into teacher education on sustainability. For more, read PLENTY: Food, Farming and Health in a New Scotland.

 

Week 10: Monday 28 March to Sunday 3 April (Ideas 64 - 69)

 #64 (CPAG) - Holiday provision for children living in poverty

 A report by Child Poverty Action Group Scotland into The Cost of School Holidays for families living in poverty highlighted the need for community based projects that support families during school holidays. Children on free school meals in particular become more vulnerable in the 13 weeks of the year when schools are closed.  

 Schools are the hubs of many Scottish communities and have the potential to open their underutilised kitchens, dining halls, libraries, play grounds and sports facilities to offer food and fun for families living in poverty. Informal learning over long holiday periods could also help to close the attainment gap. For more, read the CPAG press released and report

 #65 (SELECT) - Statutory regulation of “Electrician” as a profession

Although for the past 45 years SELECT (Scotland’s Electrical Trade Association) and UNITE The Union (through the Scottish Joint Industry Board) have regulated the Electrical Installation industry, anybody can call themselves an “Electrician” – even without any training at all – because the term “Electrician” is not protected in law.

When most Industrial and Commercial organisations require electrical work to be carried out, they know what to look for in an electrician in terms of training and grading.  But most householders only ever commission electrical work once or twice in a lifetime and the ‘spark’ they find through the local newspaper or through a pal in the pub could be anybody – because there is no regulation.  This puts householders very significantly at risk.

Across the rest of the EU and most of the developed world “Electrician” is a title protected in law and, in consequence, such regulation promotes both public safety and mobility of labour.

#66 - 69 (CDI) - Improve Social Mobility: Develop a new Careers and Life Standard for those working with unemployed young people

The landscape of support for unemployed 16-24 year olds in Scotland has been poorly led and lacking structure for too many years, despite good intentions, resulting in stubbornly high levels of youth employment.  It lacks a systemic, cohesive approach, for young people who may need individually tailored routes and pathways to achieve their career potential.   

We need to support the unemployment needs of Generation Z, and this means a paradigm shift to focus on careers activities which can deliver informed decisions on lifestyle choices.  It will need much greater blurring of the use of public funds for career development services, more strategic ownership and cohesion by all the sectors and partners involved in delivery and a renewed emphasis on social mobility on the young peoples’ terms.   

At the heart of a cultural change in approach we would recommend that career coaching is a key part of the support for young unemployed people and that it includes life coaching – especially for those who are ‘stuck’ – and that this career and life service needs to be planned and delivered as one, irrespective of the public, private or Third sector source of expertise. Source: Careers Development Institute Scottish Parliament Elections 2016 Manifesto.

We recommend that the next Scottish Government should:

  • Introduce a new Career and Life Standard, similar to the Career Education Standard,  for all the recognised partners involved in supporting the employability, transitions management and career development of young unemployed  people.
  • The Invest in Youth Groups oversee the Careers and Life Standard in their area, working with all the recognised partners to monitor and assure the quality of the Careers and Life Standard, including the expertise of those delivering the service
  • Ensure developments include representation from CDI, to secure professional development advice and appropriate professional standards for all career development providers and quality assurance for products.


Week 9: Monday 21 March to Sunday 27 March (Ideas 57 - 63)

#57 - #63 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) – Local Environmental Quality Report

The acknowledged indicators of ‘local environmental quality’ are litter, dog fouling, flytipping, graffiti, detritus, weed growth and flyposting. Against all these indicators, the environmental quality of Scotland is deteriorating. The consequences of this decline, which first started around 2012 - 2013, are far-reaching due to the effects on individual health and wellbeing as well as local and national prosperity. For more see KSB’s report, Local Environmental Quality in Decline.

Environmental quality needs priority attention. The evidence outlined in this report suggests that with political will, leadership and shared strategic action, we can reverse the deterioration and make sure that action to improve the environmental quality of Scotland really is prioritised. We ask the Scottish Government to take the lead and:

#57 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Make tackling Scotland’s declining environmental quality a higher strategic priority.

#58 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Consider how environmental quality can be embedded into the National Performance Framework.

#59 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Develop a long-term strategic approach to drive up and maintain national environmental quality standards.

#60 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Establish a task force, led by a designated minister, to develop a long-term approach connected to all relevant policy areas.

#61 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Support the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and public bodies to take consistent action to raise the profile of low level environmental crime.

#62 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) -Prioritise existing resources to enable and empower local communities to take action.

#63 (Keep Scotland Beautiful) - Support an integrated programme of education that addresses behaviour change for all ages and all sectors

 

Week 8: Monday 14 March to Sunday 20 March (Ideas 50 - 56)

 #50 (CSPP) - Use the cities, and their regions to develop the relationship between central and local government, not from a narrow budget perspective but rather from a more fundamental level, looking at pragmatic solutions. This should form part of an effort to determine the appropriate relationship between Scotland’s six cities and their geographical, social and economic hinterlands. For more see Importance of Place.

 #51 (Social Enterprise Scotland) – Transform public services with social enterprise.

The typical model for public services should be social enterprise, democratic and local - not large, distant and corporate. All public services should operate with flexibility, joined-up working and prevention of social problems as the starting point. Person-centred services and the direct involvement of service users and social enterprises should be at every level of design and delivery. Explore the creation of public sector spin-outs, transforming some public services into independent, democratic, employee-managed co-operatives. Mandate public sector arms-length companies (ALEOs) to work in supportive and constructive partnerships with local, established social enterprises. Resource tailored business support to encourage ALEOs to become fully independent, authentic social enterprises. Public-Social Partnerships (PSPs) should become the norm. When awarding contracts, commissioners should ensure that social enterprise delivery is the default and that assessment criteria are fully transparent, with ongoing measurement of the true social impacts of the organisation. Freedom of Information (FOI) laws should be extended to cover any big, for-private-profit business delivering Scottish public services. For more, see Social Enterprise Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, “For the Good of Everyone”.

#52 (Social Enterprise Scotland) – Put social enterprise at the heart of the Scottish Business Pledge

Build upon the nine commitments in the Pledge (particularly the Living Wage pledge) to include “Opening your supply chain to at least one social enterprise”, with information provided to signatories about the benefits of social enterprise to their business and to society. Heavily promote the Pledge to all private sector businesses, including as part of the process when awarding any public sector contract. For more, see Social Enterprise Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, “For the Good of Everyone”.

#53 (Children in Scotland) –Appoint a Minister for Mental Health to address crisis facing children and young people.

Children in Scotland is calling on the next Scottish Government to appoint a dedicated Ministerial-level post with a mental health remit. It says the new Ministerial post would raise the profile of children and young people’s mental health and prioritise early intervention and prevention. Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock has written to the First Minister asking her to consider the proposal.

Ms Brock said: “We believe the impact mental health difficulties have on children’s education, and the inadequate levels of child and adolescent mental health provision, have reached a critical point in Scotland. The next Scottish Government should reflect its understanding of this issue and the priority it deserves to be given by creating a new Ministerial-level post specialising in mental health. This is a real opportunity to bolster recognition of the importance of good mental health throughout childhood, and to contribute towards a shift in societal views. We know that adolescence is the peak onset period for mental ill-health and many young people will carry these problems into adult life, with negative consequences in terms of educational achievements, employment and relationships. For these reasons we strongly believe that mental health must be regarded as being on a par with physical health.” For more, see Children in Scotland’s 2016 – 2021 manifesto.

#54 (Children in Scotland) - Invest in mental health prevention and early intervention for children and young people.

This would help to stop problems deteriorating to the extent they require specialist CAMHS services, and would complement idea #53 regarding the appointment of a new minister of mental health. For more, see Children in Scotland’s 2016 – 2021 manifesto

#55 (Social Enterprise Scotland) – Boost social investment and funding

We should clearly demonstrate how business investment can and must be about more than financial return. Promote and build a combined affordable loan and grant model of social investment, to encourage an independent, enterprising culture in all social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations. Provide specific social investment training to social entrepreneurs and private sector investors. Consider reduced loan repayment rates linked to business performance. Explore a Scottish Government-backed loan guarantee scheme, learning from schemes in other countries. Support innovations such as Community Shares. Look into an “open creativity” risky investments fund, with small loans and few restrictions to encourage unusual and experimental innovations. Encourage local authorities and all other relevant local forums to protect and enhance social enterprise support budgets, mandating a specific percentage of the local authority budget for social enterprise development. Ensure all loan/grant applications are simple, accessible, flexible and without overly restrictive criteria, with equal opportunities for all sizes and types of social enterprise. Ensure that all funding decisions are open, transparent and inclusive as standard. Implement a pro-active, specific and co-ordinated divestment policy around unethical uses of public money by all national and local public bodies. For more, see Social Enterprise Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, “For the Good of Everyone”.

#56 (Children in Scotland) – Champion the participation and inclusion of children & young people

Children and young people have the right to have their opinions listened to and taken seriously. We call for parliamentarians, policymakers and those delivering services that support children and young people to support this right through:

• MSPs signing up to the Child Rights Manifesto as a #childrightschamp and committing to taking action on behalf of children and young people that will improve their lives.

• Including active, meaningful and inclusive participation and engagement activity in all policymaking and service provision that affects the lives of children and young people.

• Raising awareness of the spectrum of Additional Support Needs so every school becomes an inclusive environment for every child. For more, see Children in Scotland’s 2016 – 2021 manifesto.

 

Week 7: Monday 7 March to Sunday 13 March (Ideas 43 - 49)

#43 - #47: (Scottish Food Coalition) - Use available powers to ensure food security for everyone in Scotland.

This week in “100 Policy Ideas” the CSPP highlights a number of proposals from the Scottish Food Coalition, which launched its report PLENTY on Monday 7 February on how Scotland could transition to a new food system. The CSPP is a supporter of the coalition. For more, read PLENTY: Food, Farming and Health in a New Scotland.

People matter, and when people all over Scotland are worried about where the next meal will come from, relying on emergency food provision, and suffering the consequences in terms of mental and physical ill health, we must recognise that the food system is failing. We need urgent action and a long-term strategy, based on commitment to a fair and just society, to address these issues.

The Scottish Government should:

1. Take immediate action to prevent food poverty by providing an adequate safety net for those who experience a gap in income through the Scottish Welfare Fund and other crisis support services.

2. Enshrine the United Nations Right to Food into Scottish Law and adopt a co-production model for implementing the changes necessary to tackle food insecurity.

3. Encourage all employers to become accredited Scottish Living Wage employers, continue and expand the work of the Agricultural Wages Board to ensure decent employment opportunities in the food sector.

4. Use new powers to both improve the value of social security support in Scotland and the operation of those benefits that are being devolved, so that everyone can afford to buy healthy food.

5. Create structures to ensure the governance of our food system is more democratic, facilitating greater public participation in food policy.

#48: (Engender) – Establish a National Equality and Wellbeing Index linked to national performance frameworks.

Gender equality and inclusion are undermined by definitions of ‘progress’ that do not adequately reflect social policy concerns. Women’s unpaid care work props  up  the  economy,  and  significantly  undermines  women’s  career progression and lifetime earnings. Yet measurements of economic growth that rely heavily on GDP do not count women’s unpaid work and do not map onto human wellbeing. Environmental disaster and warfare are cast as economically productive, but unpaid caring for older and disabled people or the future workforce is not.

Similarly, Scottish  Government  economic  strategies  and  performance frameworks value ‘growth’, wealth creation, paid work, profit, ownership and other macroeconomic norms over other conceptions of progress that capture gender equality concerns. Much broader debate on the value base of our economic strategy and the imbalance between economic and social priorities is urgently needed, in order to move towards economic sustainability and inclusion, including in terms of gender equality. For more read Engender’s “Twenty for 2016” manifesto.

#49: (RTPI Scotland) - Support communities to shape the place they live in.

The future Scottish Government needs to build on the Community Empowerment Act and support communities to have influence on how their place develops in the future. Community engagement is a key part of the planning system. We need to build on the work being undertaken by planning authorities, PAS and developers that is taking increasingly creative approaches to enable people to have their say. Community engagement in planning works best when it is based around building a positive and holistic vision on the future of a street, neighbourhood, town city or region, rather than a ‘one-off’ reactive debate on a specific development. Given this, we are of the view that it would be more effective to invest time and resources in community engagement at the early stages of development plan preparation rather than introduce a third party right of appeal. For more see RTPI Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, Planning in the Next Parliament.

RTPI Scotland believes that any future Scottish Government must support planning authorities, communities, PAS and community organisations to engage in early discussion on the future of their places This will enable planners and the planning system to:

� - champion local visioning and local action on place development and improvement through, for example, Charrettes

� - frontload community engagement in the planning process so as to encourage positive debate, visioning and exploration of opportunities and constraints

� - support PAS to build community capacity for local visioning

� - help raise awareness of places and planning through the Curriculum for Excellence

 

Week 6: Monday 29 February to Sunday 6 March (Ideas 36 - 42)

#36: (Scotland’s Towns Partnership) – Implement the Town First Principle.

#37: (Scotland’s Towns Partnership) – Continue the Cross Party Group on Towns.

Scotland's Towns Partnership (STP), formed in mid 2014 has been very active in supporting the work of the Scottish Government and the Cross Party Group. In particular STP has been influential across all 6 themes within the town centre action plan – Digital Towns, Town Centre Living, Accessible Public Services, Enterprising Communities, Vibrant Local Economies and Pro-active Planning. Furthermore we have been a key promoter of the critically important Town Centre First principle. The success of STP and the progress being made around towns has been dependent on close partnership working with a wide range of partners and agencies supporting this agenda.

We are at the beginning of an exciting phase for Scotland’s towns and there are massive opportunities to make a difference place by place. The town centre agenda is one where consensus can be reached across the political spectrum with the opportunity for all of us to work more collaboratively. See the STP Manifesto Statement here. 

#38: (Jim Halcrow) – Introduce progressive reform to local taxation.

Extend Council Tax Bands, as present bands are regressive, or replace with a progressive system of taxation. Allow Councils to increase tax by up to a stated percentage a year, and devolve more powers to local authorities. Submitted to CSPP via email. Edited by CSPP.

#39: (Greg Brown) - Expand the Sistema Scotland youth orchestra system.

The policy idea is to develop ways to roll out round many more communities in Scotland the methods and practice of Sistema Scotland. The reason is that the project has incredible benefits for children in deprived communities, with regard to their education and rounded development as people, helping greatly compensate for the difficulties  in their life situations.

The project method is based on the use of music to create positive learning and life changing experiences for the children involved. The focus is on the social and educational benefits accruing. However, the most up to date science on understanding the human brain has shown that active participation in music making and listening engages more of the brain simultaneously than almost any other activity. This of course means that the project outcomes can reach well beyond children's capacities to make and appreciate music.

At present, Sistema Scotland works in three housing neighbourhoods in Scotland. The organisation is very thorough in how it sets up projects. They need buy in from the Scottish Government (they have this), local authorities (they have this in the three areas). The development of any new project is a careful and pretty time consuming business. Included in this is the need to recruit the right people to lead a project and the right people to engage directly with the children and the wider local communities.

I am not directly involved with Sistema Scotland, I should say, merely a great admirer of their work. It seems to me a great pity that what they have to offer cannot be rolled out to many more children in Scotland. The benefits of their work have been independently researched and everything claimed for and hoped for in their projects has come to fruition. I'm sure Sistema Scotland do not want to be bounced into a rapid expansion of their work at the expense of its quality. However, I do believe that the resourcing of a much quicker expansion of coverage is achievable, whilst maintaining the high quality. Submitted to CSPP via email. Edited by CSPP.  

#40: (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) – Sustained action to reduce the attainment gap.

Sustained action is needed in four areas: the Attainment Challenge framework will need better data to track the attainment of low income pupils, where eligibility for FSM and being looked-after are two key measures; the Scottish Government should fund high quality evaluation of approaches to reduce the attainment gap, linked to inspection and improvement support in all schools; existing evidence on what works should be shared widely across schools, backed by strong practitioner support to ensure effective responses when attainment is going off-track; and while the Attainment Challenge Fund has begun with a targeted approach in areas with the highest child poverty levels, all schools face an attainment gap. For more, see the JRF’s “A Scotland Without Poverty” manifesto statement

#41: (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) – Help young adults into work.

Good-quality careers advice is especially important for young people from low-income households and some ethnic minorities who are less likely to have informal social networks providing equivalent advice and opportunities. When available early, it can help to challenge stereotypes, support young people to make good subject choices, stay motivated and on track. Numerous reports have detailed the patchy quality of careers advice in schools across the UK. We recommend that the Scottish Government provides dedicated funding to enable schools to offer high quality careers advice for all young people. Drawing on estimates for the UK as a whole, the net cost to Scotland would be around £18million in the first year, and less thereafter. A clearer accountability focus is also needed through improvement and audit bodies. For more, see the JRF’s “A Scotland Without Poverty” manifesto statement.

#42: (Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland (SOLAR) – Empower local authorities with a Power of General Competence.

The Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland (SOLAR) propose that a Power of General Competence is introduced to empower local authorities to act in the best interests of their communities, without struggling to find the necessary legislative power for this.

Section 20 of the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 introduced a Power of Wellbeing which attempted to give local authorities the power to do anything which benefitted the wellbeing of its area. Usage of that power has been limited and its scope has been steadily eroded by Court decisions. At the same time, the need for an effective power has become more pressing.

Since 2003 the policy landscape has radically changed.  Financial pressures mean that radical service transformation is now required.  Increasingly the themes summarised by the Christie Commission of empowering communities, local service providers working together, outcomes tailored to community needs and of prevention and reducing inequality require new ways of working. As shown by ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ and the ‘City Deal’ local authorities are increasingly looking to innovative means of delivering more efficient public services and promoting growth in their local area. All of these drivers, whether from the perspective of empowering communities, focussing on outcomes, working in partnership, making efficiencies or from a perspective of local self-determination, need the flexibility that only a Power of General Competence can bring.  

In 2011 the UK Government, recognising there were similar problems with the Power of Wellbeing contained in their legislation, passed the Localism Act 2011, giving a Power of General Competence to local authorities in England. The need for a Power of General Competence is even more pressing in Scotland than it is in England.  Its absence restricts the ability of local authorities to achieve efficiencies through transformational change, restricts their ability to enter into partnerships with other bodies and restricts their ability to empower communities.

 

Week 5: Monday 22 February to Sunday 28 February (Ideas 29 - 35)

#29: (MainStreet Consulting) - Extend the National Living Wage to all social care providers, not just local authorities. 

Recently the current Scottish Government announced a funding deal that will support local authorities to pay the National Living Wage (NLW) to their care workers. This is to be welcomed but we believe that a new government at Holyrood should examine ways in which the NLW can be extended to all care workers regardless of whether they are employed by local authorities, private firms, social enterprises, charities or Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

We believe that failure to cascade the NLW to other parts of the sector, will further exacerbate an already imbalanced system where staff are forced to change employers to achieve higher rates of pay.  This disrupts care provision to supported individuals, and creates unnecessary costs for care providers to recruit replacement staff.  

From our work within the health and social care sector, we have no doubt that providers value their staff and most would like to be able to pay them more, but providers are facing many different sector pressures including sharply growing demand, increasing complexity of care needs, integration of health and social care, pension and welfare reforms, and ongoing public sector austerity:  these pressures are leading to undesirable outcomes such as the further shortening of visit times, more stringent eligibility criteria, and, in extreme cases, to some providers exiting the sector altogether.

The sector has been under sustained pressure for many years and we believe that this policy suggestion would provide a real benefit to those that play such an important role in our society.

#30 (Scotland’s Towns Partnership) - Continued support for the Town Centre Action Plan

#31 (Scotland’s Towns Partnership) - The continuation and extension of the demonstration phase of test projects

The Town Centre Action plan has provided a focus on towns and outlined a range of actions and potential solutions. We are now almost two years into the Town Centre Action Plan demonstration phase which has seen a wide range of innovative approaches being tested. We all agree that more work and resource is now needed to support these efforts and to implement the learning from these experiences, however significant progress has been made with TCAP to date. For more on towns policy and action, see the Scotland’s Towns Partnership website

#32 (CSPP) – Until a suitable replacement is found, introduce necessary reforms to the Council Tax.

Reforms to the existing Council Tax could include:

  • Revaluation in the near future – and the creation of a formalised mandatory quinquennial review of domestic subject values to prevent future governments avoiding this sensible necessity.
  • The extension of bands above H, and the precise number of bands, would depend upon the nature of the revaluation. One more band is not enough; while there may be little sympathy or people owning properties valued in excess of, say £1M, it would be equally as inequitable to lump them in with £5M + properties.
  • The removal of the single person discount.
  • The removal of discount for 2nd homes.
  • Revaluation and therefore possible re-banding of improved or extended properties should be triggered on the issue of a completion certificate for building works, not – as at present – on future resale. Particularly in the period since 2008 – according to press reports and trade reports – there is a large backlog of extended properties that may not yet have been re-sold and hence revalued.

For more, see the CSPP’s submission to the Commission for Local Tax Reform. 

#33: (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) – A multi-dimensional, all-age strategy to reducing poverty in Scotland.

Because poverty is driven by trends in the jobs market, housing, childcare, education and the cost of essential goods and services, as well as the benefits system, the Scottish response has to be multi-dimensional.

We need leadership from the next Scottish Government, to develop an all-age strategy for poverty reduction and to focus resources on effective approaches. Employers in sectors marked by low pay and poor progression can contribute to reducing in-work poverty. Housing providers can ensure affordable rents, higher standards and greater security. Schools in partnership with families can quicken the pace in reducing the attainment gap. Local authorities and their partners in the statutory and third sectors can develop their own plan for reducing poverty, founded on strong evidence and adapted to the local context. For more, see the JRF’s “A Scotland Without Poverty” manifesto statement

#34: (Scottish Transport Studies Group) - Reform transport taxation and regulation.

Transport regulation needs reform to ensure that in the coming years travellers can expect better performance, as opposed to the declining levels of service seen in recent years.

Transport governance is currently framed around satisfying vested interests in each separate mode of travel, rather than protecting and enhancing connections for people. Democratic leadership is needed to create a new approach to transport governance that is more collaborative. New technology is radically changing the transport economy. Within the period of the next Scottish Parliament transport will face game changing events from the growth of collaborative business models and new types of modes and vehicles for travel. Combined with the expected social and economic shocks from global change politicians will need to make important choices. The need a strong democratic mandate for action in their manifestos.

For more, read SSTG’s Scottish Transport Review (January 2016).

#35: (Transform Scotland) - Investment in bus priority measures to incentivise public transport use in Scotland’s towns and cities.

Congestion seriously affects road-based public transport, leading to less reliable services, longer journey times, higher operating costs, higher fares, worsening pollution, not to mention the multimillion pound annual cost to Scotland’s economy. Getting people back on to buses would make a major contribution to tackling congestion. This will require both continued investment in better bus services, and also giving priority to public transport on congested routes into urban centres. We want Scotland’s local authorities to be incentivised by central government to invest in bus lanes and other priority measures, and to strengthen partnership working with Scotland’s bus industry. For more, see Transform Scotland’s “What We Want for Scottish Transport” document. 

 

Week 4: Monday 15 February to Sunday 21 February (Ideas 22 - 28)

#22: (FSB Scotland) - The Town Centre First Principle – designed to encourage the public sector to invest in town centres rather than on the outskirts – should be properly enforced. The Scottish Government should also explore how financial penalties could be used to deter public sector organisations like the Scottish Courts Service and Police Scotland from undermining regeneration efforts by rationalising their estate and pulling out of towns. All government departments and public bodies should be reminded of the principle in funding agreements with the Scottish Government. For more see the FSB Scotland Holyrood 2016 manifesto.

#23: (FSB Scotland) - The evidence base available through the ‘Understanding Scottish Places’ tool should be expanded to include more economic indicators, such as business start up rates, thus creating reliable and comparable data on the economic performance of towns. FSB Scotland Holyrood 2016 manifesto.

#24: (Shelter) – Deliver a home for everyone in Scotland. Build at least 12,000 affordable rented homes each year for the lifetime of the parliament, with most of these being socially rented homes. Raise the quality of Scotland’s housing stock with a new Common Quality Standard for all homes. Bring more empty homes back into use by introducing appropriate financial incentives to encourage empty homes work as well as a Compulsory Sale Order power for empty buildings. For more, see Shelter’s 2016 manifesto proposals

#25: (Stop Climate Chaos Scotland) - Commit to and deliver a Warm Homes Act

Establish a comprehensive legislative framework to incentivise the development of low carbon heat. Heating accounts for over half of Scotland’s climate emissions, but only 3% of that heat is currently from renewable sources. Regulation will give consumers confidence to invest in warm home solutions and thereby drive market growth. For more detail, see the SCCS 2016 manifesto or SCCS website.

#26: (Dave de Feu) - Raise the % of the Scottish Transport Budget allocated to cycling & walking incrementally, from its present 1.9% to 10% by the end of the next Parliament.

This was originally proposed some years ago in Action on Active Travel by the Association of Directors of Public Health, a document endorsed by 110 transport, medical and other professional, expert andinterested bodies ranging from the Institute of Highway Engineers to the British Heart Foundation. The 10% figure was also adopted long ago by a range of Scottish national transport bodies in ActiveTravel, Active Scotland and subsequently by other newer bodies such as Pedal on Parliament and Walk-Cycle-Vote.

Unique in the UK, Edinburgh City Council has adopted this policy, initially with 5% of the transport budget allocated to cycling, rising 1% a year to 10% a year in 2017.

The Scottish Government's "vision" to increase cycling to 10% of all journeys is embedded in its climate and public health strategies, and is also important to reduce congestion and toxic pollution, but will never be achieved at current funding levels, which are way below European levels in countries with substantial levels of everyday cycle use. For more see The Carbon Cycle? in Scottish Policy Now, or twitter @SpokesLothian. 

#27: (RTPI Scotland) – RTPI Scotland believes that any future Scottish Government should establish a Cabinet Secretary for Places to coordinate support for cities, towns, villages and neighbourhoods.

They should also be a national champion for quality placemaking. Key to this will be better aligning development plans, community plans, Single Outcome Agreements, investment plans, locality planning and infrastructure delivery.

Too many policy approaches and funding decisions are uncoordinated and do not take into account the impact they have on communities as well as individuals. Place based approaches can hep to minimise waste, duplication and contradictions. Given this the future Scottish Government must think about how its decisions play out across places and how it can break down silo-based approaches to funding, policy and delivery. We need to ensure that we recognise the value of investing in quality placemaking. This will enable planners and the planning system to:

·         ensure that public services integrate efforts to support a place to develop, and vice versa.

·         play an important role in helping achieve better outcomes for communities though improving approaches to social justice.

·         maximise preventative spend by helping to integrate and take long term perspectives.

·         provide quality places for people to live, work and spend time in. For more see RTPI Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, Planning in the Next Parliament.

#28: (RTPI Scotland) - Provide a quality home for everyone who needs one.

RTPI Scotland believes that any future Scottish Government must take a more active role to increase the number of quality homes built through:

�-  prioritising its Capital Borrowing Powers to fund housing and infrastructure.

� - establishing a body or number of special purpose vehicles to work with local partners to coordinate and provide infrastructure, deliver development and assemble land across Scotland.

� - using the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy to set out how many houses need to be built and where, so as to allow Strategic and Local Development Plans to identify appropriate locations.

� - focussing resources particularly to areas of low demand to enable the provision of housing in areas of need of regeneration. For more see RTPI Scotland’s 2016 manifesto, Planning in the Next Parliament.

 

Week 3: Monday 8 February to Sunday 14 February (Ideas 15 - 21)

#15: (Oxfam Scotland) - Outline a vision for a more equal society and how devolved powers will be used to deliver it

All parties should set a vision for public services and the economy based on tackling inequality. The next Scottish Government should set up an Inequality Commission to explore new policies. Its remit should be broad, but with a specific focus on: fair tax; fair pay and decent work; supporting people undertaking unpaid care; and developing pro-social business models. The Poverty and Inequality Adviser should ensure the voices of people in poverty directly influence the Commission’s work. For more see Oxfam’s “Even it Up” document. 

#16: (CSPP) - Improve public policy practice and debate by funding paid graduate internships or creating more graduate traineeships to support decision makers across the public service family.

Such a policy could be supported by developing leadership across the Scottish public services family, e.g. through the creation of a National Leadership College. For more on CSPP’s proposals for public service reform, see “the importance of people” on our website. 

#17: (Oxfam Scotland) - Establish a target level of inequality reduction and introduce robust monitoring.

Globally, Oxfam supports a zero gap between the post-tax and transfer income shares of the top 10% and bottom 40%.28 However, a Scottish target should reflect our context. The next Scottish Government should use surveys and polls to identify the distribution of income and wealth acceptable to people in Scotland.29 Robust monitoring should include information about the share of pre and post-tax income by decile and within decile for the top end of the distribution (10%, 5%, 1%, 0.1%). It should also include information about wealth inequality, and a gendered analysis. Reducing inequality to the desired levels should be embedded within Government policy and targets. For more see Oxfam’s “Even it Up” document.

#18: (Transform Scotland) – Create segregated commuter cycle routes on all primary routes into towns and cities.

By 2020, each of Scotland’s seven cities should have in place at least one high-quality, segregated route on a key commuter road; by 2030, all main roads should be provided with cycle facilities matching the best in Europe. Increasing cycling would have massive public health benefits. Segregated cycle lanes on primary routes into towns and cities would widen the opportunities for cycling, especially amongst less experienced and younger people. Delivering high-quality commuter cycle routes would also make a major contribution to meeting the government’s vision that by 2020, 10% of everyday journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike. For more, see Transform Scotland’s “What We Want for Scottish Transport” document.

#19: (SURF) - Invest in direct job creation in areas of severe employment market failure.

Since 2011, the Community Jobs Scotland scheme, presently managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, has provided young unemployed people with paid employment in third sector organisations, mainly through the funding of 6-9 month work placements and linked training support. New employability approaches could build on the Community Jobs Scotland experience to create jobs for long-term unemployed people in places where they don’t exist as a result of chronic market failure.

 The lack of demand for workers in certain local economies, such as in south west Scotland, is a key factor in entrenched unemployment that is underplayed in current policy considerations. One assessment estimates the net cost of creating 100k jobs in the UK as £440m, i.e. £4.4k per job. If the Scottish Government believes paid employment offers the best route out of poverty, it follows that in any strategic effort to tackle such poverty, dedicated action should be taken to ensure that jobs are available throughout the country. For more on this idea, see SURF’s “Planning for Regeneration” manifesto. 

#20: (CSPP) - Diversify public service provision to better suit local characteristics, e.g. through the introduction of Single Public Authorities for our island areas. For more see our policy section.

#21: (CSPP) - We don't need to redraw the lines on the local government map in order to see councils working more closely together. Allow local service provision to be developed across administrative boundaries, with responsive governance arrangements and accountability mechanisms, e.g. as education and social work provision are developing across Stirling/Clackmannanshire. For more see our policy section.

 

Week 2: Monday 1 February to Sunday 7 February (Ideas 8 - 14)

#8: (Stop Climate Chaos Scotland) - Make energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes a National Infrastructure Project

SCCS would like all political parties to commit to making energy efficiency a long-term National Infrastructure Project. They suggest that this should be backed up with a commitment to a multi-billion pound capital investment programme, leveraging private funding, and the kind of clarity, purpose and focus that has been given to spanning the Forth or re-connecting the Borders railway. As a result, by 2025, every home would be upgraded to at least a C energy performance rating, which will make 1.5 million homes warm, affordable to heat and lower carbon. Buildings in the non-domestic sector will be supported to upgrade to a good energy performance rating. For more detail, see the SCCS 2016 manifesto or SCCS website

#9: (CSPP) - Mechanisms or institutions for community participation must have “teeth”; as in order for people to become engaged, they need to feel that the decisions they make have real meaning.

A possible outcome of such an approach would be to introduce local referenda and “affirmative voting” on big capital projects and other important local initiatives. Further measures could be to remove the need for central government approval over much of local authority decision making, and to look at how to better promote community empowerment. Such a shift should also take account of the dangers of “maxi-minimalism” whereby overly asymmetric and autonomous local authorities can lead to poor management or undesirable practices.

These considerations were presented to the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) in April 2015 by CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley. A report of the meeting is available on our website. Such ideas were also discussed in a CSPP / Scotland’s Towns Partnership discussion forum in November 2015 - report available here.  

#10: (CSPP) - Encourage young people to become more involved in planning and the future of their communities.

This idea emerged from recent discussion forums organised by CSPP / Scotland’s Towns Partnership around planning, town centres and the fairer Scotland agenda. Several participants focused on the role of young people and the need to harness the next generation’s optimism and energy into the development of their towns and communities. It was suggested that initiatives in the cultural sector, and training and capacity building, could contribute to this process. It was stated that young people now, rightly, have the vote from 16 – and should be more involved in planning too.

More broadly, following a point made by Petra Biberbach of PAS, this could form part of an effort to engage “seldom heard” people in the planning process, including young people, ethnic monitories and gypsy travellers. For more on this, please see CSPP’s Fairer Scotland discussion reports in our online library.

#11: (Engender) - Implement a gendered economic development strategy

Economic  development  holds  huge  potential  to  tackle  the  gendered occupational  segregation  that  characterises  the  Scottish  labour  market. However, strategic approaches to develop growth sectors, skills, job creation, enterprise and other elements of Scottish Government economic policy do not substantively engage with gendered approaches, nor recognise the economic benefits of equality. Investment and development support remains focussed on predominantly male-dominated sectors. There is significant gender segregation across many of Scotland’s key sectors, and in some, large tranches of low-paid, female-dominated occupations.

Scotland’s economic development strategies should be in line with social policy objectives to  increase  gender  equality  and  improve  outcomes  for  other equalities groups, including in terms of race and disability. Strategic intervention that embeds equality as a precondition for sustainable growth and actively engages Scotland’s diverse population will be vital for a fair and inclusive economy. For more read Engender’s “Twenty for 2016” manifesto. 

#12: (Scottish Transport Studies Group) - Empower communities to ensure greater participation in transport planning.

The role of transport in enabling successful, smart places for people needs to be better recognised to help enable successful integrated solutions. A new investment programme is needed to empower communities to deliver better transport. Much of Scotland’s transport infrastructure was built by communities using crowdfunding/public subscription to invest in local places for public benefits. During the 20th century local government played an increasingly strong leadership role, but in the 21st century the funding model again needs to be refreshed to become more collaborative.

Local authorities need to provide project focused leadership that builds support from users and businesses for their proposals. There have been some locally focused good examples delivered through the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme, but in general transport delivery has been too narrowly focused by the providers seeking support for their particular transport approach or perspective. The Town Centre Action plan and Smart City programmes have helped to broaden the focus but transport delivery needs to be accelerated and strengthened.

Leading practice shows that people are willing to pay for more socially optimal solutions when attractive, achievable solutions are organised. Community planning processes could enable the relevant partners to agree socially beneficial solutions so that investment packages can be assembled to deliver them. For more, read SSTG’s Scottish Transport Review (January 2016). 

#13: (CSPP) - Allow local authorities to introduce a transient visitor level (“tourist tax”) as one means to offset spending cuts.

In the face of cuts being made to local government budgets, and the need to promote greater local authority autonomy, the Centre has previously suggested that councils be given more powers to raise finance themselves, including re-localising business rates and enabling councils to raise a “tourist tax” if desired. This could be supported by an equalisation system between authorities.

Last August, CSPP Chair Richard Kerley explained in a lead article for the Herald newspaper, “The Commission on Local Tax Reform is looking at council tax but needs to be encouraged to look more widely still; for example at re-localising business rates and empowering local councils to levy a tourist tax on hotel visits. The most successful tourist destination in the world, France, has a modest tax on all hotel and visitor apartment bills, and people still keep visiting.”

For more, see CSPP’s recent blog on the topic of a transient visitor levy.

#14: (Transform Scotland) - An investment programme to transform Scotland’s rail network.

We want a programme of investment to transform the Scottish inter-city rail network so that rail, rather than road, becomes the norm for travel between our cities.

Electrification should be extended to Perth, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen in conjunction with extensive doubling. This would transform the railway north of the Central Belt for both passengers and freight. Furthermore, a new direct, electrified rail link should be built from Perth to Edinburgh, slashing 35 minutes off journey times between Edinburgh and the North. Investment is also required on Anglo-Scottish routes. Large sections of the East and West Coast Mail Lines lie within the remit of Network Rail Scotland and priority needs to be given to infrastructure upgrades on both routes. For more, see Transform Scotland’s “What We Want for Scottish Transport” document. 

 

Week 1: Monday 25th January to Sunday 31st January (Ideas 1 - 7)

#1: (CSPP) - Local tax reform should be undertaken using the default assumption that specific competences and decisions – e.g. on local tax levels, should be made as locally as possible.

For the CSPP, a focus on “people and place” means that great emphasis should be given to people determining what is, in their views, appropriate for their place – whether that place is the UK, Scotland, a given council area, or a community within that council area. Of course all of that has to be set in the context of shared rights, and the responsibilities we believe we all share to ensure equitable treatment of all peoples regardless of where they live.

You can read more about this idea in our submission to the Commission on Local Tax Reform.

#2: (CSPP) - In introducing reforms, public authorities and associated stakeholders should develop new ways of driving change through better public engagement.

One example of this could be through installing accountable, bottom-up processes and utilising new technologies to reach out to a generation far more comfortable with electronic media of all kinds. Read more on our policy page, the Importance of People.

#3: (SURF) - Address the fundamental challenge of high and increasing economic inequalities by introducing a statutory duty for supporting socio-economic equity in all public policy under the Scottish Government’s purview.

The implementation of a more general socio-economic duty, which requires that public bodies consider social and economic disadvantage when allocating resources, could provide a way of protecting poor and vulnerable people against the impacts of spending reductions. It could also provide an important mechanism for putting policy rhetoric regarding ambitious measures to alleviate poverty and inequality into practice. For more on this idea, see SURF’s “Planning for Regeneration” manifesto. 

#4: (Engender) - Commit to gender balancing mechanisms at all levels of politics.

Push for the devolution of power to set gender quotas at all levels of politics, ensure that a gender balance of candidates stand in all Scottish elections until 2020, and use new powers to set gender quotas for public boards at 50%. For more read Engender’s “Twenty for 2016” manifesto. 

#5: (CSPP) - Tackle the real Postcode Lottery, breaking the bond between where you live, your health and your life outcomes.

For more on this, please read our page on public service reform.

#6: (SURF) - Identify 15 strategically significant places in Scotland best suited to sustained and cooperative investment in a new generation of long-term initiatives.

Convergence targets should be adopted to set social and economic outcome targets and monitor progress. Adequate processes to identify transferable learning and effective models of operation would add value to the limited geographical focus of these investments. For more on this idea, see SURF’s “Planning for Regeneration” manifesto.

#7: (Energy Action Scotland) - Reset the target to end fuel poverty

Discussions on how to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland must be opened now by the Scottish Government.  A new target that is realistic but ambitious must be set.  It must be accompanied by a fuel poverty strategy and action plan with costs and timelines.  It is essential that there is not a hiatus following the passing of the November 2016 target date (set by the Housing Scotland Act 2001), which is now widely regarded as being unachievable.  It is essential that progress towards achieving warm, dry and affordable homes for all in Scotland is not lost. For more, see the EAS website

 

 

       
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