Professor Leigh Sparks: So you think you know Scottish Towns?

Deputy Principal of the University of Stirling, and Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Professor Leigh Sparks introduces the launch of the Understanding Scottish Places 2 data tool. 

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How 2017 Can Be Scotland's Year of Inclusive Sustainability

Ian Todd, founder of CSR Scotland and People Scotland, sets out how 2017 can be the year of inclusive sustainability, creating better aligned economic, social and environmental success for all in Scotland. 

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Baby Boxes, Universalism and Higher Taxes

Maggie Mellon, an independent social work consultant, suggests that Scotland’s “baby box” initiative raises wider questions about the extent to which society shares the values of universalism and the welfare system required to achieve it. First published in Sceptical Scot

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Retail Vacancy and Structural Change in Scotland’s Towns and Cities

Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, gives a summary of findings from the latest annual report on “Retailing in Scotland’s Largest Towns and Cities”. 

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Five Shared Priorities for Planning in Scotland

Prior to the highly anticipated Planning Bill White Paper, RICS in Scotland has worked with ICE and RTPI to devise five shared priorities for planning in Scotland, writes Hew Edgar.

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Has Brexit Saved Us from a Worse Fate?

CSPP contributor Miratus offers thoughts on the political dynamics in the UK and Scotland following the vote to leave the European Union. 

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Unlocking the Potential of Scotland’s Towns

STP Chair, Professor Leigh Sparks, reflects on Scotland’s Towns Conference, held on 9 November 2016 in Kirkcaldy. 

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CSPP Chair Richard Kerley Explains Aberdeen City Council’s £370M Bond Initiative

Professor Richard Kerley, Chair of the CSPP, was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland Newsdrive recently regarding Aberdeen City Council’s raising of £370m via the issuing of long term bonds from capital markets. The capital borrowed will be used to fund infrastructure development, including schools, housing, road construction and the construction of a new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. 

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Train Towns

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, shares his thoughts on the importance of rail infrastructure and investment for the success and sustainability of towns. 

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Underneath the Digital Divide is Shocking Inequality

Douglas White, head of advocacy at Carnegie UK Trust, presents new research revealing how wider inequality underlies the digital divide in Scotland and the UK. Originally published in Third Force News.


For many of us the digital world is all-consuming. Ofcom’s annual report on the UK communications market revealed earlier this year that half of all internet users miss out on... Read more →

Mental Health Strategy Needs to Reflect the Bigger Picture

ALLIANCE Assistant Director (Policy and Communications), Andrew Strong, writes a viewpoint on the Scottish Government's new mental health vision and priorities for the future.

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From the Scottish Government’s National Review of Town Centres to the World Towns Summit

Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Professor Leigh Sparks, gives an overview of progress made on the towns agenda since the Scottish Government’s Review of Town Centres.


The attraction of many international delegates to the inaugural World Towns Summit in Edinburgh in June 2016 was eloquent testimony to the perception that Scotland has led the way in recent years in thinking... Read more →

Devolution of Benefits Presents Co-Production Opportunity

Scotland’s social security agency must listen to people who have been silenced, argues Allan Young, a Welfare Engagement Officer with SCVO.


Scotland’s social security agency must listen to people who have been silenced

‘public services are built around people and communities, their needs, aspirations, capacities and skills, and work to build up their autonomy and resilience’

Do you remember this... Read more →

Scotland Needs a Review into Social Care

Heather Fisken on the urgent need for a review of the funding and structure of social care support in Scotland. Originally published on Third Force News.

Scotland spends £3.9 billion a year on social care support. Despite this, the system risks cracking under ever-increasing strain, as demand rises and funding for it just can’t keep pace.

Change is... Read more →

Referendums and the Will of the People (or Not)

CSPP contributor Miratus offers thoughts on the coverage of the EU referendum result, held on 23 June, and what the vote means about the divergence of opinion between Scotland and other parts of the UK.


So the people were duped ....

Instead of the ‘democratic will’ or the ‘wisdom of crowds’, commentators across the political spectrum agree that we saw... Read more →

What Brexit Means for the Third Sector in Scotland

Following the shock EU referendum result, Susan Smith examines how the third sector has responded and what the result means for the future. Originally published on Third Force News.

The UK has elected to leave the European Union and the ground beneath the third sector in Scotland is feeling very shaky.

As the days went by in the first week... Read more →

‘Oor Summit’ and its Big Ears

Professor Leigh Sparks writes on the World Towns Leadership Summit, 15-16 June. Professor Sparks is Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. 


Towards the end of the first day of the World Towns Leadership Summit in Edinburgh last week, Neil McInroy tried to describe and capture the sense of engagement and endeavour that the delegates were displaying and he used the... Read more →

The Car Crash Referendum?

A CSPP member, under writer’s name Miratus, takes a look at the campaign ahead of the vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Fear and loathing seems to be reaching titanic proportions as we reach the last week of the EU referendum campaign.  It certainly has not been pretty. And last week, when it seemed things couldn’t get... Read more →

Creating a World Towns Agreement for the 21st Century

CSPP features a series of ongoing blogs from Diarmaid Lawlor, Head of Urbanism at Architecture and Design Scotland, who explains and explores the key ideas informing the creation of a World Towns Agreement. The Agreement is being crowdsourced globally to shape the priorities of urban development in the 21st century, and will be further refined and launched at the World... Read more →

Keep Scotland Beautiful: Tackling Scotland’s Declining Local Environmental Quality

The Centre for Scottish Public Policy features the work of charity Keep Scotland Beautiful in highlighting a worrying decline in local environmental quality in Scotland. The environmental charity argues that greater strategic leadership, in tandem with action involving “more innovation and more integration” is needed across the public, private and third sectors.



In the run up to the Scottish... Read more →

The World Towns Leadership Summit: Renewing Hope for Towns

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) Chief Officer Phil Prentice shares his thoughts on a variety of opportunities and issues for towns to be addressed at the World Towns Leadership Summit.


The world we live in often feels chaotic, individuals display a growing disaffection with society, we appear desensitised to conflict and corruption. A lack of control and influence in a superficial... Read more →

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. 

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Call to Action: World Towns Leadership Summit 15-16 June 2016

Phil Prentice, Chief Executive Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), outlines the importance of the World Towns Leadership Summit, Edinburgh 15-16 June 2016, to shaping a new global agenda and development strategy for towns and urban environments. 


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Recapturing Optimism on Towns: East Kilbride and the Forth Road Bridge

Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, highlights how the Town Centre Action Plan and recent changes to thinking around towns is renewing optimism and a community-centric approach.


Yes, I was a geographer, and I am fully aware that the Forth Road Bridge does not go through East Kilbride!  Most recently of course the Forth Road Bridge has not... Read more →

Professor Richard Kerley: Local Tax Reform and The SNP's Council Tax Proposals

With permission from LGiU Scotland, the CSPP publishes this policy briefing from Professor Richard Kerley, Chair of the CSPP.


This week the First Minister announced proposals for council tax reform. Richard Kerley, chair of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy assesses the plans and the reaction to them. He puts the proposals in the historic perspective of previous attempts... Read more →

On a “Tourist Tax”: Edinburgh Hotels Are How Much?

CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley argues that allowing local authorities to set a limited transient visitor levy, or “tourist tax”, will not act as a disincentive for potential visitors. For more CSPP proposals regarding local taxation, see our submission to the Commission on Local Tax Reform

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Does Your Town Make You Sick?

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland's Towns Partnership, reflects on the correlations between health and place in Scotland's towns. Original source: Built Environment Forum Scotland

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Council Tax: There’s Safety in Numbers

Richard Kerley, Chair of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, reflects on the council tax ‘freeze’ in Scotland and the changes ahead.


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SURF Manifesto: Planning Ahead for Regeneration

SURF (Scotland’s Independent Regeneration Network) has produced a Manifesto for Regeneration and promoted it to the main political parties in advance of the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

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Local Government: Shared Concerns, Shared Perceptions

Janet Sillett, LGiU Briefings Editor, reports from the first LGiU Scotland event, held in Edinburgh: how is local government perceived by Holyrood and Westminster and are we witnessing the emergence of real devolution to sub national government?

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Squaring Several Circles – Reforming Local Taxation

CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley gives his initial reaction to the Commission on Local Tax Reform's final report

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Policy Briefing: Health and Social Care: Uneasy Bedfellows?

LGiU Scotland publishes this policy briefing on the integration of health and social care in Scotland by CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley. 

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Paris, Place and Politicians: Recognising Scotland’s Environmental Policymakers

With the world’s governments discussing climate change in Paris, the CSPP looks at how Scotland’s politicians are promoting environmental conservation and sustainability. Several of these were recognised at the recent RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards. 

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The UK Spending Review and Scottish Local Government

David Bell, Professor of Economics at the University of Stirling and ESRC Research Fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change, writes this overview of the Autumn Statement for LGiU Scotland.


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“Urban but not Anonymous”

The Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and CSPP Board Member, Professor Leigh Sparks, offers his thoughts on Scotland’s Towns Conference, held in Falkirk Town Hall on Wednesday 18 November. First posted on Stirlingretail


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The Scotland Bill: Improving But Must Try Harder

Kate Wane gives her view on the progress of the Scotland Bill after it was given the seal of approval by the House of Commons on Monday 9 November. This article was first published on the SCVO website


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Time Flies

Leigh Sparks, Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and CSPP board member, talks Singapore, retail development and healthcare. Source: Stirlingretail

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Pro Libertate

Melvyn Ingleson, a member of the CSPP board and Chief Executive of MJI Business Solutions, offers his personal view on the Scottish policy debate after the SNP conference in Aberdeen, which he attended as an observer. 

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Deciding how to decide ...

CSPP Chair, Professor Richard Kerley discusses the suggestion by Scottish Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie for the public to be able to trigger a future independence referendum via a “citizens’ initiative” mechanism. 


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Scotland’s Business Improvement Districts: Promoting Economic Growth and Community Engagement

The Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP) features the work that Business Improvement Districts have been doing to support local economic growth and community engagement across Scotland.

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The ‘known knowns’ of Scottish local government

CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley examines the current landscape for local government in Scotland. Originally published on the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) Scotland website, 30/09/2015.


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How Can the Third Sector Shape New Powers?

Kate Wane of SCVO blogs about this week's Scotland Bill event reflecting on what delegates heard from the Secretary of State for Scotland and what role the third sector has in shaping new powers. Originally published on the SCVO website (25/09/2015).


Wednesday was the first of SCVO’s series of events on the Scotland Bill taking place this... Read more →

It’s Time to Talk about the Future of Care

We all have a part to play in changing our healthcare system to meet the challenges coming in the future, writes Ian Welsh. First published in the Scotsman

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Programme for Government: Analysis from a Social Policy Perspective

Professor Paul Spicker, a social policy expert at Robert Gordon University, provides a brief assessment of the Scottish Government's Programme for Government, looking in particular at policy challenges Nicola Sturgeon's government will face with the limited welfare powers it is set to receive through the Scotland Bill. First published on Common Space. 

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Social Enterprise and the Public Sector: Mutual Benefits of Social Co-operation

Duncan Thorpe of Social Enterprise Scotland argues that cooperation between the public sector and social enterprise is of mutual benefit. 

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Do Rural and Urban Scotland Need Each Other?

Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and CSPP Board Member, discusses recent policy debates on the relationship between urban and rural Scotland, and how “linkages are changing and the inter-dependencies altering”. Originally published on Professor Sparks’ blog, Stirlingretail.

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The Potential of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill to Strengthen Community Planning

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2015. This article looks at the background to the Bill, the reforms that it proposes and its potential to strengthen community planning.

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Ross Martin: Making the Economic Weather...

As grey skies brood over Scotland this summer, Ross Martin says we must recapture the spirit of summer ’14 to build a sustainable, productive economy.

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Land reform goes into legislative overdrive

Consultant and academic Dr. Calum MacLeod summarises the Land Reform Bill (Scotland) and evaluates the importance of its introduction. Reposted from Dr. MacLeod’s blog Beyond the Horizon. You can read more about Calum’s work on his website, and follow him on his twitter account @CalumMacleod07.

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What can we do about poverty?

The CSPP has rightly said that a proper debate about poverty is vital. Aside from the moral imperative to care deeply about and consider the vulnerable and those in need, the issue divides us in Scotland.

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A Poverty of Ambition

Professional support firm Main Street Consulting continues the debate on poverty in Scotland, following an article written by the CSPP’s Richard Kerley on the topic recently. Originally published on Main Street Consulting’s website.

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"Places of Possibility; Spaces of Opportunity”

Professor Leigh Sparks gives his view on Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP)’s “Day for Towns”, held in Edinburgh on 13 May. Leigh Sparks is a Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, STP Chair, and a member of the CSPP board. This article first appeared on his blog Stirlingretail

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Poverty, Inequality? So What …?

CSPP Chair Professor Richard Kerley addresses the debate over poverty and inequality in the General Election campaign and beyond.

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Understanding Scottish Places: O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us

Leigh Sparks is a Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling and a member of the CSPP board. This article on the new Understanding Scottish Places tool first appeared on his blog Stirlingretail

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The Changing Face of Scotland’s Towns

Phil Prentice - Scottish Planner

Phil Prentice is the new Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, focussing on helping towns and smaller settlements across the country to reconnect with their people and to build better places. 

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Roman Remains

Professor Leigh Sparks on Rome's historic and innovative approaches to market spaces. This article first appeared on his blog Stirlingretail on 26th March. 

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Fit a fankle aboot Federalism!

In an interesting recent editorial, Scotland on Sunday observed the SNP government didn’t hold robust views on what we might describe as the various stations between status quo and independence.

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