The Edinburgh City Region Leadership Meeting
The Edinburgh City Region leaderships – both elected and officer – met on Friday in the first of an initial series of three planned seminars looking at how they may better collaborate to compete, with a focus on the longer term and the planning of better economic infrastructure. This session heard presentations from both Edinburgh and East Lothian Councils, and it was agreed that more detailed work would be undertaken to assess the possibilities of a joint bid for a City Deal, with a view to the benefits which the whole Region could gain from such a collective effort. A range of other possible areas for partnership working were discussed and all six councils agreed to jointly investigate other areas where collaboration would make each, both individually and/or collectively, more competitive.
Sustainable Scotland Conference 2013
A key date in the Scottish sustainability calendar, this year’s Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) Conference promises to give delegates an unprecedented opportunity to network with professionals from the widest range of public sector bodies ever to attend.
Earlier this year SSN, which supports public sector action for sustainability, widened the scope of its membership beyond local authorities to include all Scottish public bodies, and the conference now boasts delegates from organisations as diverse as the Scottish Courts Service, Skills Development Scotland, Registers Scotland and the NHS, as well as regular visitors like SNH, SEPA, Forestry Commission Scotland, local authorities and the Scottish Government.
Networking has always been a key element of the Conference, as one of last year’s delegates highlighted: “I value the opportunities the conference offers to hear from actual people about actual experiences of resolving issues and making change happen”. This year’s wider range of delegates will ensure that there are more opportunities than ever to make connections and find support, as sustainability becomes part of the agenda for everyone in the public sector.
The Conference is on Thursday 7th November 2013 at the COSLA Conference Centre, in Edinburgh. This year’s theme is Win, win, win – Realising the value of a sustainable Scotland. The conference programme has been designed to highlight how action by the public sector on climate change, sustainable procurement and sustainable development can produce sustainable economic growth and long-term prosperity, as well as vital social and environmental benefits for Scotland, and it will show how public sector professionals and leaders can develop the business case for this kind of investment.
It will also provide an update on public sector leadership and delivery structures linked to the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, as well as updates on the Scottish Government’s plans and policies for delivery on Scotland’s low carbon economic ambitions and climate change adaptation programmes.
Key speakers announced so far include:
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy, and Sustainability
Tim Jenkins, Director of Great Transition Initiatives, new economics foundation
Rita Singh, Director of Policy, Cynnal Cymru/Sustain Wales
Colin Webster, Ellen McArthur Foundation
Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, University of Edinburgh
Mark Gough , Head of Sustainability, The Crown Estate
Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive, Community Energy Scotland
Morten Jordt Duedahl, Head of Secretariat, District Energy Partnership (Denmark)
Barbara Morton, Director, Sustainable Procurement Ltd
To provide additional time for networking, this year’s SSN Conference will end with a Reception, with fair trade drinks donated by Scotmid Cooperative, and more time to view the case study poster exhibition.
The event is supported by the Scottish Government, COSLA, Resource Efficient Scotland and SEPA.
The full programme is available here.
With seven weeks to go and almost three quarters of the delegate places already booked, prospective delegates should register soon. You can register now at: www.sustainable-scotland.net/conference
Readers working in the Scottish public sector might also like to consider joining SSN as a member. Among the many benefits of membership comes an Early Bird invitation to register for future Conferences. Visit the Sustainable Scotland Network website to find out more.’
Growing Community Assets
We would like to draw to your attention The Big Lottery Fund's recent report of the evaluation of the first phase of Growing Community Assets, their landmark community ownership investment programme. A summary of the report can be found here.
The report confirms that Growing Community Assets (GCA1) is enabling communities throughout Scotland to have more control and influence over their future development through owning and developing local assets. It has made a big contribution to strengthening communities and helping them to achieve their ambitions. The projects funded have been especially effective in reducing social isolation and creating social networks, particularly among more elderly community members. The strongest effects of this are being experienced in some of Scotland’s smaller rural communities.
The evaluation has found that the concept of community ownership is undoubtedly very popular. 92% of project users surveyed thought it was a “good thing” and 86% of the households surveyed in GCA1 project areas thought that community ownership of their local projects had had a positive impact on their locality. However, while people like the idea of community ownership, enthusiasm for actually getting involved is weaker, particularly among the urban projects covered by the household survey. It appears that willingness to take up volunteering and decision-making positions in projects is greatest in remote, rural areas.
The report also highlights the benefits and challenges of the community ownership of assets, and includes a list of the practical lessons that GCA1 projects say they have learned about how to make community ownership a success. This is important because until now, it has frequently been complained that insufficient evidence exists about the benefits and challenges of community ownership for all of the parties involved. As the biggest funder of this sort of activity in Scotland for over 12 years now, the Fund is proud to have commissioned the biggest evaluation of it and to share the findings with others.
The findings from the GCA1 evaluation have relevance to many elements and areas of policy interest in various aspects of local community life such as community engagement and empowerment, and public service delivery by community groups. We hope, therefore, that the evaluation will make a valuable contribution to thinking on, and debate about, a whole range of related policy themes like the asset approach to community development, public service reform, and early intervention and prevention.
The full evaluation report can be found on the Big Lottery Fund website at http://biglotteryfund.org.uk/research/stronger-communities/evaluating-growing-community-assets.
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