An Audit Scotland report, A review of community planning in Scotland, published today, says community planning partnerships have made progress but need to do more to show how their work is improving public services. The report also says that their complex remit makes it difficult for them to achieve their aims and calls on the Executive to support community planning more effectively.
Councils are required to establish community planning partnerships to help public services work together.
Today’s report finds that:
- All councils have established community planning partnerships but it is too soon to find much evidence of the effectiveness of individual partnerships in improving local services.
- Different geographic boundaries and accountabilities can make it hard for organisations to work well together
- The large number of national policy initiatives each with their own funding arrangements can make it difficult for partnerships
- Some partnerships have agreed a limited number of priorities based on the needs of their area In others the progress is slower
- Partnerships now need to do more to demonstrate improvements for communities.
Alastair MacNish, Chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland, said:
“Community planning partnerships are vital for the delivery of better services to our communities. It is imperative that councils and other public sector organisations make community planning work.
“The complexities of the current system make it difficult for partnerships to achieve their aims. The Scottish Executive needs to help them to overcome problems they face, such as by agreeing a limited number of policy priorities and reviewing the number of funding streams and partnerships required.
“There are some excellent examples of organisations working together, and some interesting developments such as Glasgow’s recent initiative (Glasgow CP Ltd). But overall progress with community planning is still patchy. Local authorities and their partners need to become more focused and show that partnerships are improving public services and community
wellbeing. To do this, partnerships need to improve how they plan and report on progress and ensure that they are organised as effectively as possible. Councillors have a particularly important role to play in community planning as both civic leaders and community representatives, and need to get more involved.”
Robert Black, Auditor General for Scotland, said: "Scotland’s legislation is leading the way for community planning but the Scottish Executive should work with community planning partnerships to consider whether some of the more complex arrangements could be simplified."