Communities and Neighbourhoods

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1 Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 10 am, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 Neighbourhood Partnerships Update Report Item number Report number Wards All Links Coalition pledges Council outcomes Single Outcome Agreement p33 CO23, CO24 SO1, SO2, SO3, SO4 Mark Turley Director Services for Communities Contact: Natalie Hoy, West Neighbourhood and Community Planning Manager Tel:

2 Executive summary Neighbourhood Partnerships Update Report Summary Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPs) are the local expression of community planning in Edinburgh and together with the local management of services comprise the Council s neighbourhood approach. The core objective is to improve the quality of people s lives through the delivery of more effective, responsive and joined up services. As reported to the Policy and Strategy Committee on 28 February 2012, the evidence shows that the approach has proven effective, with improved performance levels, efficiency savings and increased resident satisfaction with services being achieved. The NPs, as the localised community planning structure, are already an effective means of strengthening the local democratic process by providing opportunities for local people to have a say about services and influence decision making, and, as Advisory Committees of the Council, form part of the governance framework in the city. NPs are founded on the basis of a collaborative approach to improving outcomes and as such compliment the current focus on co-operative working and the Council s cooperative approach. Earlier this year the Scottish Government initiated a review of community planning. As an outcome The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) agreed a Statement of Ambition which makes clear the commitment to retain and develop community planning and Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) as a vehicle for the outcome based approach to public sector reform. It also emphasised the key role communities have in helping shape and design better local services. NPs already contribute to achieving the aspirations identified nationally by providing a model that enables: the achievement of better outcomes for communities through the development and delivery of local community plans; an integrated approach to service planning and delivery and better use of resources by partners; the development of partner relationships to support and encourage a shared ownership of local priorities and joint solutions; Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 2 of 11

3 local intelligence and priorities to inform mainstream resource deployment and service provision through establishing links between the strategic and local levels; the involvement of local people through the provision of engagement opportunities at all levels, from providing information, to consultation to more active participation; meaningful participation and influence of budgets by communities; and increased accountability and transparency through an emphasis on performance monitoring and reporting, taking a joint approach involving all partners. The findings for the National review and the direction of travel identified, provides a further impetus to strengthen activity at a neighbourhood level. This national context and the progress to date, will inform the planned review of NPs, which is being taken forward under phase two of the Council s review of governance arrangements. Recommendations To recommend that the Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee: notes the report; Measures of success agrees to receive a further report on the outcome of the review of Neighbourhood Partnerships and the impact on the work described; and refers the report to the Neighbourhood Partnership Conveners Group and 12 Neighbourhood Partnerships for information. NPs aim to improve the quality of people s lives through the delivery of more effective, joined up and appropriate services. Whilst individual Local Community Plans identify the specific local outcomes, actions and performance measures, key indicators of the overall success of the approach are: satisfaction with neighbourhood as a place to live; satisfaction that people from different backgrounds can get on well together; people feel they are able to have a say on things happening or how services are run in their local area; and satisfaction with specific services e.g. community safety, environment, facilities. Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 3 of 11

4 The performance framework is subject to ongoing development with additional measures still to be identified to demonstrate the added value, or business benefits, of the approach in achieving better outcomes for local communities. Financial impact There are no direct financial implications arising from this report. Equalities impact Local community planning activity and the work of NPs contributes to the delivery of the Equality Act 2010 general duties of advancing equality of opportunity, eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and fostering good relations. This is evidenced through the engagement strategies and plans which involve working with all partners and members of the community, detail how barriers to engagement will be removed and seek to promote buy in across communities to common goals. Sustainability impact There are no adverse environmental implications arising from this report. Consultation and engagement Community involvement is core to the Neighbourhood Partnership approach. Community representatives actively participate in all the NP structures and NPs carry out a wide range of activities aimed at involving the whole community from traditional methods such as community events, surveys and roadshows to the recent use of social media channels. Background reading / external references Neighbourhood Partnerships Update Report, Policy and Strategy Committee, 28 February 2012 Statement of Ambition Local Community Plans on Neighbourhood Partnership website Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 4 of 11

5 Report Neighbourhood Partnerships Update Report 1. Background 1.1 Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPs) strengthen the democratic process by providing opportunities for local people to have a say about services and to influence local decision making. NPs, as part of the Council s neighbourhood approach, are the local expression of community planning in the city and provide the framework by which service providers and communities come together to agree local outcomes and priority actions, setting these out in a Local Community Plan (LCP). 1.2 NPs have made significant progress since their establishment in The completion and delivery of the first local community plans saw neighbourhoods benefit from a wide range of service improvements and developments aimed at improving the quality of life locally as reported to the Policy and Strategy Committee on 28 February The success achieved is underpinned by an ongoing responsive approach to the needs of communities and the drive for continuous improvement which provides the focus of NP development across the city. 1.3 Achieving better outcomes for communities is at the core of NPs and a key driver of the current public sector reform programme. Earlier this year the Scottish Government initiated a review of community planning. As an outcome COSLA agreed a Statement of Ambition which makes clear the commitment to retain and develop community planning and SOAs as a vehicle for the outcome based approach to public sector reform. It also emphasises the key role communities have in helping shape and design better local outcomes. 1.4 NPs already contribute to the reform agenda and the aspirations for community planning as a vehicle for change. This report describes the key areas of work being taken forward locally within this context. 1.5 The national context and the progress to date will inform the planned review of NPs, being taken forward under phase two of the Council s review of governance arrangements, and which will be the subject of a further report to the Committee. Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 5 of 11

6 2. Main report 2.1 NPs seek to achieve better outcomes for communities through an understanding of place with all activity informed by an understanding of local priorities and needs. This area profiling, drawn from a wide range of sources and importantly extensive consultation and engagement with the local community, forms the basis for the development and delivery of a LCP. 2.2 As a three year plan, the LCP sets out the NPs strategic vision, outcomes and the priority actions, making clear what will be delivered jointly by partners and the resources required. An action plan forms the key element which is regularly updated and scrutinised by NP sub groups to ensure continued responsiveness to changing circumstances. Across the 12 NPs the plans identify a range of local outcomes including increasing opportunities and support for children, young people and families, increasing opportunities for employment, improving the environment and building healthier communities. In developing joint actions to address identified needs and priorities, the NPs contribute directly to the delivery of the SOA and provide a vehicle for achieving an integrated approach to service planning and delivery and better use of resources by partners. 2.3 The review of the delivery of the first local plans, covering the period 2007 to 2011, demonstrated effectiveness of the approach, with clear evidence of improved levels of performance and resident satisfaction, maximisation of resources and increased efficiencies being achieved. With the development of the new plans, this progress has been maintained with examples including: In the Almond NP extensive physical upgrade and improvement works to the Ferry Glen and Back Braes in Queensferry was taken forward, led by Friends of Ferry Glen. Improvements included the renewal of Jacobs Ladder, the installation of new lighting, seating and interpretation panels and planting. This resulted in the achievement of a Green Flag award in The project also strengthened community participation in the local area, with the community continuing to be involved in the care and maintenance of the new high quality facility. In City Centre NP Royal Mile Spring Clean programme, local residents and businesses worked together with the Council and partners to deliver over 300 environmental improvement activities. Over 100 volunteers were involved resulting in improved streetscape and pedestrian experience and access. Future Spring Clean NP initiatives are being planned, led by the City Centre NP Business Forum. South Central NP supported the development of the Braidwood Garden Project delivered by Access to Industry. The facility is used to provide marginalised and excluded groups with access to training Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 6 of 11

7 opportunities with 20 qualifications having been secured to date by participants. The further development of the community garden to grow produce for sale at a nominal fee in a local community café is being explored, providing a valuable resource for the wider community. The Portobello and Craigmillar NP played a pivotal role in establishing the South East Recovery Hub. This involves the NHS Substance Misuse Directorate, Health and Social Care and several voluntary organisations in having a permanent base to provide an accessible local service for people experiencing substance misuse. In Western NP, the Speak out, Speak Up initiative aimed to work with children, young people and adults to explore the effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination through a range of activities and events. Around 3,000 people participated in the initiative which involved a wide range of partners including the Community Learning and Development Service, Lothian and Borders Police and local high schools. 2.4 As part of the new Partnership Public Performance framework from 2013 an annual LCP performance report will be produced, complemented by a NPs scorecard comparing an agreed set of key indicators across the 12 NPs. Regular progress reporting will also be provided on the NP website. 2.5 Whilst formal accountability and strong political oversight is achieved by NPs being Advisory Committees of the Council, the ongoing development of the performance framework is driven by the need for increased accountability and transparency, with this being progressed jointly with partners. Currently the Western and Inverleith NPs are working with the Improvement Service to pilot a project that supports community planning partnerships to evaluate how they are working. A key element of the project involves the partnership members completing a survey to assess their views on how effectively the partnership is working and where improvements could be made. Nationally, fourteen community planning partnerships are participating but Edinburgh is the first to use the approach at a neighbourhood level. The findings from the pilot, which is scheduled for completion in late November, will be reported to the NP Conveners Forum, at which time the potential for rolling out the approach across the city will be explored. 2.6 Improving the synergies and strengthening the links between the local and strategic levels to ensure local intelligence and priorities inform mainstream resource deployment and service provision is a key priority for the NPs. Whilst progress has been made in developing these links, most notably in relation to the Employment and Joined up for Jobs City Strategy as previously reported, further work is required. The role NPs can play in helping shape the development and delivery of services at a strategic level is increasingly being Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 7 of 11

8 recognised with NPs being used as the vehicle for local stakeholder engagement across a wide range of issues. These include the Council budget planning process where over 300 people attended neighbourhood meetings to provide views on expenditure and priorities, waste management, property conservation, Open Space Strategy linked to the Allotment Strategy and currently the commissioning of older people s services and the Local Policing Plan. 2.7 In establishing the NPs it was recognised that one size does not fit all and as a result NPs have developed their structures to suit local circumstances. This has led to additional partners being identified to participate on some Boards, together with the establishment of a variety of sub groups linked to the key priorities in order to deliver the local outcomes. With the development of the new LCPs, NPs are reviewing their sub group arrangements to ensure they continue to focus on the delivery of key outcomes and widen participation in the NP process. Different models of delivery are being explored currently including community forums and/or the introduction of community events to set priorities and scrutinise progress with both these models supported by Officer Groups. 2.8 The development of partner relationships to support and encourage the shared ownership of local priorities and joint solutions is critical to the neighbourhood approach. At a city wide level this objective is addressed through the provision of themed partner workshops and joint staff training. The most recent event was held in June 2012 for health sub groups with this organised jointly by staff from Services for Communities and the Edinburgh Community Health Partnership. The event, which provided an opportunity for promoting and sharing practice was attended by 62 partners, representing a mix of public, voluntary and community stakeholders. The session focused on mental health and wellbeing and covered the key themes of housing support and mental health, older people and social isolation and employability. Key areas of work identified from the event were the need to strengthen the links between health professionals and Council Housing and Regeneration Teams and to promote volunteering within the neighbourhood setting. Both these areas of work are being progressed as part of the strategic improvement plan for NPs. 2.9 The strong relationship developed through the joint working group has also created other opportunities, most notably the current work stream focusing on improving joint working on community engagement with a view to developing an integrated approach across the city Effective community engagement is vital to the success of the approach. To do this the NPs have used a variety of methods to ensure the views of all are heard. For example: Both South West and Forth NPs have carried out extensive engagement to support the 21 st Century Homes programmes in Sighthill and Muirhouse/Pennywell. In Sighthill the engagement activity included the distribution of a promotion leaflet, holding of a Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 8 of 11

9 Placemaking Workshop and consultations with high school pupils, the residents association and community council. The Liberton Gilmerton NP has held successful young people s engagement events for the last two years. The events, which provide young people with an opportunity to highlight issues that affect them, have involved over 400 individuals and partners, including 250 young people, and comprised arts based workshops and video and group work. As a result of the last event, a review of local services and activities is being carried out by a group of young people, with the findings to be reported in Spring The success of the programme has been recognised internally having achieved a Staff Award in 2011 under the Inclusive City category A key development over the last eighteen months has been the evolution of social media channels as a tool for engagement. Whilst the NP website continues to be a well used method of updating people on NP activities and city wide policy and strategy reviews that may affect them, the introduction of Twitter and Facebook by the Services for Communities Neighbourhood Teams has increased the involvement of people. The number of followers/likers has grown steadily with the current total sitting at 2,978. Examples of recent activity are provided below. The EdinWarden pilot project in the South West Neighbourhood, where Environmental Wardens live tweeted for one day, providing an immediate response to customer requests. The initiative was picked up by STV Local, 22 new followers were gained and approximately 11,759 twitter accounts were reached. The Council participated in Twitter 24 which is a National initiative to promote Local Authority services to the public. In Edinburgh, the Neighbourhood Teams, over a two day period had a member of staff, travelling by bus visiting visit each of the six neighbourhoods tweeting about the journey, meetings en route with local staff and promoting the good practice happening across the city. The evaluation of the initiative shows that a total of 537 tweets were sent from 104 twitter accounts achieving a total reach of 76,949 accounts A key element of the approach to involving communities has been providing opportunities to influence devolved budgets such as the Neighbourhood Environment Programme and Community Grants Fund. Both these funds have been used to support activity which contributes to the achievement of the LCP priorities and, significantly, has supported the development and implementation of community action. For example: In Forth NP the NEP funding of 435,000 is supporting 40 local projects to deliver a range of activities including a food growing Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 9 of 11

10 initiative, community safety improvements in the Muirhouse area, park and green space developments in Trinity and a Green Dog Walkers Scheme to encourage responsible dog ownership. The South West NP provided Community Grants Funding to support the start up of a local time banking project which is an effective tool in developing social networks and building social capital. In Craigentinny Duddingston NP a NEP award of 62k was made to fund an innovative community growing project in partnership with Carr- Gomm in Lochend. The project, the Lochend Secret Garden, has proven extremely successful with the facility now managed by a group of local residents South Central and Leith NPs have also continued to allocate a proportion of the Community Grants Fund using a participatory budgeting approach. The most recent event in Leith held in February 2012 attracted over 720 local people. Seventy five percent of the participants said that they had not attended a NP or Council meeting in the previous six months and a similar percentage rated the approach as excellent or good. During the two years the initiative has run, there has been a 19% increase in people who feel able to influence decisions in the neighbourhood Improving practice in engaging with communities forms an important element of the strategic improvement plan. To address this, the Consultation Institute was commissioned earlier this year to deliver a bespoke in-house training package. This development recognises the need to manage and facilitate community consultation in the form of best practice, which is vital not only to ongoing business priorities but prevents against potentially damaging challenges. A total of 23 staff from Services for Communities participated in the programme. This provides a first step in creating a Centre of Excellence comprising staff that can support and advise colleagues. Additionally as a result of the training, a Corporate consultation framework is being developed with a view to ensuring future consultations are well planned, can achieve identifiable outcomes and will meet the needs of participants. The framework also has the potential to be used by partners as a tool for establishing a robust, transparent and accountable consultation process The range of good and innovative practice in engaging communities has led to real improvements in the targeting and delivery of services across the city. The Scottish Government s consultation on the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill provided an opportunity to highlight this practice. It is anticipated that the proposed Bill will strengthen the influence and impact of participation on achieving positive outcomes for communities and inform future approaches to working with communities. Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 10 of 11

11 3. Recommendations 3.1 To recommend that the Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee: notes the report; agrees to receive a further report on the outcome of the review of Neighbourhood Partnerships and the impact on the work described; and refers the report to the Neighbourhood Partnership Conveners Group and 12 Neighbourhood Partnerships for information. Mark Turley Director Services for Communities Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee 27 November 2012 Page 11 of 11

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