GEF Survey Response: Glasgow City Council Review Of Locality Planning In Glasgow

GEF completed the survey online on 21st October 2020. The Review document containing recommendations is available here

The next stage will be to await the outcome of the review, and see what work is proposed.

GEF look forward to seeing if Glasgow Community Planning Partnership will commit to equalities by implementing a community of interest locality plan.

Our most important feedback was

  • GEF echo the calls for better resourcing and support for community connector and community engagement posts – the work recommended within the Review can only be progressed with significant, targeted investment into skilled workers posts based in localities to carry out programmes of engagement, monitor and evaluate the work and broaden participation to the greatest extent.
  • Partnerships between new Thriving Places areas and equality networks need to be better than existing ones. Drafting new plans are opportunity to embed strategic equality outcomes and evaluation frameworks in from early stage, and to codify relationships and resourcing. Better information sharing and networking would bring value to both GEF and Thriving Place workers, as we share the objective of improving representation and vital services for people in a real way.

Our response in full:

7. Supporting Community Planning in communities of need

GEF members agree that localities should be selected on the basis of SIMD figures, but contend that there should be at least one locality plan should focus on achieving measurable outcomes for a protected characteristic group. The community empowerment legislation clearly envisaged communities of interest locality plans, and Dumfries and Galloway community planning partnership are currently delivering one. Given the number of disabled people and BME communities living in Glasgow, as well as LGBT communities, women in poverty and refugees and asylum seekers, there is an evidence base demonstrating a range of health, social and economic disadvantages. For example, Glasgow HSCP’s recent BME Health Survey found Black African communities were facing economic hardship, barriers to employment impacting on health outcomes. HSCP workers have suggested implementing a locality plan for these communities- with the resources of a worker to engage and do community development work- would bring about measurable outcomes. There are also compelling arguments for a plan for disabled people and LGBT young people for example.

Also want to emphasise need to better show us how Thriving Places intersects with Child Poverty Plan, Social Recovery Taskforce (your representation needed here), where there are connections with Vol Sector Networks, integration networks etc.

Finally, all place-based locality plans should be outcomes based specifically around building links with people with protected characteristics in their communities. That work is done at very early stages of plan development with community connectors and local activists to map out who is missing round the table, over 1-3 years how they will actively allow excluded groups to participate fully, and to have their voices heard.

8. Implementing A Clearer Process For Developing Locality Plans

I’m not really sure what Vibrant Communities approach is.

Yes to community led action research, this needs to be resourced and guided by community engagement workers taking a human rights, progressive approach to building activities and confidence in participants, with growing representation from range of communities over the 3 year period.

You have to show us how plans link with existing thematic work across the city that have importance for equalities outcomes- for example Children’s Plans, Health Improvement, Education (anti-bullying), hate crime, local transport plans (current citywide transport consultation), social care needs/ cuts- how is all this decision-making being fed back to communities? How are communities in Thriving Places areas being consulted and actively involved in big decisions in the city? How are they being supported to participate in decision -making? GEF sit as co-opted member on committees and community planning groups- can there be better Thriving Places representation? Can GEF members and Thriving Places workers and activists share information/ network/ support each other better?

10. Strongly Embedding Community Development In Locality Planning

Yes to community organising and capacity building, properly resourced and connected with equality networks.

Important that expertise built up by equality networks, disabled-led organisations, and those who have understanding of oppression and discrimination, and who have a track record of successfully breaking down these barriers to provide services and training for their members, and can evidence their work in accessible reports, including high quality qualitative and quantitative data gathered through well-designed engagement. This is expertise GEF members bring to the table, so we would welcome working with Thriving Places development group to co-design locality plan communities of interest outcomes/plans, bedding in measurable and properly resourced outcomes from the beginning of each plan- about building networks, capacity, knowledge and participation from people who are currently excluded.

11. Governance 

We support all calls for transparency on costs and share this interest too.

Also how are changes to services and policies during lockdown affecting people within Thriving Places? For example, are there particular localities where disabled people’s care packages have been cut? Lower SIMD areas are bound to have higher unmet health needs, including deprivation of access to personal care services. How does the Maximising Independence strategy play out in localities? Are there linkages and are disabled people in localities having their voices heard or ignored? This is just one example, the most stark and urgent, but other important questions include – what are BME hate crime/school bullying figures in schools within locality planning area?

Minutes and papers should be available 14 days before meeting on GCC website, as other committee papers are. Social media should be used to share when minutes are published, shared around local networks such as vol sector networks, TP, and community planning Twitter/ FB etc. A way of engaging with young people’s/ older people’s groups/ community council social media feeds. Are links to meeting papers being shared now? Are people being asked now to read the papers and asked for their comments? Can annual reports meetings be webcast/ promoted for example?

Also important to become more accessible over 3 year period- how can documents be made clearer?

Representation should be structured to ensure flow of information to and from diverse communities throughout all community planning structures- Strategic Partnership, Sector, Area Partnership, locality forums etc. Information to come from communities before meeting. Information to cascade back to groups and local networks after each meeting. So a conversation between local people and CPP with real accountability can develop. This requires to be resourced properly to be successful. Big time commitment, responsibility for council officers to better promote minutes and meetings, ingather comments, support as bank of community reps, provide time to read through papers with them and help disseminate information. This could be really valuable- and would be great point of contact for GEF as co-opted rep- but huge amount of work, and only works if not haphazard and tokenistic.

Any other comments:

Community Connector posts- GEF do not have as much contact with Thriving Places as we would like. Citywide and locality work feel quite separate. GEF have been asked to send reps to 23 Area Partnerships, but with one part time worker, we do not have capacity. We see the barriers to capacity and would support and real investment in community engagement in localities-based staff. We would support locality plan for community of interest. We are concerned to note that current community connector posts have been absorbed into the activities of the anchor organisations, especially since orgs, such as housing associations are very well resourced organisations, compared to equality networks and community groups that are providing lifeline services on a shoe-string.

We want to see better working together with Thriving Places as have shared outcomes of increasing participation and improving health outcomes. Co-hosting community connector staff with equality orgs and third sector a possibility.