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11 September 2013
Community planning has reached a “tipping point”

Community planning has reached a “tipping point”

Scotland still hasn’t “cracked” community planning, according to COSLA chief executive Rory Mair.

Mair told a Holyrood conference that community planning has now reached a tipping point but he also stressed that it hasn’t been as successful as it should have been.

He said: “We have been looking at community planning over a number of years in these forums and the question is, where do we think we’re up to? I feel we are really at a tipping point. I am pretty confident we are going to crack this problem but it’s clear we haven’t done it yet. In the past I’ve not been able to see the route map to making this work but now I think it’s there but there are still obstacles along the way. The balance is changing.

“We’ve got to be honest and say we’ve had 10 years of community planning and over that period there’s been a lot of good work done at local level to try and bring about this co-operation but as a fundamental way of working, I’m not sure we’ve actually achieved everything we would have wanted to achieve in community planning. What we’ve got is a situation where partnership probably wasn’t at the heart of the reforms we were doing.

“We need to reinvigorate this and we need to say what has happened over the past ten years has been useful but it was not the step change in the way public service worked that we wanted to see.”

However, Mair believes community planning remains vitally important and Scotland is moving forward.

“It is a powerful idea, it’s this idea that improving life means integrating all public services locally,” he said.
“If we’re going to make significant changes to outcomes and people’s lives, we’re going to have to plan those changes together and use resources jointly. All of this has to be done, as Christie said, with the full involvement of the community and not to the community.

“We’ve now got a national community planning group. I don’t think it’s a perfect thing yet and I don’t think we’ve got into the type of meetings which we need but nevertheless the group exists and we should take that as a positive step forward.”

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