The Community Planning Review is open – 9th of September is the deadline for responses.
Although a governance review might sound a little dull and dry, this is a really important opportunity for you, and the third sector collectively, to articulate what is missing from community planning as we know it. The intention behind the review is to connect Community Planning to who it is for – communities.
Now you might think that sounds a bit strange, it is clear that lived experience and community voices are too far removed from the formulation of the community plan and the Edinburgh Partnership Board who are ultimately responsible for it. So please make sure that you contribute to this review it is important – the clearer and louder the voice for direct involvement for communities and the third sector the better!
To help you along the way we have pulled out some key points:
Section 1 – focusses on the need for a better direct route from people and their lived experience to the community planning partners. It asks us how we ensure that communities are involved and influence community planning in the city.” It also asks us if we need a thought through way to do that.
So what are some of the ideas we have discussed and heard to improve community participation?
- Voices need to be heard directly, let’s stop the mediation and sanitisation of voices, so much more palatable, succinct, corporate and bland – and hear people as they should be heard – who hasn’t been touched by the Grenfell testimonies because they are real words!
- Gather a broader range of voices – this should be about more noise not less.
- Let’s make sure that we give people the chance to be heard in a way they are comfortable – we don’t for example ask people to do things online – where we manage to put off those who don’t have the digital skills to participate. So we lose some valuable voices.
- Let’s make sure that we give people a chance to be supported by people they trust and who understand them when they are given the chance to be heard, so they feel enabled to give their views. Compact Partnership Framework and Action Plan highlights the ability of the third sector to help reach into communities, and support our public sector partners to do so as well.
- Value the need for community participation by resourcing it properly, with people and cash and reasonable timescales to collect information.
Section 2 – looks at locality working. The need for the third sector to take a stronger role in locality working – could we really move away from the traditional meeting based format to something that acknowledges the diversity of the third sector.
- Enhanced links between the Voluntary Sector Forums and the Localities Partnership – to enable better flow of information and more effective partnership working.
- Enhanced links between the relevant thematic forums and the localities partnerships to enable better flow of information and more effective partnership working.
- Greater support for third sector in localities to work in partnership to attract external funding to the locality.
- Greater resources to support the organisations in networks to input to the VSF and locality partners.
- An acknowledgement of the diversity of the sector in each locality.
- Locality working and Community Planning just don’t seem to currently link up and what could be done to change that – for example how do we make sure that the Family and Children action group in a locality has a direct link with the Children’s partnership?
Section 3 explores the strategic partnerships that inform and contribute to community planning. We think it is important that there are clear routes in for community action, community groups, local voluntary sector forums, thematic forums and other cross cutting concerns. This is about gathering information and the more information the better. This is also about partnership working and making sure that the voices are heard.
• Articulating the contributions that individuals, communities, community action, voluntary groups and the third sector makes in reshaping the ways that services are accessed and delivered.
• The need for an equal partnership and different perspectives that give the voluntary sector a place to discuss impact of public sector decisions on the third sector and potential impact.
• The specific expertise and effectiveness of the community action, voluntary groups and third sector in addressing particular issues and needs.
• The fact that a shrinking public sector needs community action and third sector input to address the needs of communities at a time when demand as a result of demographic shifts is going to increase not decrease.
Section 4 concentrates on the Edinburgh Partnership as the governing body for community planning. It is recognised that there is a needs for the Edinburgh Partnership to change and become more proactive in its approach. To achieve this it must:
- Have a clear agreed shared vision of what the most pressing issues for Edinburgh and its communities are.
- Have active partners willing to collaborate and positively challenge each other to make step changes in the way that we relate to communities, hear the voice of the community and improve outcomes for citizens.
These points have come out of the thinkSpace that EVOC held, the Compact Partnership, the Third Sector Strategy Group and the Voluntary Sector Forums. We urge you to submit your own thoughts and those of any networks that you are involved in.
Here is the link to submit online, and to submit your comments by email or post you can use these forms:
and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or return by post to:
Community Strategies Unit
The City of Edinburgh Council
Business Centre 2/1
4 East Market Street
Edinburgh, EH4 7BG.