12 August 2015
A democratic future for community planning?
And with Community Planning Partnerships now being put onto the statute books thanks to the Community Empowerment Act the timing is right to think again about how we make decisions locally. For VAS we support this vision as having the potential to put communities at the heart of decision making; to realise a democratic future for community planning.
Together with colleagues from the network and Dr Escobar we analysed what works, what doesn’t and why. And thus a vision emerges of a more open, enabling way of making decisions, more local and more accountable. In particular the vision advocates for community planning as a central hub for decision making that is locally accountable. That means creating better capacity and more equitable resources for citizens and the third sector to take part. It means much more of a focus on sharing resources - in fact planning resourcing locally across partners.
Most notably for VAS is the development of a view on the role of the third sector in community planning. This has always been contested and unclear and the TSIs themselves have been on a journey to develop their role. On the one hand the vision advocates TSIs as becoming exemplars for change themselves; sharing resources, leading the cultural change and helping new ways of providing services to happen. On the other it also advocates for better support for the diversity of voices from the third sector to meaningfully contribute: essential if community planning is to become focal in decision making.
Overall the vision is one of Community Planning Partnerships becoming spaces for collaborative and participative decision making. That means that the third sector being a key partner is vital but not enough. It also means that ‘people’ should be at the centre, supported and involved in decision making alongside the public services and third sector.
At VAS we hope these ideas help us all to think about how we make better decisions locally but much more importantly that we take the steps now to achieve a more democratic form of planning for communities.
Download the paper ‘Reimagining Community Planning in Scotland: A Third Sector Perspective’ from the What Works Scotland website.
Views expressed by guest bloggers may not reflect the views of What Works Scotland