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December 2, 2015

Anchor led reform

A few years ago, an academic researcher, approached us with a proposal to carry out some research into community anchor organisations, to try to understand more about the contribution that they make to their communities. James Henderson received a PhD for his efforts and his interest in community anchors continues to develop. Now working with What Works Scotland, James has just published a think piece on what community anchor-led public service reform might look like.


James Henderson, What Works Scotland

To read the full think piece click here

Summary points

•             Public policy-making across the UK has sought to engage the community sector in public service reform. In Scotland, the Christie Commission links this to tackling the root causes of inequality and anticipates that the sector will be able to support highly-localised service design, delivery and accountability.

•             Multiple-purpose, community-led organisations or community anchors – such as community development trusts and community housing associations – have considerable experience of: providing local services and advice and working with the public sector; generating local economic and community development activities; and of advocacy for community interests, needs and plans.

•             The public sector – including Community Planning Partnerships – has a crucial long-term role in the development of effective community anchors across Scotland through: establishing ongoing and open dialogue with the community sector on an ‘equal-footing’; transferring relevant public assets into community ownership to establish fnancially viable organisations; and recognising the leadership, advocacy and planning roles of anchors within their communities.


•             To sustain an empowered local democratic space able to work for and refect on progress in tackling economic and social inequalities, community anchors working within working class and marginalised communities need to be at the forefront of developments within Scottish public service reform.