May 4, 2016
The bookies have been known to get it wrong occasionally – ask the Leicester City fan who put £100 on his team last August – but as a form guide to which manifesto most closely resembles what the next Scottish Government will be doing over the next five years, the smart money is on the big yellow one with RE-ELECT on the front cover. Of interest to community anchor organisations everywhere, will be the commitment to support the extension of core funding. This aligns with one of the key asks in the Local People Leading policy paper on Regeneration.
An Empowered Scotland – chapter of SNP Manifesto
We want to re-invigorate local government by reconnecting it with communities. One size does not fit all. The approach taken in Glasgow does not have to be the same as the approach in Galashiels. The principle of local control, not on behalf of a community, but by a community is key.
We will review the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and the relationships between local authorities and health boards. We aim to transform our democratic landscape, protect and renew public services and refresh the relationship between citizens, communities and councils. We will:-
Consult on and introduce a Bill that will decentralise local authority functions, budgets and democratic oversight to local communities
Review and reform the role of Community Planning Partnerships so they are better placed to drive reform, including through use of citizens’ panels and town hall meetings
Continue to grow and develop City Deals, Town Centre Partnerships and Regional Economic Partnerships so that clusters of agencies and shared interests can work together for the benefit of their local economies and communities
Following the report of the independent review of local government ward boundaries we will protect local communities by taking forward changes only where communities have been adequately respected in the new proposed arrangements.
We have placed the needs and aspirations of our island communities at the very centre of the Government’s agenda. The establishment of a dedicated Ministerial post demonstrated our commitment to our island communities. This post will continue in the next government.
We will consult on, and bring forward, an Islands Bill to reflect the unique needs of these communities and implement our ten-point manifesto for our islands.
We will protect the Road Equivalent Tariff to all routes in the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry services network and take action to reduce fares on ferry services to Orkney and Shetland. We will also maintain the existing air discount scheme at 50 per cent.
We will establish a new Islands Strategic Group chaired by the Islands Minister to build on the work of the Islands Areas Working Group and develop a new National Islands Plan.
Island communities will be able to control and determine how to invest 100 per cent of locally raised Crown Estate revenues once these are devolved.
The Community Empowerment Act delivered new rights for communities and is backed by the Empowering Communities Fund and the Strengthening Communities Programme. We will build on this by:-
Setting councils a target of having at least 1 per cent of their budget subject to Community Choices budgeting. This will be backed by the Community Choices Fund to help public bodies and community groups build on examples of best practice.
Allowing community councils that can demonstrate a strong democratic mandate to deliver some services. We intend that in future community council elections will be held on the same day across the country to increase their profile and recognition.
Encouraging improved tenant participation in management of their homes. We will use a partner organisation to help tenants become more aware of their rights and encourage tenants to become more involved in the management of properties.
We want to encourage and make it easier for people from all backgrounds to get involved at all levels of decision making. Our elected representatives should better reflect the society we live in.
That is why we will continue to support the Women 50:50 campaign to increase – to 50 per cent – the representation of women in our Parliament, councils and on public boards.
We will also support the One in Five Campaign to increase the participation of disabled people. We will build on the example of the pilot fund for the 2016 elections and establish a £200,000 Elected Office Fund to provide support for disabled people seeking to stand for selection and election in the 2017 local government elections
Valuing our Third Sector
We have made significant investment in and promoted the role of the third sector, social enterprises and volunteers. The sector plays an important role and we want to increase and encourage it to grow its influence. We will take steps to consolidate voluntary sector funding into single grant funds to provide greater clarity to applicants. We will also support the extension of core funding.
We will introduce three year rolling funding where possible. We will introduce a system across government that highlights when funding is due to end, to provide greater clarity for the sector and enable better planning for the longer term.
We will provide support to help social enterprises compete for public sector contracts and encourage councils to promote the procurement of services and goods in their local area from the third sector.
The Scottish Government has taken a supportive approach to Supported Businesses, such as Remploy. We use public sector spending, through procurement policy, to assist Supported Businesses and use our influence with leading private sector companies to encourage them to use the sector. We will continue to work with the sector, with BASE and others using public sector spend, to provide practical help for those businesses employing large numbers of people with a disability, so that they have an opportunity to thrive and prosper.
By increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships in the third sector and social enterprises we will help to diversify skills and training.