July 20, 2021
Time for big ideas
As the country emerges from the pandemic and starts to address the task of reimagining and rebuilding those foundational services that have been under so much pressure for the past year, it’s not yet clear how much of an appetite there is for big and bold new ideas. A plethora of reports and recommendations have been published which argue that, for a multiplicity of reasons, this is the moment to act. A paper from Common Weal proposing that the much mooted National Care Service should be designed around a national network of community hubs. It’s a bold idea.
― The notion of resilient communities coping with the pandemic has revived
the notion of community hubs as significant centres for public service
delivery and voluntary activity.
― Community development as a component of the shaping and delivery of
services has a long history, but suffered through the years of politically-
contrived public expenditure cuts and austerity.
― Notions of community empowerment already enshrined in law ought to
be compatible with the decentralisation of public services and bottom-up
community partnership and control.
― Community hubs could offer a physical base for a model of public service
based on relationships at local level, local networks and partnerships, and
― The National Care Service that Scotland needs could be managed and
delivered at local level through community hubs.
― Just as the 1939-1945 World War crisis led to visions of a different kind
of world in the peace to follow, so should we be similarly ambitious in our
vision of our country post-pandemic.