Most of us, at some point in our lives, will have reason to bump up against our system of social care. Recently I have, and it wasn’t great – complicated, bureaucratic and frustrating to deal with. How it fits with the NHS also remains a mystery and so for all these reasons and more, the Scottish Government has set its sights on a new National Care Service. Initially widely welcomed, when the devil began to surface in amongst the detail, it became just the latest episode in local government’s never-ending struggle not to cede more power and control to Scottish Ministers. And in this instance, local government wasn’t alone – this open letter to the First Minister reflected concerns from across civil society, and Ministers eventually conceded that the process should be paused. But those early mis-steps will have consequences. The priority for what comes next will be to placate the bruised sensibilities of local government rather than design the more holistic model of care that enables everyone to lead happier and longer lives in their homes and communities. Will the vision of Common Weal or the community-led ambition of initiatives like Urram get the hearing they deserve? Probably not.
In the most recent briefing…
Much is made of the ecosystem of support that now serves our sector. In particular, social enterprise has received sustained, targeted investment from the Scottish Government over many years into a range of initiatives designed to encourage more start ups and growth. Which is all very encouraging and good news for those who can benefit but as everyone knows, life doesn’t always follow an upward, positive trajectory. Sometimes, often in fact, community and voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes can find themselves in a crisis with no one to turn to. This new recovery service might help.
The summer season for Scotland’s tourism industry is well underway and, as ever, the best known tourist hotspots will be hooching with visitors. But this year, there’s a call for holiday makers to adopt a different approach to their visit. If they could just slow down, take time to get to know the locals and make a connection with the communities they visit, they would be assured of a much richer experience. In fact SCOTO, the community led tourism network, argues that by making the conscious choice to visit communities in this way, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Anyone who thinks that taking ownership and then running a community asset is either easy or quick, is someone who hasn’t done it before. In 2006, 400 years after it first opened as a hostelry, the Crook Inn in Tweedsmuir (halfway up A701) closed its doors, amidst plans for demolition and new housing. The Crook Inn had always been the community’s only meeting place for miles around and so a campaign was launched to buy back the building and surrounding land and to reopen it in some form or other. 17 years, later their perseverance is starting to pay off.
Research published this week by NESTA into voting intentions at the next General Election suggests climate change is way down the list of voter priorities. When asked for their top three, only 12% gave it a mention. And this same apparent ‘indifference’ applies to our third sector. Beyond the environmental NGOs and the growing (but still relatively small) number of climate active communities, many third sector organisations feel at a complete loss to know what to do and so end up leaving it to others. Growing Climate Confidence could be exactly what these groups are looking for.
The consultation responses for the forthcoming Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation Bill have now been analysed and published. SCA’s own response is here. Lots of areas of contention to be thrashed out as the Bill works its way through the Parliamentary process. The proposal that large scale landowners might have new legal obligations imposed on them provoked a lot of comment from both sides. Most (although obviously not all) respondents considered the proposed threshold (3,000 hectares) as being far too high. Much debate too over the introduction of a public interest test. Interesting times ahead.
The unfolding public enquiries into the pandemic will hopefully shed some light on where those eye watering amounts of public money eventually ended up. Or perhaps they won’t. Because even when, to most casual observers, it seems obvious that public money has been misspent, even when criminal behaviour is suspected, the system has a disturbing habit of never quite reaching the point where individuals are ever held to account. Robin McAlpine, writing for the Common Weal, suggests that this springs from a worrying trend in the fundamentals of how government conducts itself.
Established in March 2008, MACC was formed by a group of people who shared the same passion and determination to see the airbase facilities used for the benefit of the Kintyre community. Coming from all walks of life, the group included the site’s former Works Service Manager, local business people and other members of the community. Embarking on one of the largest and most complicated community buyouts ever seen in Scotland, board members worked tirelessly to gain the support they needed. Four years down the line, MACC finally purchased the estate on May 11, 2012 from the Ministry of Defence…Find out more