These reflections focus on the connection between upstream action to address inequality and preventative action by partners at a local or regional level.
By George Howie, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership
Note: written in September 2017, these reflections were first published in the Multi-layered Partnership Working report co-produced by Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership (CPP) partners and What Works Scotland.
This report notes the emphasis by Marmot and Wilkinson & Pickett on the need for upstream action to address inequality, and much of this action is outwith the preserve of CPPs, lying with Scottish and Westminster governments. However, I think it’s also worth emphasising that there is still considerable scope for preventive action to be implemented by partners at a local/regional level and within the context of community planning. Indeed local outcomes improvement plans (LOIPs) require CPPs to focus on issues and geographical communities where outcomes are poorest so there is a recognition by Scottish Government that partners at a local level have a crucial role to play in addressing inequality.
Strategic approach to child poverty
For instance, following the CPP Board’s approval of Reducing Child Poverty in Aberdeenshire as one of our LOIP priorities in March 2017, the Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University were commissioned (June 2017) by Aberdeenshire Council (on behalf of the CPP) to undertake research in Aberdeenshire to inform the development and ultimately the delivery of our local strategic approach to child poverty. The research will follow four phases:
- A focused literature review looking at poverty/child poverty and strategies to prevent and mitigate its impact within a rural context.
- An online survey of practitioners across a wide range of sectors/partner agencies to attitudes to poverty/child poverty, current practices and barriers to action, and generate ideas for action moving forward.
- Focus group discussions and one-to-one interviews to develop a better understanding of the lived experience of poverty and child poverty in Aberdeenshire.
- Partner event – an opportunity for senior managers and practitioners with an interest in child poverty to consider the findings and the feasibility of the key research recommendations.
The recently published What Works Scotland child poverty evidence review for councils and their community planning partners also provides a helpful overview of high impact actions that can be taken in relation to income maximisation, employability, education, childcare etc. Whilst the Council’s Community Planning Team is also now working with CPP partners to identify data partners routinely collect which may assist in measuring and monitoring the CPP’s ambitions to effectively prevent and mitigate the impact of child poverty in Aberdeenshire.
The LOIP priorities that CPPs are developing will be expected to continue over a ten-year period, with key milestones articulated for 1 and 3 years. Once the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill has been approved by the Scottish Parliament (Dec 2017), this will also place a number of duties on councils, NHS boards and other partners to develop a series of local action plans seeking to eradicate child poverty in Scotland by 2030.
Written in September 2017, these reflections were first published in the Multi-layered Partnership Working report co-produced by Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership (CPP) partners and What Works Scotland.