Group of different colorful houses cut out of paperThe role of What Works Scotland in developing understanding of place-based approaches.

Place-based approaches to public service reform emerged as one of the key priority areas within the West Dunbartonshire case site.

The community profiles developed through collaboration with What Works Scotland become a framework for prioritising decisions on local service delivery.

Amanda Coultard, the local community planning manager, told us the profiles help the council to build a more holistic picture of area needs and have more aspirational discussions about what they can do to improve neighbourhoods.

Elected members love the new interactive profiles and use them on their mobile phones.

Evidence of impact/changes

Placed-based approaches, as developed by What Works Scotland, have been adopted and taken forward by the Improvement Service with the report Rationales for place based approaches in Scotland cited by the Improvement Service and other national agencies, including a LGiU Scotland blog and quoted twice in the LGiU long read on Identity, Communities, Regeneration Sense of place in local government.

What Works Scotland research associate Claire Bynner was invited to do further work in Perth and Kinross as a result of presentation at a community planning partnership conference. This resulted in the a review of local decision-making/local community planning structures in Perth and Kinross, from which a report was produced and a briefing delivered to elected members on 4 May with a presentation to the full council on 20 July.

Feedback from briefing with elected members in Perth and Kinross, 4 May  2018:

“I thought you were excellent in handling the session, and responding to the tough challenging questions. Your ‘hardware and software’ analogy for the Action Partnerships summed up where we are brilliantly. I’m so glad the session was recorded (hopefully) as this would be required viewing to anyone involved in what we are trying to achieve with local decision making”

(Community planning manager).

Dr Bynner was invited to join the Scottish Government’s working group on place-based approaches to tackling inequality as a result of her work through What Works Scotland, and contributed to developing a definition of a place-based approach to inform future policy development.

Making Data Meaningful was a placed-based initiative developed through collaboration between What Works Scotland, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the community planning team in West Dunbartonshire Council, with input from the Information Services Division.

This project co-produced evidence to build capacity for evidence-use in local improvement projects in the form of community profiles available on the West Dunbartonshire Your Community website. Further research examining the various ways in which different types of evidence is used and to clarify when, where, and by whom decisions are made, was published in the Making Data Meaningful report and will provide a valuable legacy relevant across CPPs.

Another innovative place-based approach emerging from What Works Scotland is Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland which aims to connect families and communities across the area and provide holistic and sustained methods to tackling the attainment gap and reducing health inequalities. What Works Scotland was instrumental in the establishment of the pilot project in the Bridgeton and Dalmarnock neighbourhood of Glasgow last year, and the programme has grown into a long term (10-year), multi-partner collaborative approach. The programme received an additional £2 million investment by Scottish Government to support this work across other neighbourhoods in Scotland.

National collaborations

In 2018 What Works Scotland was working on several national collaborations on place-based working and facilitation training. These were:

  • What Works Scotland framework on place-based working – based on key What Works Scotland outputs and publications – to be published and rolled out in discussion with Scottish Government
  • Collaboration with the Corra Foundation national working group on place-based approaches test sites
  • Development of a process design briefing tool for facilitation training

Academic outputs

Abstracts on participatory governance and facilitative leadership were accepted for two conferences:

See all our place-based approaches resources