This think piece reflects on the potential of multi-purpose, independent community-led organisations, often called community anchors, to lead on ‘highly localised’ service design and delivery, and related local economic, social and democratic developments.

Summary

The 2011 Christie Commission report argues for the roles of ‘community’ and third sector to be central to public service reform in Scotland, and illustrates a range of the ‘hows’ as to what this could be like.

This paper considers one such ‘how’: the potential of multi-purpose, independent community-led organisations, often called community anchors, to lead on ‘highly localised’ service design and delivery, and related local economic, social and democratic developments.

The first sections of this paper describe a common understanding of a community anchor ‘model’ as developing in Scotland and the UK, including the roles anchors play in practice and their position within policy-making.

Their relevance to the Christie Commission public reform agenda is then explored, and the opportunities that anchors offer community planning partnerships (CPPs) for joint-working and leading local development are illustrated. The crucial shift needed in the approach of CPPs to working with and supporting the community sector is then considered.

The paper concludes by pointing to the potential for community anchors to support the development of a distinctively local democratic approach to public service reform – a ‘Scottish approach’, for instance.

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Author: James Henderson

Publication date: November 2015

Type of publication: Think piece

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