Innovation Exchange

North Ayrshire CPP: Programme of Comprehensive Commitment to Community Participation

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

North Ayrshire CPP wanted to make Community Planning more relevant and accessible to local people, and address local inequalities.

Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

4 years ago, North Ayrshire CPP initiated a comprehensive commitment to community engagement.

What helped us to improve community participation

 

Started by getting commitment from key community partners who then worked together with the Consultation Institute to get accreditation. This involved comprehensive project management work and planning of work streams. It trained partnership staff in community consultation which gave the council a pool of staff who was working from the same perspective.

 

Consulted with communities to decide on how to divide areas into localities. After a very detailed demographic data analysis the CPP agreed on 6 locality areas. Set up locality partnerships with the same number of elected members and community members in each partnership. The locality partnership meetings are attended by community reps, elected members, community councils and open invitation to community members, police fire, health and social care.

 

There was a period of working out priorities within each locality. Used tools like the place standard tool, the ‘Three Towns Charrette’ to augment the strategic priorities in the LOIP.

 

There is significant financial commitment including 2.6 million of the budget as well as different forms of funding available for communities including the Community Investment Fund.

 

Formal meetings held quarterly are chaired by elected members these meetings however more recent sub groups in some areas are being chaired by community reps. 6 members are lead officers for the partnership, from different partner organisations. The lead officers are the link to the CPP’s strategic management team but they are not able to vote.  The lead officers meet every 6 weeks with the chief executive to tell them about what is going on. This shows real support from the leadership.

 

There are also links to youth groups with 6 youth forums in the same localities. Have also implemented an inequality strategy and are currently piloting citizens income.

 

Barriers to improving community participation

 

Although a lot has changed since the start, it takes a long time to change culture and this is currently in the implementation stage. It is challenging to get community representatives that represent the whole community. Continually looking at ways to achieve a more diverse membership. Work is being done to support community representatives to engage local views.

 

Substantial training cost involved. Considered alternatives in terms of co-production but wanted an accreditation and to have people across the partnership trained.

It takes time for groups to work out relationships. It is important not to have too many plans as confusion does not empower communities. The continuous engagement with communities have resulted in a shift in power dynamics and created relationships between partners across the CPP as well as community representatives. The locality plans changed as a result of consultation work with communities which means that the CPP can evidence how the community had impacted the plan. There is a clear line of sight between community input and the content of the locality plan.

 

There has been some negotiation regarding how to divide the localities an example being the decision that Arran should have its own locality partnership. Also need to find a balance between localism and regional collaboration. The six localities are quite different and it was important to analyse data from all partners including health data, crime data etc. This has resulted in a comprehensive report. It has impacted on other services. Police have changed their community policing structure and now have 6 locality teams in North Ayrshire

 

Funding drives so much in terms of how successful community engagement will be.  Some community councils are back running again as a result of the increase community engagement, and the council is working to support them and others.  The number of attendees at PB events have increased significantly. A few years ago they would have around 250 people attending and now there are around 600 people.

Case study added to site: December 2018

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