If not now, when? Social Renewal Advisory Board reports
January 22, 2021
The Social Renewal Advisory Board was set up by the Scottish Government to make proposals that can renew Scotland once we start to emerge from the pandemic. The report based on the group's discussions has now been published with a set of 20 recommendations concerning issues of social justice and putting people and communities at the heart of recovery.
The group's activities involved:
- "Community Listening Events" held in 31 local authority areas
- regular inclusive 'Policy Circles' which came up with initial proposals
- 'Deep Dive Events' probing deeper into ideas and sharpened the recommendations;and
- over 100 organisations provided evidence of the impacts of the pandemic and their own ideas for change.
Community participation and community-led activity is emphasised strongly in the report, with four out of 20 of the report's 'calls to action' focusing on the broad theme of 'Communities And Collective Endeavour'. They include:
- Further shift the balance of power so individuals and communities have more control over decisions that affect their lives
- Improve service delivery and design by empowering frontline teams and the people and communities they serve
- Build on new ways of working, based on what has worked well during the pandemic, and develop new arrangements for local governance
- Focus everyone and all activities on building more resilient, fairer, healthier and stronger communities and places
In addition, the concluding call to action highlights the need to close the gap between rhetoric and action, stating:
- Decision-makers must commit to co-designing the means of gauging progress towards renewal.
Other calls to action
The other calls to action are equally welcome, focusing on key issues around inequality, poverty and exclusion. They include calls for the Scottish Government to:
- commit to working towards a Minimum Income Guarantee for all;
- offer skills, training and qualifications programmes targeted to those most affected by the pandemic – including disabled people, minority ethnic communities and lone parents;
- commit to a new Affordable Housing Programme, delivering 53,000 affordable homes, including 37,100 homes for social rent;
- set a target to end digital exclusion in the next parliamentary term;
- work with local government and other partners to give more say to people and communities over the decisions which affect their lives; and
- strengthen approaches to address and prevent hate crime and public sexual harassment.