Community Wealth Building -Consultation Response
Our Interest in Community Wealth Building
We recently shared an article on Community Wealth Building and discussed the importance of feeding into the ongoing consultation for it. This is our response that was submitted:
Our clients and beneficiaries are rooted in the communities of Scotland and can be significant delivery partners for Community Wealth Building. Using interviews and a survey, we have gathered their views so that this submission is the combined views of the Community Enterprise team, with its national reach, complemented by the views of community groups and social enterprises in localities across Scotland.
Q.1 We are proposing a duty to advance Community Wealth Building; which form do you think this duty should take:
Community Enterprise supports the concept of Community Wealth Building and, if rolled out and resourced, could be a game changer in the nature and scale of economic transformation in Scottish communities.
Option C- a combined option – featuring a union of both options.
A broad base of compliance is required to ensure long-term adoption of the CWB agenda. By embedding the model into corporate plans and wider strategies (Option A) there is a clear directive for the development of organisational activities that create opportunities for community wealth-building focussed activity. However, by including option B and requiring the production of place-based strategies and action plans, there is an opportunity for wider collaboration and buy-in.
Option B, however, should go further than current CPP partners with impetus on including and ensuring equality to community partners. A shift in culture is required within many public bodies (anchor organisations), to ensure that plans are created and delivered with and by communities and not done to them. Though we acknowledge the clear budget constraints that exist, for true community involvement in driving the nature of local Community Wealth Building, will require to be resourced.
Accountability should lie with Scottish Government, local authorities, other public bodies, including enterprise agencies, NHS, Non Departmental Public Bodies etc. This should not be a tick-box exercise but rather a considered approach to a new way of working that puts community at the heart of decision making and the end beneficiaries of wealth creation. The inclusion of statutory duties, outcome development, measurement systems (that does not allow for duplication on reporting between agencies), and clear reporting that is accessible and easily understood (ensuring accessibility for community partners).
Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) should be given equal opportunity to engage in the process and should be included in the planning stages. While there should be no obligation for CPPs to be involved, it is important not to end up with a postcode lottery dependant on how good/ active a CPP is.
Transparency is key to the future of CWB in Scotland. Open meetings, publication of plans and reports (in an easy and accessible to find and read format). Funding pots for the development of initiatives should be made available to the third sector to ensure that organisations have the opportunity to be involved. Anchor organisations should recognise and support organisations to be involved; this includes understanding capacity issues and putting in place support systems to ensure involvement. Transparency starts with clarity as the language around community wealth building is often alien to the local communities who are supposed to be benefiting from it.
One way the Scottish Government could support the implementation of the proposed Community Wealth Building duty is to provide statutory or non-statutory guidance. Would this be helpful to partners in meeting the proposed duty?
Statutory guidance would help clarify accountability and ensure delivery targets and timelines. However, it is important that flexibility at a local level is built in to ensure that all partners are able to be involved in the development and delivery.
Clarity of which partners are accountable and access to support where plans are not realised would ensure long term success of CWB.
Resources such as best practice and learning (including when things go wrong) may help the development of plans. However, partners should be encouraged to think innovatively (with imagination) to create opportunities that work for their local community and economy, and understand that there is no one size fits all approach.
Use of plain English to demystify the concept of CWB is vital as is a smart on and off line communications strategy to ensure all sections of society, regardless of ethnicity, age or circumstances, can understand that guidance.
Q.2 Are there other non-legislative measures that you believe are required to accelerate the implementation of the Community Wealth Building approach in Scotland?
There are a number of non-legislative measures that would accelerate the implementation of CWB:
• Enhanced capacity building resources so that, when services are procured locally by anchor institutions and local businesses (including co-operatives and community/social enterprises), the local economy has the capacity to respond to these business opportunities which could be very significant.
• Inclusion of CWB in education. Including the school curriculum, university business degrees, further education business courses.
• National and local public facing campaigns to improve general understanding of the concept and what is being delivered. These should include storytelling to promote and celebrate good practice.
• Third sector access to financial resources- including long term core funding to allow community anchor organisations to grow and address sustainability.
• Broader departmental links within anchor organisations to ensure buy in from all.
• Connections to community action plans/ local place plans etc
• Refund P4P or a similar collaborative tendering support programme) as this was an invaluable support programme. This was a unique programme developing collaborative working in procurement.
Are there specific actions required to advance delivery of the items contained within the SharedPolicy Programme?
The actions required are more than economic, they should connect to the green and wellbeing agendas in a specific and measurable way.
Anchor organisations should listen to and respect views of social enterprise and communities, both of which are working at a grass root level and have a clear picture of the needs of their communities.
Accountability towards CWB should be created across industries and be built into large-scale contracts and partnerships.
Good, robust and continual research, both academic and community based, should continue to be collated. Fundamental impact assessment should be built in to monitor the impact of community wealth building in real time.
Q.3 Are there ways in which the law could be changed to advance the spending pillar of Community Wealth Building?
Community Benefit Clauses in procurement should be increased to 20% of the scoring and embedded in alltenders over a certain threshold. This should be enshrined in secondary procurement legislation.
Q.4 Employment law is reserved for the UK Parliament. Are there other devolved areas where the law could be changed to advance the workforce pillar of Community Wealth Building?
The devolvement of employment law to Scotland. Further to this:
• Public knowledge of fair work requires improvement; this would encourage workers to demand positive changes in the workplace. Commitment to the real living wage through procurement and grant funding should not just be expected but paid for accordingly. Anchor organisations should be willing to increase budgets to ensure that salaries reflect cost of living alongside service delivery.
• Free training for businesses in implementing fair work, and targeted funding for employing young, local, unskilled labour would encourage SMEs and the third sector to hire locally. Encouragement of collaborative working between the business community and employability social enterprises would ensure better relationships and a smoother transition between training and support to employment.
• Concern continues about the reliance on volunteers to move community organisations forward.Without investment and understanding of capacity issues, this is a is a high risk strategy.
• Better connection is needed between universities and colleges to needs of local economy- thisrelates to courses offered and research delivered.
Q.5 Are there ways in which the law could be changed which are not already covered in the proposals for the Land Reform Bill to advance the land and property pillar of Community Wealth Building?
The current Land Reform Bill falls short of addressing the land ownership issues in Scotland. If CWB is to be successful there are a number of factors that need addressing:
• Private owned land- large landowners should be held responsible and accountable for the improvement of access to land for communities, for derelict land to be utilised and for communities to have a say in what land is used for. Landowners should be
held responsible for stewardship of their land and greater powers given to communities where landowners are absent. Greater transparency is required of who owns what.
• Community benefit should be embedded in carbon credits and the financial income from natural capital. This should start to limit the current private sector “land grab”.
• Public sector owned land- Communities should be approached before the private sector when land becomes available, this is especially in relation to large developers that often have excessive influence. Property developers should be held to account and planning consent should include a requirement to work directly with communities/ community anchor organisations.
• Within the community buyout system there is a need to change the definition of communities to include community of interest as well as place.
Further to this:
Improved access to long-term financial resources and support in developing ideas is needed.
Access to clear information and support when negotiating and planning for the creation of natural capital.
We welcome the renewed focus on land reform, and we support the Community Land Scotland submission to this consultation.
Q.6 Are there ways in which the law could be changed to advance the inclusive ownership pillar of Community Wealth Building?
We support the Social Enterprise Scotland submission to this consultation.
Further to this:
• Improved general knowledge within the population is required. The school curriculum should include education about inclusive ownership, this would support a move away from the traditional work choices for young people to better understand what working for a social enterprise would mean, how a cooperative model could benefit them etc. university and college business studies, and similar, should also include information.
• Government HR advice (E.g. ACAS) should include information on inclusive ownership for both business owners and staff.
• The Scottish Enterprise based team Cooperative Development Scotland should have an enhanced remit to promote inclusive ownership models across all sectors and in partnership with programmes such as Just Enterprise and Accelerate.
Q.7 Are there ways in which the law could be changed to advance the finance pillar of Community Wealth Building?
We support the Social Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Communities Finance submissions to this consultation.