Planning for Place

The Improvement Service's Place Programme supports councils and their partners to collaborate around place. We seek to encourage place-based approaches to joint planning, resourcing and delivery of places that enable all communities to flourish. See below for the range of support we offer.

Why collaborate around place?

Place-based collaborative working has different rationales and flexibility in what the approach entails. What is consistent is that:

  • it addresses complex problems that no one service working alone can solve
  • prevention is now regarded as a key feature of new approaches
  • approaches involve breaking down organisational silos and bringing sectors together through a shared orientation in the design and delivery of services.

Focus on the delivery of a high quality place is not new. However, councils are now increasingly working with partners to integrate services around people and place, with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention, and reducing inequalities.

Place-based approaches have been applied by community planning partnerships as a vehicle for asset-based community development. However, there is a risk that local practitioners and policy makers see this as purely a community planning approach and become distracted from the opportunities of place-based working across all public service design and delivery.

A more joined-up, collaborative, and participative approach to services, land and buildings across all sectors within a place boosts inclusive economies, enables better outcomes for everyone, and increases opportunities for people and communities to shape their own lives.

Coordinated place-based approaches can be applied at a range and scale of settings and circumstances be that in remote villages, towns, cities, regions or islands. Solutions need to deliver across a wide range of economic, physical and social outcomes and involve utilising available resources from across mainstream budgets

The Place Principle

The contribution place-based working has towards national performance outcomes, public health reform and achieving inclusive economies has led to the adoption of a Place Principle by Scottish Government and COSLA. The principle requests that all those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place need to work and plan together, and with local communities, to improve the lives of people, support inclusive growth and create more successful places.

There is a challenge for local authorities in applying the Place Principle in terms of working differently. It promotes examining their own ways of thinking and working beyond distinct council areas or functions, and to make broader connections across sectors and crucially with community planning priorities.

The Place Standard

In addition to the Principle, the Place Standard tool provides a basis for a comprehensive conversation around place between all stakeholders with outputs that can shape priorities for collaborative working. The Place Standard Tool is a key enabler to place based working and thus to applying the Place Principle.

Place and other policy

In addition to the Place Principle, other policy areas and developments have an increased focus on place. For instance:

  • public health reform (Health and Place is one of its 'early adopters')
  • Islands (Scotland) Act
  • the Planning Bill
  • participatory budgeting
  • regional economic partnerships and developments such as the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.

Place and the Improvement Service

The Improvement Service’s Planning for Place Programme provides specific support to councils and their partners to collaborate in place-based approaches to joint planning, resourcing and delivery of places that enable all communities to flourish. This includes:

  • elected member briefing sessions raising awareness of the role of place, place-based approaches and place making in service delivery
  • Community Planning Partnership and Officer Group awareness raising sessions on Place Standard Tool and Place Principle links
  • iterative practitioner training support on the use of the Place Standard Tool in workshop settings. Cross function attendance is a key feature to promote a non-siloed approach to the use of the tool
  • helping forge closer links between community planning and spatial planning, including national events and webinars that connect practitioners
  • facilitating collaboration between IS-supported professional groups around their collective agendas. SLAEDHOPS and SCOTS (along with SOLACE and COSLA) identified place as one of their top three collective working priorities.
Irene Beautyman - Planning for Place Programme Manager