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Planning for Place

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:

What is place?

Every place is a different blend of physical, social and economic characteristics and needs that interact and influence each other. Action by those responsible for providing services and looking after assets to address a need based in one characteristic will all too frequently have unintended consequences in another area: be that positive or negative in its impact.

Why collaborate around place?

Place-based working requires a joint working, collaborative approach that takes account of the unique blend of characteristics that exist in every place to identify and maximise the positive impact of any unintended consequences of our actions. This approach enables better informed decisions leading to the delivery of more effective services and more resilient communities.

As no two places are the same, neither will any two place-based approaches be the same. Through this model we can identify and target the underlying causes of inequalities and disadvantage and implement solutions that are tailored to the individual challenges which face different places across Scotland. With the shared input of all those responsible for providing services and looking after assets, we can identify the steps that need to be taken to overcome inequality and disadvantage. That joint input is the key to the success of place-based working and every effort must be made to ensure collaborative buy in to help realise our communities full potential.

Place-based 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 around a shared ambition when designing and delivering services.

For local government this means councils working with partners to integrate services around the needs of people in a place, with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention. All aimed at 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.

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 the range of economic, physical and social outcomes and involve utilising available resources from across mainstream budgets.

The Place Principle

The Place Principle promotes place-based working. 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 within policy and programmes

Many policy areas and developments have an increased focus on place. For instance:

  • Scotland’s Public Health Priorities
  • Islands (Scotland) Act
  • the Planning Bill
  • Scottish Government's Programme for Scotland 2020-21.

Examples of place-based approaches

Examples of place-based approaches being progressed in Scotland include:

  • Community Wealth Building such as North Ayrshire Council’s CWB Strategy
  • Regeneration Capital Grant Funded projects
  • Participatory budgeting projects
  • Regional economic partnerships and developments such a 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:

  • Working with stakeholders to promote the role of places in delivering health and wellbeing including sitting on the Spatial Planning for Health and Wellbeing Collaborative
  • Inputting our local government improvement perspective as a member of the Town Centre Action Plan Review Group
  • Working with Public Health Scotland to assess 20 minute neighbourhood scenarios with local government and local health boards
  • 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. SLAEDHOPSand SCOTS (along with SOLACE and COSLA) identified place as one of their top three collective working priorities.
Irene Beautyman - Planning for Place Programme Manager