Local Capacity

Working around Scotland with many different communities we often come across the scenario where communities are advised to support a specific project but not enpowered to go beyond that. The idea is that groups/organisations working in areas/regions are supported (financially) which to enables them to work with-in their locality to empower other organisations and groups. This enables communities to take a lead, to drive projects forward with confidence, whilst having expertise on-hand and available locally if they need it. Too often experts are parachuted in, they fix a problem, then leave, but the communities are left no better prepared for the next challenge. In DTAS we used to have the Pool Associates Group which brought together personel from active and successful community projects who joined together to then help other groups via contracts. It was under resourced and eventually failed, however my organisation took on the model and over the passed 5 years we have worked with over 40 organisations across Scotland. Helping them through our experience and crucially teaching them what we know. Our mantra being that we leave them stronger, with greater capacity and more confidence than they had before. As a by-product we became stronger as we also learned things from those we were supporting. Self help on a community scale, which also help keep money in the sector.   

Why the contribution is important

Because resourcing regionally is in the longer term more cost effective. You can't have groups like HIE supporting everyone, and besides local people understand local issues far better and have a greater understanding of their economy and other challenges. In Dumfries and Galloway we have some amazing talent, but the powers that be insist on sending others to tell us how it should be done, which after they have left, usually means their is still a void. Create local talent beds which are accessible and who don't have to comply to national agendas, which don't always reflect local needs

by andrewward on September 07, 2018 at 04:32PM

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  • Posted by LocalGovernanceAdmin September 20, 2018 at 10:25

    Great point to raise Andrew! Keen to hear if anyone else has any thoughts on how your model could work or how else local capacity can be imporved.
  • Posted by RossLaird November 19, 2018 at 14:14

    This is a critical issue. As more and more services are devolved and the transfer of assets is increased, there will be significant pressures on local communities to run services and buildings, often with inadequate training and support. While the Scottish Government's policies in this area are a great opportunity for communities, there is an increasing risk of failure, which can badly affect local communities.
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