Wednesday, 17 June 2009
South Ayrshire organisations single
minded about Community Planning
EIGHT key public, voluntary and community sector organisations, providing services in and to South Ayrshire, have signed a new agreement, pledging to work in partnership for the benefit of South Ayrshire.
South Ayrshire Council, Scottish Enterprise, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Strathclyde Police, CVO Kyle & Carrick, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and Strathclyde Passenger Transport, as well as two community representatives, all signed the document, known as the Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) during the second Community Planning Conference, held at County Buildings.
More than 150 local residents, many representing grass roots community organisations, joined public and private sector agencies at the conference and were welcomed by Councillor Hugh Hunter, Chair of the Community Planning Partnership, the conference organisers.
He gave an update on how community planning had progressed since the last conference in 2008, with the positive news that community concerns of economic development and transport were being addressed by way of a new partnership and added that Community Health work had also been boosted by a welcome input from locality groups for adult and children’s services.
He said: “A major recent output of the Community Planning Partnership is the Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) and this sets out the key issues the partners have identified and agreed as local priorities for South Ayrshire. These priorities will be taken forward by the different Theme Groups within the Partnership.
“Many will have seen the publicity relating to the recent audit of Best Value and Community Planning and signing this document commits us to improve the leadership of community planning, to improve our joint working among partners and to exploit the potential for shared services.
Councillor Hunter also gave news of a proactive approach to the recent National Framework to tackle the problems of drugs and alcohol, with the establishment of a new Alcohol and Drugs Partnership which will become part of the Community Planning structures.
However, he warned of challenging times ahead, given the multi-million pound reductions in public sector finances, saying: “The coming year is likely to be particularly challenging.
“As a consequence of the economic situation, we have seen a drop in income from council tax and rent, lower returns on investment, land and buildings and such reductions in income provide an uncomfortable backdrop as demands for our services rise.
“All public sector partners are under the same severe pressure and, although the scale is not yet clear, all the signs are that hard decisions will be required in all areas of services. However, this will mean that the benefits of joint collaborative working will be even greater.
After the agreement was signed, delegates attended a variety of breakout sessions, contributing ideas and thoughts to the Theme Groups on community issues such as: lifelong learning, community safety, economic development & transport, drugs and alcohol awareness, community health, regeneration and sustainability.
People were encouraged to say what they or their local organisation is currently doing and what they might be able to do in the future in order to work with partners to deliver the local outcomes and objectives in the Single Outcome Agreement.
In the afternoon, people were encouraged to visit a number of interactive activities and service demonstrations to find more about what the Theme Groups do and how they work.
Strathclyde Police and Fire & Rescue Services were on hand on Low Green to offer advice, hints and tips on all aspects of their services to the community. In addition, the Community Safety Partnership had a new portable Multi Use Games Arena (MUGA) was on display, with a primary school football tournament in full flow.
There were key messages on recycling, alcohol misuse, traffic planning, health improvement and equalities. A live beehive was also on display to demonstrate one of the many skills our young people are learning as part of a programme of diversionary activities.
Before the Conference closed, the results of the ballot to elect two community representatives to the Community Planning Board (pictured above) were announced, with David Kiltie from Maybole Community Council and Joe Lafferty from Wallacetoun and Newton Regeneration Forum being duly elected to represent the areas of Carrick and Kyle respectively.
The next meeting of the Community Planning Board will be held on 19th August and Valerie Stewart of South Ayrshire Council said: “I was delighted to see so many people turn up and make their views known. We have learned a lot from the breakout sessions and the electronic voting used during the conference.
“We now need to take this information and feed it back to the Community Planning Board and Theme Groups and see how we can use this to shape shared services and collaborative working in the future.”
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