The 2020/21 Community Plan review has been undertaken within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the single greatest challenge that we have faced together in the lifetime of our community planning partnership.
The demands of this unprecedented public health crisis have demonstrated the fundamental importance of partnership working. In the face of the pandemic, our communities and statutory partners have come together at the most local level to deliver the support needed; new ways of working have evolved; and our relationships strengthened as a result.
Over the last year we have also seen the UK withdrawal from the European Union which will have potentially significant implications for our local business community, at a time when they are already struggling to recover from worst economic impacts of the pandemic
This Community Plan review has afforded us an opportunity to take stock of these changes; to reaffirm our shared commitment to partnership working; and to update our strategic planning framework to ensure that we continue to be well placed to meet the significant challenges ahead.
Our vision and values
We remain committed to our community planning Vision for East Ayrshire and to the shared values and guiding principles articulated with our Community Plan, such as promoting equality and lifelong learning; and building on the strengths and resilience within our communities.
‘East Ayrshire is a place with strong, safe and vibrant communities where everyone has a good quality of life and access to opportunities, choices and high quality services which are sustainable, accessible and meet people’s needs."
Our communities are at the heart of everything that we do, influencing the community planning agenda at a strategic level through their formal links into our community planning framework and also, in practical terms, through the resilience and community spirit that has typified our COVID-19 pandemic response. Community Planning in East Ayrshire is founded on community engagement, collaboration and empowerment to ensure that we maximise all the assets and resources available to protect and support our communities.
The pandemic has brought out the very best in our communities in terms of that resilience and community activism; however it has also set back progress that we had previously made in our partnership work to tackle inequality. Evidence at both national and local level indicates that pre-existing inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic, in relation to health and wellbeing outcomes, and also in socio-economic terms. These are significant challenges that we must now redouble our partnership efforts to address.
Our continuing pandemic response
The pandemic will continue to impact on the delivery of services across our Community Planning Partnership (CPP) in the years ahead, placing demands on our shared resources and impacting on our partnership agenda for 2021-24.
Within health and social care, services will require to continue to support our communities in relation to COVID-19, dealing with longer term health impacts, delivering vaccination programmes and standing ready to meet the challenges of any future outbreaks; while also resuming normal levels of health and social care services.
We are also working hard to understand the mental health impacts of the pandemic and to ensure that the right care is available across our partnership to support people as these emerge. Supporting our children and young people, in particular, to move on from the disruption that the pandemic has caused in their lives will be a key focus of our work in the years ahead.
Education provision has been disrupted. Students will require to be supported to resume and to complete their courses; and education and skills providers will require to work closely with local employers to support our young people into positive destinations, at a time when local businesses themselves are struggling to survive.
The business and economic impacts of the pandemic will be most keenly felt by those who were already struggling, and our work to address poverty and to support those in greatest need is more important than ever. This is reflected in the priorities that have been identified for our CPP for the next three year period.
Our priorities for 2021-2024
Through our 2020/21 review of our Community Plan, we asked our communities, partners and stakeholders about their priorities for the next three years. This is what they told us that they want us to focus on:
- COVID-19 pandemic recovery - renewal and transformation
- Inclusive economic growth - Ayrshire Growth Deal and Community Wealth Building
- Community wellbeing - Caring for East Ayrshire
- Sustainability and the environment
- Children and young people
- Poverty and inequality
Each and every one of our community planning partners has its own clear role to play in driving forward these shared high level priorities, but we know that it is through collective action that we will have the greatest impact.
View East Ayrshire's local priorities action plan.
COVID-19 pandemic recovery – renewal and transformation
In recent years, within the context of public sector reform, a challenging economic climate and increased demand for services, we have adopted a transformational approach to the delivery public services in East Ayrshire. We have worked proactively with our communities and wider partners to seek out opportunities for more efficient and effective ways of working: developing our ‘place based’ approach to ensure an agile and efficient response to identified local need; and thinking strategically to maximise the impact of our collective resources: our people, our budgets and our physical assets.
This transformational agenda, driven forward over a number of years now, will provide the necessary platform for our COVID-19 recovery and renewal. As a community planning partnership we have a particular role to play in ensuring that game changing developments which have been years in the planning, such as the Ayrshire Growth Deal and the Caring for Ayrshire Transformational Change Programme, are now realised and their potential benefits maximised, to the advantage of communities right across East Ayrshire.
This has been a public health crisis with wide reaching economic ramifications; as well as implications for people’s safety. We will now seek to work collaboratively to build on the community resilience that has been so clearly demonstrated and to provide the economic and social conditions necessary to facilitate recovery and renewal. We will also redouble our efforts to tackle inequalities within our communities, particularly those, such as economic and health inequalities, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
This recovery and renewal agenda will drive our partnership activity over the next three years and beyond, and is reflected across the three thematic Delivery Plans which, taken together, constitute our partnership approach to recovery, renewal and transformation for the years ahead.
Inclusive Economic Growth – Ayrshire Growth Deal and Community Wealth Building
We recognised within our Community Plan for 2015-2030 that the key driver underpinning our future prosperity was sustainable economic growth, and that this would be essential to allow us to realise the full potential within our communities. In pursuit of this ambition, we have since worked collaboratively with regional and national partners to secure the Ayrshire Growth Deal, a £251million investment package which was finally formally signed in November 2020 and which is anchored in a commitment to create a growing, innovative, more productive and inclusive local economy.
As part of our wider Ayrshire Economic Strategy, the Ayrshire Growth Deal will allow us to attract and develop more innovative and internationally focused companies; improve key elements of our strategic transport and digital infrastructure; and work with communities to raise aspiration and ambition, provide employment and skills support, and improve access to jobs. This targeted investment will also play a key role in our recovery and renewal as we seek to support our local business base to rebound from the significant negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and create meaningful future employment opportunities for local residents. Integral to this is our Community Wealth Building approach, through which we will use all the economic levers available to our partnership to create a more inclusive and resilient local economy, building on the core strengths within our communities.
Concurrently with the challenges of COVID-19 recovery, our business base also faces significant medium to long term uncertainty in relation to the implications of the UK withdrawal from the European Union, notwithstanding the withdrawal agreement that was reached in December 2020.
As a community planning partnership we have a key role to play in driving forward inclusive economic growth, creating the conditions necessary for success and maximising the wider socio-economic benefits of the inclusive growth agenda, while also ensuring that our business base is supported to meet the future challenges associated with Brexit. This commitment is reflected across our new thematic Delivery Plans for 2021-24.
Community Wellbeing – Caring for East Ayrshire
The inclusive growth agenda recognises the interaction of social and economic factors, something which has also been highlighted in our local analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our people and communities. We know that the cumulative economic and health impacts of the pandemic can only be addressed collectively, and that our community planning partnership has a key role to play in driving forward a holistic approach to community wellbeing.
In order to meet the demands of the future, our shared approach to wellbeing will include greater emphasis on health improvement, prevention and community-based intervention, drawing on the support of our wider community planning partnership. The innovative Caring for Ayrshire transformational change programme sets out a framework for the redesign of our health and social care services which effectively articulates our shared partnership commitment to ensuring that the right care is available in the right place, as close to home as possible.
As a partnership we will continue develop community facing, multi-disciplinary locality teams to support our ambitions for community wellbeing and we will work collaboratively to maximise the impact of our shared partnership resource in this regard. One such opportunity has been identified through the forthcoming Doon Valley Community Campus development in Dalmellington, which will be taken forward collaboratively with a range of partners including EAC Education, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the Health and Social Care Partnership and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust. This project will bring significant investment to the south of our authority area, and offers an opportunity for us to realise our Caring for Ayrshire vision, at the heart of one of our most vibrant local communities.
The Doon Valley development represents Caring for Ayrshire in action, and is reflective of our renewed commitment to place based, multi-agency service delivery which is being driven forward by community planning partners such as Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who have taken steps to reimagine the role of local SFRS officers at the heart of community planning in East Ayrshire, particularly in the face of the recent demands of the pandemic response.
This integration of services is part of our broader partnership focus on wellbeing and population health where we aim to achieve, as effectively articulated within the Caring for Ayrshire transformation change programme, a shift from a ‘diagnose, fix and treat’ approach to health to a broader all-encompassing approach to wellbeing which is based on health and care anticipation, being trauma informed, preventing illness where we can, and supporting self-management to achieve the best health possible for people living with long term conditions.
Sustainability and the environment
The new Doon Valley Campus development will make use of the latest design and technological innovations to minimise its impact on the environment and this will be a central consideration in all future partnership developments. This reflects the importance to our local communities of the environment and climate change agenda. Our stakeholders expect our renewal and recovery work to be taken forward based on green and environmentally friendly principles.
As individuals and single agencies we can improve sustainability and tackle climate change by reducing our carbon footprint and applying higher environmental standards; however collectively we can do so much more. As a partnership we will explore opportunities to accelerate East Ayrshire’s shift to net zero carbon and create clean growth opportunities for people and business, while also seeking to protect the climate and environment for future generations. This is approach is reflected in our Ayrshire Growth Deal programme, in our wider plans for sustainable economic growth and in our new Delivery Plans for 2021-24.
Children and young people
At the forefront of the calls for greater action to address climate change are our children and young people, who are central to our plans for recovery and renewal. The impact of the pandemic on their everyday lives has been dramatic and we must work in partnership to minimise its longer term effect on their future life chances. This challenge is recognised and reflected in our new Children and Young People’s Service Plan 2020-23 which outlines specific priorities for our children and young people, which are supported by the programme of work that is set out in our new thematic Delivery Plans.
We are committed to the development of a new multi-disciplinary, community facing approach within school clusters, which will provide the best possible all-inclusive wellbeing for our children and their families. Our Delivery Plans also reflect the important role of partnership working in ensuring that our young people have the skills that they need to meet the demands of the future world of work and are able in particular to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Ayrshire Growth Deal and related developments.
Our work will also be informed by the recently published findings of the Independent Care Review, and our shared commitment to the Promise to make sure that our most vulnerable children feel loved and have the childhood they deserve.
Poverty and inequality
One of the key roles of our CPP is to address the socio-economic equalities that exist within and between our communities. Evidence suggests that this been worsened as a consequence of the recent pandemic; and also that those who were already experiencing disadvantage were the most significantly impacted. This is true for adults and also for the children and young people in their care.
We will continue to work to address the drivers of poverty and to mitigate and undo the effect of poverty on our most vulnerable residents. This work is articulated throughout our Delivery Plans and also in our Local Child Poverty Action Report which is reviewed and refreshed in partnership on an annual basis.
Our work to address poverty, like so much else, requires to be reset and recalibrated in the wake of the pandemic, but remains central to our partnership commitment to the people of East Ayrshire.
Guided by our shared community planning vision, we continue to be ambitious for the people of East Ayrshire and, within the circumstances and parameters outlined above, we have undertaken this Community Plan review to set the strategic framework for our partnership activity for the next three years, 2021-24.
However we also recognise that these are not normal times for planning and consequently we must retain a flexibility to adapt to emerging circumstances and the as yet unknown longer term impacts of recent events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and also the UK withdrawal from the European Union.
We will not therefore be afraid to work with our communities to adapt, learn and redesign our services in the years ahead, and we will share this ongoing improvement journey with our wider stakeholders through our established governance arrangements.
The Community Plan is recognised by all Partners as the sovereign strategic planning document for the delivery of public services in East Ayrshire over the 15 years from 2015 to 2030 and sets out the overall vision for the local area. A three yearly review cycle is built into our community planning arrangements to allow the work of the partnership to be reviewed and recalibrated if required, in response to changing circumstances.
This second three yearly review, undertaken during 2020/21, has provided an opportunity for us to reaffirm our existing themes of Economy and Skills; Safer Communities; and Wellbeing, and on this basis three new thematic Delivery Plans have been developed. These new Delivery Plans articulate our partnership priorities for the next three years, 2021-24, and the key, high level partnership actions that we will undertake collectively under each of these themes, to improve outcomes for our local residents, support COVID-19 recovery and renewal, and tackle inequality.
Improving local outcomes
Our thematic Delivery Plans are supported by a new Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) for 2021-24, which sets out our ambitions for improvement and will serve as the performance management framework against which our future partnership performance is measured. Our new LOIP and supporting materials will also help us to make better use of data to inform decision making and ensure that, in times of increasing demand and diminishing resources, we continue to target our combined partnership resource to greatest effect: improving outcomes and tackling inequality.
We will report in greater depth on a smaller number of high level outcomes, using meaningful indicators, data and supporting analysis to ensure that we are agile and able to adapt our future activity to meet the emerging challenges ahead. This flexibility is essential when setting in place future plans in the wake of such seismic changes as the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK withdrawal from the European Union, with the full longer term impacts of both as yet unknown.
Our LOIP and associated thematic delivery plans are fully aligned to the individual renewal and recovery and strategic plans of each of our individual community planning partner organisations, and our overarching community planning vision is the golden thread which links all of our plans together.
An annual Local Outcomes Improvement Plan performance report will be presented for endorsement by our CPP Board and Elected Members of East Ayrshire Council in September each year, setting out partnership progress in relation to improving local outcomes, tackling inequality and realisation of our shared Strategic Priorities for 2021-24.
Our LOIP also allows us to identify and to highlight where inequalities exist between different communities in East Ayrshire, and this will inform our future approach to locality based planning. Increasingly our statutory services are being delivered through community facing, multi-agency teams in our localities, in response to identified local need. This commitment to ensuring that the right services are delivered at the right time in the right place is reflected across our new thematic Delivery Plans and in the new Strategic Priorities that we have identified for 2021-24.