Published on March 20, 2014
Scottish Funders Association Being Small in a Big World Colin Mair, CEO, Improvement Service
Scope • Why small matters: the “bigging” of the Scottish state • The limits of big Government • Going small: going local • The better role of big Government
“Bigging the System”: Lowest Level of Functional Government • Very small number of very large councils • Lowest ratio of councillors and councils to population in Europe • Limited fiscal and constitutional empowerment • Low voter turnout: limited confidence
Some Comparisons • Norway: 19 counties and 434 municipalities (4,676,305) • Denmark: 98 municipalities and 5 ‘regions’ (5,515,575) • Finland: 20 ‘regions’ and 342 municipalities (5,255,068)
“Bigging the System”: Looking Back • Scotland 1974: 203 councils; diverse rather than uniform; 50% local taxation • Scotland 1996: 32 councils; uniformity of functions and empowerments; under 20% local taxation • Loss of major functions: public health; community health care; college sector; police and fire services
Range for Neighbourhood Scores (2011/12) • Income deprivation: 3% - 53% • Crimes per 10,000: 51 – 3,180 • S4 tariff score: 79 – 288 • Emergency Admissions per 100,000: 5,812 – 22,794 • Emergency Admissions 65+ per 100,000: 8,602 – 55,769
2002/03 – 2012/13
Government Finance and Demand 2009/10 – 2017/18 (% real terms) NB. Projected cash cuts from 2016/17 – 2018/19
Going Small: Going Local • The mantra: co-production; “capacity” building; social “cohesion”/“coherence”; “assets” based approaches, etc. • But…. – Affluent communities with good outcomes – The poor value that marginalised communities get from public services – The resource lock: research; policy; training and management support
Small Grants • Projects or people • Resourcing challenge; change proposals; lobbying, etc. • Bottom up co-production….on the communities terms
Scaleability • Why?: supporting particular communities on their terms • Principles: subordination of expertise to the community; inclusion; choice and respect • Solving the public sector problem (universalisation: solving the communities problem (particularisation and intimacy)
The Role of Big Government • Macro-economic, fiscal and welfare policy • Inequality cannot be resolved solely at community level • International comparisons show link between income inequality and other inequalities
End Points • We need to scale down: go granular • Supporting communities to shape public services • Invest in people….not projects
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