The so called "Fairer Scotland Fund" is an amalgamation of several funds to help areas of regeneration.
The SNP Government have set 8 objectives for the fund and to be honest, they are board enough to be not a bad selection of priorities.
The trouble is the SNP/Libdem administration has decided to do two things with this cash (around£7m for Edinburgh). Firstly, with minimal consultation with the areas affected, they have picked 3 of 8 targets and said if you don't fit, you don't get cash, putting at risk hundreds of projects vital to local communities. They have done this so they can secondly, "top slice" cash to pay for things they have not budgets for.
This has seriously annoyed many folk. As Convener of the Craigentinny/Duddingston Neighbourhood Partnership, their centralising, top down attitude means I and my colleagues are going to have make decisions about our area to their agenda including cutting groups we want to see in our area. I am seriously annoyed about this as are many local activists. I sent a letter on behalf of the Craigentinny/Duddingston Partnership to the leadership which I print in full below. This is not the end of the fight!.
Dear Councillor Dawe
I write on behalf of the Craigentinny/Duddingston Neighbourhood Partnership following a recent meeting regarding the distribution criteria for the Fairer Scotland Fund.
The partnership wishes to object in the strongest terms to the following issues:
1 We have no objection to the Government setting eight objectives for the fund, which is the prerogative of Government. We believe, however, that the decision by the Edinburgh Partnership to select three of the eight objectives set by the Government with minimal consultation, no explanations as to why they have been chosen and no reference to Neighbourhood Partnerships who will have to implement the consequences of the decision, are unacceptable.
We believe this flies in the face of the first principles of Neighbourhood Partnerships which are to devolve decision-making to the lowest level to allow direct democratic accountability within each community, the needs of each community are different. Their history is different and their strengths are different. By imposing three priorities on every neighbourhood you remove the very flexibility that Neighbourhood Partnerships were designed to bring. We would urge you not to restrict Neighbourhood Partnerships to three objectives set centrally. If the view is that there needs to be prioritisation, then let each neighbourhood prioritise. That is what happened in our area with the Regeneration Outcome Agreements, under the old CRF funding it would mean the objective chosen would be much more likely to meet the need of the local plan and better reflect the circumstances in each neighbourhood.
2 The apparent decision by the implementation group that only those organisations involved in service delivery can be funded, and organisations that support others to deliver objectives cannot be funded, is madness. In communities like ours where the capacity is low, where there are few organisation with paid staff and where the expenditure on capacity building has been not to create bureaucracy but in real posts with real returns, to remove this support would seriously hamper the ability of those in the front line from doing the job they are funded to do. By providing this support, many organisations will be able to deliver the objectives of the Fairer Scotland Fund but do so with very few and at times no paid staff. Through this support, we were able to provide training expertise, organisational support, advice on funding, child protection, governance and a great deal else which mean projects didn’t have to continually reinvent the wheel. We believe it is a mistake to remove this method of support without being able to offer clear and concrete methods of replacing it to the same levels.
3 The £10k threshold excludes organisations who are able to deliver a great deal for much less, often because they run entirely through volunteers or are projects that receive a great deal of support in kind. We believe this threshold is not a suitable benchmark to use when identifying if an organisation is able to deliver real and lasting outcomes.
We would appreciate you bringing these issues to the attention of the Edinburgh Partnership at your meetings on 6 and 20 June.
Councillor Ewan Aitken
Convener, Craigentinny/Duddingston Neighbourhood Partnership
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