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Strategy & Delivery

Strategy & Delivery

How to develop strategic local approaches?

Child Poverty in Scotland can be tackled in a range of ways. Your area may find it beneficial to adopt a specific child poverty strategy or embed child poverty into a wider strategic framework. The outcomes approach allows the Scottish Government to work with those who have local responsibility to establish Scotland's goals but gives them the freedom to determine exactly the method that they use to reach them. There will be pros and cons to any approach. Local areas should chose the method which works best for their local priorities and structures

Whatever approach is taken in your area it is worth setting out clear visions and principles for what you wish to achieve at the start of the process.

Vision

A vision statement that clearly states the central purpose of tackling child poverty activity. Vision statements aim to be inspirational and express goals succinctly. It is expected that local areas will develop statements which reflect their local context and priorities. These visions may include:

  • Our vision is for a XXX where child poverty is eradicated.
  • Our vision is for a XXX where poverty does not have a negative impact on children's welfare, wellbeing or life chances
  • Our vision is for a XXX where children thrive and realise their full potential despite differences in socio economic background.

Behind the vision statement will sit your key principles, outcomes, priorities, objectives and action plans. As the vision statement is "unpacked", it is important to demonstrate that tackling the barriers to exiting child poverty is shown to be an important part of what is you want to achieve for the area.

Principles

The principles that underpin local child poverty activity should be made clear. Local strategies could adopt the same principles that underpin the Scottish Strategy, which are:

  • focusing on early intervention and prevention
  • taking an assets based approach
  • adopting a child-centred approach

Alternatively local areas may wish to develop their own principles or they may find it useful to combine / borrow ones that are already set out in complementary local strategies or policies such as children and early years or inequalities strategies.

Every local area in Scotland will have different needs, requirements and priorities surrounding child poverty. They will also have to operate within different organisational structures and work cultures. Below you will find some examples of approaches taken in three different Local Authority areas across Scotland.

Delivery

From strategy to implementation

The aim of national poverty policies and strategies is to make a positive change to lives of those experiencing poverty. This can only happen if we make can make the move effectively from policy to practice and from strategy to delivery and implementation. This can be challenging for all involved. There may be training and awareness raising that needs to be considered as well as an appraisal of local structures.

Research has been conducted into the progress of Local Authorities in tackling child poverty in England. The main reasons given for progress in implementation relate to:

  • the strength of local partnerships
  • political 'buy-in'.
  • well-developed Child Poverty Needs Assessments and timetables for implementation
  • the leadership qualities of the child poverty lead
  • the availability of funding.

Source - Local authority progress in tackling child poverty

You can view a comprehensive toolkit produced by the IDEA on how to conduct a Child Poverty Needs Assessment by clicking on this link

The Children's Workforce Development Workforce have developed a  training module to help practitioners understand, recognise and respond to Child Poverty. They have also produced a very useful  learner resource  which can be downloaded to accompany the training.

Skills

Leadership & Language

 

Leadership

Strong, strategic leadership with high level commitement, is very important to the delivery of a successful strategic approach to tackling child poverty. Leadership make take the form of local champions such as the senior management team of Local Authorities, or elected members.

Effective leadership implies guardianship rather than ownership. Poverty is a complex issue that can be impacted by a variety of services or organisations. It is important that a culture of collective ownership is established and maintained. Child poverty activity and policy should not 'belong' or be the responsibility of any single service, organisation or individual.

Good leaders may demonstrate some of the following skills, abilities or characteristics…

  • Clearly committed to the eradication of child poverty and communicates vision and outcomes with clarity and purpose.
  • Visible, builds relationships across boundaries, engages realistically with all stakeholders as an effective partner
  • Engages with staff, building confidence, creating effective teams that make people feel valued, empowered and aware of their contribution to fight child poverty.
  • Manages change effectively by understanding partners needs, involving others in decisions, managing risk and resources while maintaining trust and credibility.
  • Understands the decision-making processes which effect change in their local area and identify key analysis and evidence needs.
  • Deals with conflict constructively, is able to take tough and unpopular decisions when appropriate and challenge basic assumptions
  • Ensures systems and processes are in place to capture and protect information and knowledge for the benefit of the organisation as a whole

Language

Partners may be harder to engage with if you are not 'speaking their language'. Specific terms or phrases which may be common for one partner may not be recognised by others from different sectors. This could lead to areas or organisations feeling that they don't have much to contribute when in reality they are striving to reach the same goal.

During initial conversations with partners it is important to establish a common understanding of key themes, goals and what you are trying to achieve. It is also worthwhile encouraging the use of language that is both effective and respectful to those experiencing poverty and helps to challenge any negative misconceptions.

 

Reflective Questions - Strategy

Reflective Questions: Strategy

Do you recognise the need to both maximise household resources and increase children's wellbeing and life chances in the fight to tackle child poverty? What can you do to address any gaps in current service provision?

How does your organisation or community planning partnership increase the numbers of parents in good quality employment? Does it…

  • promote employment opportunities?
  • promote employability?
  • enable skills development?
  • support access to childcare?
  • help make work pay? or
  • help close the gender gap?

How does your organisation or community planning partnership increase household incomes? Does it…

  • enable financial inclusion?
  • enable financial capability?
  • support a reduction in pressure on household budgets?, or
  • seek to understand the impact of Welfare Reforms?

How does your organisation or community planning partnership improve life in the early years? Does it…

  • ensure children grow up in nurturing stable households, with good parenting and home learning environments?
  • ensure that children have more positive outcomes in the early years?
  • reduce health inequalities among children and families? or
  • ensure children and young people receive opportunities that they need to succeed, regardless of their socio-economic background?

How does your organisation or community planning partnership ensure more young people are in positive and sustained destinations? Does it…

  • Provide information, advice and guidance?
  • Work with local further and higher education centres?
  • Promote 'on the job' learning or apprenticeships?
  • Promote volunteering opportunties? or
  • Provide opportunities for young people to identify and develop their skills and capacity?

How does your organisation or community planning partnership ensure families receive the support their need, when they need it, especially the most vulnerable? Does it…

  • ensure that children's services have the knowledge, skills and support they require?
  • ensure that children's workforce is involved in continuous development? or
  • have a focus on vulnerable children and families?

 

Reflective Questions - Delivery

Reflective Questions: Delivery

Partnerships seeking to make the move from strategy to implementation may find it useful to consider the following questions:

  • How are the strategic priorities set out in the child poverty strategy or action plan "cascaded" to local areas? What existing communication channels do you use? Are they fit for purpose?
  • What structures do you have in place to help drive child poverty focused working within local areas? How can you maximise these? Could they be better connected or streamlined?
  • How important is it to have "local champions" for child poverty? Is there anyone that springs to mind? What process would you use to select and approach them?
  • What are the main barriers to effectively tackling child poverty within your local area? Do different barriers affect different areas? How can these barriers be addressed?
  • Is there any potential for tension between a Community Planning Partnership wide and a locality approach? If so what can you do to reduce it?
  • What is the scope for local interpretation and prioritisation of child poverty outcome or priorities?
  • How is the partnership going to work with local areas to demonstrate that they are making a real difference for children experiencing poverty - particularly in the most deprived communities? What can you do to make people working at a local level feel part of the 'bigger picture'?
  • How can local areas influence strategic debates on child poverty and is this important?