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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

CSPP Manifesto for the 2011 SP Elections

We are delighted to publish our manifesto for the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections. During this Parliamentary term we have conducted our own conversation with over 1,000 stakeholders and members of the public - who we like to call the "unusual suspects".

Rigorous research projects and extensive engagement at dialogue dinners, Party Conferences, CSPP events, as well as an active social media network base, have provided a series of practical solutions that already have a cross section of support across the Scottish body politic.

This document outlines our policy recommendations for the next parliamentary term at Holyrood, whilst also picking up on themes for the 2012 council elections. Our vision for future Scottish public policy is accompanied by steps detailing how to deliver that change. These steps are practical – at best budget neutral, at worst cost effective – within the context of the precarious economic situation currently paralysing Scotland’s decision makers.

Our policy prescriptions will shape the discussion we hope to stimulate in the run up to the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections; an inclusive conversation that targets not just our members or the political classes but all of civic Scotland who have become increasingly detached from, and disappointed in, the old style confrontational politics that has strangulated political discourse and choked policy discussion in our parliament.

Click here to read the manifesto and let us know what you think.

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Please note that the link on P12 (point 5) is broken. You can access information on this initiative here below.

Inverness City Vision 2010 (see docs to the right hand side as well)

Consideration of report from Councillors

Inverness City Partnership

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Idea 20: Make planning training compulsory for members of Planning Authorities

Make planning training compulsory for members of Planning Authorities (as it is for Licensing).

Although most Planning Authorities have made moves to ensure that the majority of their members have received an amount of initial training, legislative backing for mandatory training, as is the case for Licensing Boards, would ensure that all members who take part in the determination of a planning application will have at least a fundamental understanding of:

1. The planning system.
2. Relevant planning policy
3. The impact their decisions have in relation to the wider aims of their local authority and/or community.

Idea 19: Condition schools funding on raising educational attainment

Condition schools funding on raising educational attainment.

All public funding should have an element of performance-related payment in order to ensure that each and every public pound is being spent to maximum effect. With schools, it would be relatively straight-forward to devise assessment criteria which determine how good a school is doing to meet agreed objectives, whether that is academic performance, community involvement or sporting/artistic achievement.

Such a performance management system would encourage a results-driven culture (not simply exam results) that ensures that young people coming through the school system are being given the tools required to take their next steps in the world.

Idea 18: Introduce Congestion Charging to fund the modernisation of the Glasgow Subway

Introduce Congestion Charging for Glasgow to fund the modernisation & extension of the Subway network.

All major cities need large amounts of capital to fund transport infrastructure. Glasgow is no different. Introducing a congestion charge would generate enough capital over a period of time to fund the modernisation of the Subway, and the introduction of an Enterprise Zone along the length of its route would enable further cash to be collected from the uplift value that it creates.

These, and other mechanisms to increase the income into the Subway, must be considered if it is not to be an embarrassment come the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Idea 17: Move to zero base budgeting across the board

Move to zero base budgeting across the board

All public authorities must move to zero-based budgeting, questioning the spend of every single public pound. Only by undertaking this fundamental review of public services can we hope to ensure budgetary control and therefore sustainable service design and delivery.

The use of annualised Base budgets has had its day. It is time that the Elected Members of local government and Board members of appointed government bodies moved from concerning themselves with single figure percentage of the budget to the budget as a whole.

Idea 16: Designate Glasgow subway a special planning area...

Designate Glasgow subway a special planning area and modernise it via congestion charging

We have learned very little from the New Towns experience except how to build, sponsor and decorate roundabouts. The Enterprise Zones which the New Towns were could be used to drive investment and economic growth if applied to new situations in the current climate, such as along transport corridors/routes/networks.

The Strathclyde Subway (it is used by people from greater Glasgow and beyond) is a case in point. By designating the ground-level (and the sub-surface) of the route, delineated perhaps 25metres either side of the central rail plumb line, as an Enterprise Zone with a range of investment incentives, it would be possible to create conditions for development and capital value uplift that could make a major contribution to the modernisation of the existing Subway.

Idea 15: Create a single Scottish NHS with local area de-centralisation on LA boundaries

Create a single Scottish NHS with local area de-centralisation on Local Authority boundaries.

The debate over the single Scottish Police Force can equally be applied to other members of the Public Service Family, whether it is health or education. This is not really a structural issue but a battle for power and the long awaited debate which surrounds the relationship between central and local government. In the case of policing there are three intertwined strands at the heart of the issue:

1 Where does operational control and democratic accountability lie? Is it in the centre or down at divisional level.
2 What functions are best provided at the national (or indeed regional) level?
3 At which level is democratic accountability likely to be best achieved?

The same core issues lie at the heart of the NHS. Discuss.