There’s been a definite – and very welcome - spike in the number of
inquiries I’ve received from local child poverty leads over the last
few weeks. Although your work to tackle child poverty locally is
relentless, it seems that many leads are gearing up to draft their
second Local Child Poverty Action Reports.
Though the Scottish
Government and Poverty
and Inequality Commission have recently highlighted their hopes
and expectations for year 2 LCPARs, I thought it might be useful to
remind everyone of the information and resources that are on offer
from the Improvement Service (IS) and other national organisations
such as NHS Health Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Scottish
Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU), Child Poverty Action
Group in Scotland (CPAG) and the Poverty Alliance to support local
action to tackle child poverty.
This is not an exhaustive list and we would really welcome your
thoughts and feedback on what would be most useful in future.
The IS website
A good starting point for those new to the child poverty agenda is the
IS website. The website include links to key documents such as
the relevant legislation, guidance, the Scottish Government’s child
poverty data dashboard, the Commission’s report and a range of other tools.
There’s also a handy list of published Local Child Poverty Action
Reports here – if the link to yours is missing, send me on the details
and I’ll ensure it’s included (email@example.com).
The Knowledge Hub (KHub)
The Local Child Poverty Action Report Group on the Knowledge Hub has
235 members and is a great place to make contact with others working
to tackle child poverty at local and national level. It provides a
place to ask
questions and share good practice, access
research on tackling child poverty and view an up to take contact
list of local leads. A recent blog
published on the KHub also highlights the initiatives that local child
poverty leads across Scotland think are working in their area to
tackle child poverty.
I’ll be revamping the KHub over the coming months so look out for a
relaunch and publication of a ‘walkthrough’ film that will help you
get the most out of it. It would be great if you could share your
thoughts about the kind of information you’d like to see on the KHub
in future via
this forum. Please just let me know if you have any technical
difficulties – using the KHub is a learning curve for everyone!
Feedback on local child poverty action reports
Over the past few months I’ve provided ‘critical friend’ feedback on
eighteen year one local child poverty action reports. This is usually
done via a face to face meeting or over the phone and supported by
some written notes highlighting areas for discussion and interesting
practice from across Scotland. Although I’m off on maternity leave
from the middle of March, I’ll do my best to provide feedback and
respond to any requests received in the next few weeks.
When I’m drafting any feedback, I draw on the Feedback
Framework which the national partners developed about a year ago.
The framework draws on the legislation and guidance to draw out what
the key characteristics of a strong LCPAR might be. Although it seems
a bit bureaucratic and dry at first, it can be an effective tool for
highlighting strengths and areas for improvement in local action to
tackle child poverty.
National partners are working with several areas across Scotland to
provide more ‘hands on support’ with action to tackle child poverty.
- Input to local planning meetings
- Support to facilitate meetings, workshops and self-assessments
Our capacity is limited but if you think you would benefit from this
kind of support please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
In facilitating local or regional sessions, we often draw upon the Outcome
Based Planning Tool for Child Poverty. This will be further
developed by NHS Health Scotland this year but it provides a great
starting point for discussions around LCPAR development. Essentially
the tool allows you to map current action local against the three key
drivers of poverty (income from employment, income from social
security and the cost of living), prompting discussions about what the
gaps and priorities for future action might be – as well as
opportunities for services and partners to work together towards
shared objectives. If you would like to discuss the tool or how to use
it please contact Kerry McKenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Sharing Good Practice
Probably the most important aspect of the national partners’ role is
supporting the sharing and implementation of good practice to tackle
child poverty. Ongoing and upcoming opportunities include:
The Transport Action Learning Set: John McKendrick from SPIRU
is leading on this action learning set which has met twice to date.
It brings together those working locally on child poverty and
transport policy to identify shared challenges and opportunities.
Learning will be shared as it emerges. You
can learn more here.
Employment, Employability and Child Poverty: The Improvement
Service have hosted a roundtable meeting and a networking event to
share good practice on employment, employability and childcare.
Timed to coincide with the launch of the Parental Employability
Support Fund, the events provided an opportunity to share existing
practice and opportunities to do more to ensure the benefits of
employability service and economic development more widely reach
families with children. You can read
a briefing paper (including examples of approaches form across
Scotland here). A report of the event – including key action and
recommendations - will be available shortly.
Housing, planning and child poverty: The Improvement Service
will be hosting a roundtable meeting to kick off discussion between
local and national child poverty, housing and planning leads in
Livingston on 13th February (10am – 12:30pm). The objective of the
meeting is to identify areas for actions relating to housing and
planning that might impact on levels of child poverty. Please let me
know if you’d like to attend. You can read a blog written by ALACHO
Policy Manager Tony Cain on the subject here.
There are likely to be more thematic events and briefings in
the coming year, with popular suggestions including public bodies as
anchor institutions, procurement and whole systems approaches to
tackling child poverty. Let us know what you need.
Cost barriers of school: NHS Health Scotland supports the
Facing up to Child Poverty in Schools Practice Network, a forum for
local authority and partners representatives to collaborate and
share learning on tackling cost barriers of school. Please get in
touch with Julie Arnot (email@example.com) for more
information, including details of local representatives.
Financial inclusion: NHS Health Scotland is hosting a meeting
on 25 March for NHS colleagues who have responsibility for
developing or enhancing the development of financial inclusion
pathways between midwifery & health visiting services and
money/welfare rights services. For more information, contact Julie
Webinars: The Improvement Service has hosted several webinars
(online presentations) in the last year to highlight interesting
practice from across Scotland. These can still be viewed online and
- An overview
of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act and the local reporting
duty (intended for elected members but a good place to get an
overview of the nature of the duty)
- Child Poverty and the Scottish
- Child Poverty and the delivery of
devolved benefits – including Best Start Grant
Poverty and targeted advice
and information – (including Edinburgh’s
- Child Poverty, the Fairer
Scotland Duty and Equality Impact Assessments
The JRF’s Emma Congreve and Jim McCormick will be hosting a
webinar for the Improvement Service on Tuesday 4th February. It will
consider use of evidence on poverty and child poverty and the role
of local poverty Commissions. To learn more and sign up, click
Good Practice Directory: Back in 2018, NHS Health Scotland
complied examples of action to tackle child poverty from across
Scotland. This is still available
online and makes for interesting reading. SPIRU will now be
taking on the mantle of developing the directory further over the
coming year so watch this space. SPIRU are keen to hear about
examples of effective practice, and also what format would be most
useful for the Directory; so please contact them about either of
these issues via J.McKendrick@gcu.ac.uk or Stephen.Sinclair@gcu.ac.uk
- The National Partners have also done a lot of work to draw out
the practice described in year 1 LCPARs to get an insight of what
was happening in relation to certain policy themes (such as income
maximisation, employability, transport, childcare etc). If there’s
an area of policy you’d like to learn more about – in terms of the
approach being taken in other areas – please let us know.
Networking Opportunities: We’re really keen to provide
opportunities for those working on child poverty locally to build
relationship and their share experiences and good practice. In the
coming year we will:
- Continue to facilitate the informal online Remote, Rural, and
Island Child Poverty Network. The network meets remotely every few
months to share challenges and achievement. The next meeting is yet
to be scheduled but is likely to be in early March. If you’re
interested in joining just let me know.
- Host another ‘summit’ on Local Action to Tackle Child Poverty in
autumn 2020. The theme and content of the event is yet to be decided
so please let us know what would be of most use to you.
Information and Data
Many local areas are wrestling with how they can best understand
local need and establish that they are making progress towards
tackling child poverty.Work underway that might be of interest include:
The Local Child Poverty Dashboard
Created by Scottish Government analysts this
online resource draws together a selection of indicators
available at local authority level. These indicators do not measure
child poverty directly in the same way as the indicators used for the
national targets, but they can be used to understand the local context
and how that might be changing. The indicators chosen also provide
some evidence on drivers of child poverty, along with information on
the groups of people that are more at risk of experiencing child
The Child Poverty Information Working Group
SPIRU and the Scottish Government have established this group which
will meet for the first time on Tuesday 4th February. The remit of
the group is to collaborate on identifying effective approaches to
using existing evidence and information resources for
needs-assessment, planning, monitoring and evaluation of local
programmes to reduce child poverty. We’ll be reporting back – but if
you’d like to be involved then get in touch with Elizabeth Fraser. (Elizabeth.Fraser@gov.scot
) Elizabeth is also keen to hear from anyone who has used the dashboard.
Inverclyde Data Group
NHS Health Scotland and NHS NSS Local Intelligence Support Team are
testing out a public health needs assessment approach with colleagues
in Inverclyde. The purpose is to explore how local data might be
accessed and utilised to plan, develop and deliver local actions to
tackle child poverty. Learning from this initiative will be shared in
due course. For more information, contact Megan Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Briefing papers on child poverty for the priority groups
NHS Health Scotland has been working with local and national partners
to produce briefing papers on the priority groups affected by child
poverty. Each one aims to describe the priority groups, the
challenges they face and what might be done to reduce child poverty
for these families. The first briefing, on child
poverty in families with three or more children,was published in
January 2020. A second briefing on child poverty in lone parent
families, will be published in Spring 2020, while a third, on child
poverty in families where someone has a disability, will be published
soon after that. If you would like more information, please get in
touch with Martin (email@example.com ).
Supporting Involvement of those with Lived Experience
Through its Get Heard Scotland initiative, the Poverty Alliance
has some capacity to support several local areas in their efforts to
meaningfully engage people with lived experience of poverty in the
LCPAR process. For more information on the support available contact
Influencing and Advocacy
Through all our contact with local leads via events, surveys and
informal chats we’re in a good position to help identify some of the
difficulties that come up again and again across the country. From
data sharing difficulties to funding arrangements, national partners
can sometimes help draw attention to the difficulties that create
barriers for you at local level nationally – whether that’s via COSLA,
the Scottish Government, SOLACE or others. So please don’t hesitate to
get in touch to let us know what’s bothering you!
It’s been a real pleasure working with you all and I hope to speak to
most of you before I head off on mat leave in mid-March. If I don’t,
have a great year and keep up the incredible work.