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Business Bulletin 1999-2011

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Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

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SUBMISSION FROM GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL

Introduction

Glasgow City Council welcomes the Finance Committee’s cross cutting expenditure review on deprivation.  However, we are surprised that whilst the Committee describe their review as “spending on deprivation”, the Committee then refocus this in terms of funding directed at areas of multiple deprivation.  The questions posed by the Committee do not focus on deprivation in general: they focus solely on area deprivation.  Out of the entire block grant to local government, there is only one service that uses an area deprivation indicator in the allocation mechanism.  As the block grant is the main source of funding from central to local government it is surprising that the review of deprivation has been so narrowly defined.  It is essential that the Parliament consider widening their review to deprivation in general.  Only then will deprivation funding and its relevance to core services be addressed.  The review still has great significance for Glasgow as the highest concentrations of multiple deprivation in Scotland are found here.  One third of the city falls within the 5% most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland, accounting for 7 out of 10 of the country’s poorest areas.  Some 54% of Glasgow’s neighbourhoods are defined as being in the most deprived 15% of neighbourhoods nationally; the comparable statistics for other local authorities with relatively high concentrations are: Inverclyde (33%); Dundee (28%), West Dunbartonshire (27%) and North Lanarkshire (25%).  Deprivation is extensive in the city, and as a result it is important that we can be confident that resources dedicated to tackling deprivation are targeted effectively.  For this reason, we welcome the Finance Committee’s invitation to comment and the opportunity to draw attention to the benefits and the questions raised by spending deprivation. 

Question 1.  How much funding targeted at area deprivation, for what specific purpose(s), allocated by what method(s), do you receive from the Scottish Executive?

The Council does not receive significant levels of mainstream resources that are targeted at area deprivation.  The Community Regeneration Funds allocated by Communities Scotland go to the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and total:

2005/6             
£39,866,000
2006/7            £41,433,000
2007/8              £43,350,000

Evidently, the Council has some say, as a partner, in the use of these resources.  The Community Regeneration Fund (CRF) has been redirected from the previous Social Inclusion Funds that totalled approximately £27 million and Better Neighbourhood Services Fund (BNSF) that totalled £12 million per annum between 2001-04 and then 10.2 million in 2004-05.  Social Inclusion Funds were primarily geographically targeted although 3 themed Social Inclusion Partnerships exist in the city.  Better Neighbourhood Services Fund was allocated against a theme rather than targeted at specific areas.  The CRF must be invested in the worst 15% datazones identified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The Council acts as grant recipient for these resources and also pays out to fund activity in advance, claiming back expenditure from Communities Scotland retrospectively every 3 months.

There are very few examples of funds allocated to the Council by the Scottish Executive that are based on deprivation indices.  One example is the Supporting People grant, 25% of which is distributed on deprivation indices.  Glasgow received £71.9 million in 2005-6 and this will rise to £79 million by 2007-8.  The SIMD is also used to allocate anti-social behaviour funding.  There were elements of the funding that were allocated on a bid basis which led to the Council being allocated funds at just below the level that would be expected if the funds had been allocated on a population basis. However the bulk of the resources were allocated with a formula that took account of need.  As a result in 2004/5 Glasgow was allocated around 20.2% of the Scotland-wide budget and 19.1% in 2005/6.  The total resources for restorative justice, local action fund, parenting orders, under 16s on ASBOs and Youth Justice in 2004/5 was £2.02 million from a total Scotland wide allocation of £10 million.  In 2005/6, for the same funding streams, Glasgow received £2.3 million from a total Scotland wide allocation of £12 million.

There are many examples of funding streams (particularly allocated to the Social Work service) that provide services to individuals and client groups that could be defined as “targeted at deprivation”.  Whilst they are not specifically targeted are areas of deprivation, the nature of the service will tend to draw those resources into areas of deprivation.  Examples of this type of funding include spend on homelessness and addiction services.  Other examples include funding for free school meals and clothing grants within the Education Service.

Question 2.  Have you any comments on the central allocation mechanisms, e.g. are there variations by Department?

There are variations in approach across departments of the Scottish Executive as you will note from the response to Question 1 and some consistency would certainly be useful.  Some Executive departments seem more committed to tackling the effects and causes of deprivation more than others, and ensuring that allocation mechanisms include a deprivation element to them.  For example, new Supporting Peoples money included substantial “deprivation” element to it.  However, individual Councils and Cosla have had extensive discussions with the Executive over the need to get further recognition of deprivation and the additional need there is for services because of this.  Yet GAE fails to take adequate account of deprivation factors.

We note that at the time of writing that Cosla is considering options for the funding of 53,000 additional teachers to be employed by August 2007.  Amongst the options proposed for funding is for the Scottish Executive to distribute 80% of the funding on primary and secondary GAE indicators, and to target 20% using SIMD.  This proposal goes some way towards meeting Glasgow City Council’s desire to seeing deprivation included in allocation mechanisms. 

Question 3.  What internal arrangements do you have in place for allocating funding to address multiple deprivation?

In some instances, the nature of the service delivered will mean that resources tend to be drawn into areas of multiple deprivation.  The obvious example of this is the Social Work service, which will deliver a service to meets its statutory obligations and the natural effect is for resources to be drawn disproportionately to areas of need.  Other examples are the allocation of free school meals and clothing grants.

In other instances the Council allocates resources to themes that prioritise tackling social exclusion and poverty across the city, but again the result is that resources are targeted towards areas of deprivation.   An example of this approach is the Social Inclusion Budget (£12 million) which provides grant assistance to voluntary sector projects tackling social exclusion.  The funds are allocated against themes rather than to areas of multiple deprivation but the net result is that the funds are overwhelmingly spent in those areas. 

Finally, the Council’s annual budget process is geared towards securing efficiencies that are then invested in Council priorities.  The priorities, which are generally around social inclusion/social renewal, have led to significant investment in mainly Education and Social Work services.  The investment is not targeted at specific areas but should pull resources into areas of most need.

Question 4.  The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation can be used to target funds to deprived areas.  Do you use this index and if so, do you find it a useful tool?  If not, what do you use instead and why?

We do not use the SIMD as a tool to target funds at deprived areas, although we do recognise that SIMD can be a useful tool.  It can identify those areas which fall within the worst 15% and a more detailed analysis of the six domains which make up the index can deliver a picture of the more focussed interventions that are required to tackle deprivation.  The shortcomings of the Index are:

  • The currency of the data and the time lag between collection, analysis and publication of the Index

  • SIMD produces a snapshot of an area and a ranking of its data zones by deprivation status.  It is not a resource allocation formula that tells us how much more resource an area should get on the basis of its relative deprivation.

  • It is not clear how the SIMD should be used to allocate resources.  SIMD is used to allocate CRF.  Glasgow receives approximately 40% of the national fund when allocations are based on 15% worst datazones.  However, if the 5% worst datazones were used, Glasgow would receive 70% of the resources.  The SIMD in itself does not help us to understand the level of allocation required to tackle multiple deprivation.

In response to this question, it is also worth exploring the issue of an area based response to multiple deprivation as opposed to a themed approach that targets deprivation across the city and in particular communities of interest.  For many local authority areas where deprivation can be isolated to particular areas, the SIMD will be of real value in identifying where resources need to be targeted.  In such circumstances, area based funding can be an appropriate method of tackling deprivation.  However, in a city such as Glasgow where deprivation is extensive, the approach can be divisive and limited.  It is worth noting that Glasgow City Council used Better Neighbourhood Services Fund monies, not as the Executive originally wanted targeted at areas, but for city-wide initiatives generally aimed at children and young people.  This has led to significant programmes of action to tackle the causes and consequences of deprivation.  They include:

  • The Schools Vocational Training programme, which has now been adopted by other local authorities in the Clyde Valley area, funded through the Cities Growth Fund.

  • The free fruit programme and free breakfasts in primary schools.  The Executive subsequently encouraged local authorities across Scotland to replicate by making funding available.

  • Free swimming for children and young people, which has subsequently been copied by local authorities across the UK.

BNSF was used to support programmes of action linked to mainstream services.  The Social Inclusion Partnership funds were targeted at areas of deprivation, and resulted in between 4-500 individual projects that are separately operated, monitored and evaluated.  There is a debate to be had about the relative effectiveness in terms of cost and outcomes of the two approaches.

We are also concerned that an area based approach will omit smaller pockets of deprivation within less deprived areas which then do not receive the resources and attention of larger areas.  It can lead to lines being drawn on maps that can appear arbitrary to local people in which people in neighbouring areas receive different levels of investment.  This is not to argue against area based regeneration but to draw attention to difficulties that it raises and to draw attention to the need for smarter ways of funding initiatives to tackle deprivation.

Question 5.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of partnership funding and working in tackling area deprivation?  What are the most effective funding models?

The benefits of partnership working are unquestionable.  The collective efforts and resources of a number of agencies working towards shared objectives must add greater value than those agencies working in isolation. It must lead to better ways of working and better use of resources.  The Council fully understands that it cannot tackle multiple deprivation on its own and that the vicious circle that starts with poverty and feeds poor educational outcomes, ill health and limited opportunities requires joint approaches and the combined efforts of public, private and voluntary sector partners. 

We can point to very close working relationships between partner agencies in Glasgow which has had positive outcomes for service delivery.  The Addictions Partnership is supported by comprehensive joint working arrangements between the Social Work Service and Health Services is one example.  There are many instances of co-location between the two agencies which has transformed addiction services as a result.

Partnership working that genuinely involves local people can also assist in obtaining wider local support for initiatives.  Local support is an important factor in making sure that these initiatives are successful. Clearly, the partnership approach to allocating CRF resources is therefore a positive one. 

There are disadvantages to partnership working.  The CRF is part of a cluttered landscape, populated by too many partnership arrangements allocating ring fenced resources that require detailed strategies, outcome agreements and reporting arrangements. The Council is currently gathering information on strategic partnerships and the funds associated with them.  The effect of so many partnerships is to create an industry around relatively small amounts of money.  Frequently, partnerships are established because the Executive specifies that ring fenced funds should be allocated in partnership with other agencies.  There is a need to allow Community Planning Partnerships to determine the range of partnerships that are appropriate to their area and for the Executive to rethink its approach to monitoring and reporting of ring fenced funding streams.

Finally, in examining the advantages and disadvantages of tackling deprivation through partnership working, it is worth drawing attention to the position in Castlemilk.  Targeted regeneration funding is frequently allocated on a short term basis and short term funding is inadequate to address multiple deprivation which requires long term strategies and long term investment.  Castlemilk was designated as a priority area in 1988 and took part in the New Life for Urban Scotland Initiative.  This was an innovative Scottish Office initiative designed to assess the effectiveness of a partnership approach to tackling poverty and deprivation.  Castlemilk received funding for 10 years.  In 1998 funding under the NLUS initiative ceased.  Ministers agreed the continuing need for intervention in Castlemilk and funding was allocated through the Glasgow Alliance.  This funding was time limited and was to be tapered, reducing by 25% each financial year.  The budget for 2005/6 is £534,450.  The physical improvements to Castlemilk are clearly visible, and yet 17 years after originally being designated an NLUS area, the SIMD indicates that Castlemilk has 18 datazones and they are all in the worst 10% in Scotland.  

Question 6.  What are the key financial barriers to tackling area deprivation, and what action have you taken successfully to overcome them?

We would argue that the Council has insufficient funds at its disposal to tackle deprivation in Glasgow.  In general, the GAE allocations do not take sufficient account of how deprivation affects the requirement for services.  For example, in Glasgow the average life expectancy is the lowest in Scotland.  A lot of Older People Services use indicators based on population and age banding i.e. 75 years plus.  There is still a need for these services in Glasgow, however the population requires them at a younger age (a consequence of Glasgow’s poor health record, which is in turn a consequence of deprivation) and the GAE indicators do not allow for this fully when allocating funding. 

Resources for addictions services are a further example of the need for GAE to take account of the impact of deprivation.  Addictions are a major consequence and cause of deprivation in Glasgow.  Statistics indicate that there are between 10,700 and 11,800 serious problematic drug users in Glasgow.  This represents approximately 3.3% of the adult (15-54) population, the highest prevalence for any local authority area in Glasgow.  The Council estimates that by 2007, it will be spending approximately £40 million on addictions services themselves and on areas of service provision dealing with the consequences of addictions such as homelessness and looked after children.  Because of the high cost of addictions, the Council and the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership are giving priority to tackling drug and alcohol abuse.  However, Glasgow is allocated 12% of the Scottish total for addiction services (which is based on the general population) to deal with 25% of the addiction problem in Scotland. 

The specific examples of Older Peoples Services and Addictions Services are examples of a more general problem with the block grant.  In total around 1% of the block grant is distributed on the basis of deprivation factors.  This is wholly insignificant for local authorities trying to tackle the problems that arise in areas of multiple deprivation.  The block grant is supposed to recognise additional need for services across the different local authority areas as well as additional costs of providing services.  Area deprivation leads to high levels of additional need and can mean that the cost of provision is also higher.  There needs to be much more recognition of this in allocation mechanism for block grant.  If the Scottish Executive is serious about “Closing the Gap” and meeting social justice milestones then it has to be done in terms of ensuring more of block grant goes to areas of deprivation to redress inequalities that currently exist.

Finally, local authorities finances in general are subject to too much ring fencing.  This results in a lack of flexibility that in turn limits the capacity of the authority to target funds to tackle deprivation.  Specific grants for Police, Civil Protection, Supported Employment, Gaelic, Mental Health, Social Work Training and National Priorities Action Fund total £118,668,000 in 2005/6.  Question 5, referred to ring fenced funds associated with partnerships.  These include Changing Children’s Services Fund (£10,438,000), Childcare Strategy Funds (£6,713,900) and Adult Literacy and Numeracy (£2,265,000).  These funds are designated specifically to tackle issues related to deprivation, but the fact that yet more resources are designated for very clearly defined purposes limits the capacity of the authority to respond to deprivation in an innovative or flexible way. 

Question 7.  How do you ensure that people most affected can effectively be involved in funding decisions?

There are a number of ways that people most affected can effectively be involved in funding decisions.  They can be involved through consultation processes to determine strategic and local priorities which then drive funding allocations.  (This level of consultation might involve a variety of approaches such as using market research techniques, citizen’s panels, focus groups, citizens’ juries or public meetings.)  They can be actively involved in partnerships, representing their communities and they can play a role in assessing funding allocations and giving a view.  Finally, they can be actively involved in developing projects and delivering services.  It is important that these different approaches are recognised and that community involvement adopts a “horses for courses” approach that chooses the best mechanisms for eliciting community views or involvement so that involvement is maximised.  SIPs have tended to emphasise community representation on SIP boards as a key means of securing community involvement.  However, that approach to community involvement can mean community activists and may not engage certain sectors of the community such as young people, ethnic minorities or those who suffer the consequences of deprivation most.  The following ingredients are essential to effective community involvement and a mature relationship between public agencies and local communities:

  • Decision makers take the views of communities seriously and wherever possible, take action in response to those views.

  • Local communities understand that there will sometimes be legal, financial or practical constraints that mean that public agencies are unable to respond to the views that they articulate.

  • There is adequate support and capacity building to enable local people to participate in community involvement activities.

  • Community involvement mechanisms should be “fit for purpose” and public agencies use the most effective and relevant tool for gathering views or involving local people.

  • The approach to community involvement should also recognise that there is rarely such a thing as a single community, but a community with a wide variety of backgrounds and needs. 

Finally, on the issue of community involvement, we would like to draw attention to a requirement of the Executive which is often associated with ring fenced funding streams.  The Executive frequently places a responsibility upon the recipients of funding to consult on the use of these resources.  Public agencies with a requirement to demonstrate Best Value consult with their citizens as part and parcel of their mainstream activity.  A requirement to consult over specific funding streams can lead to duplication and consultation overload.

Other Comments and Conclusion

In this response we have drawn attention to both the advantages and disadvantages of targeted, localised funding and made the point that GAE does not pay sufficient attention to the costs to councils of deprivation.  These two factors operating in tandem create a particular difficulty for local authorities attempting to tackle deprivation.  In Glasgow, the economy is thriving as a result of major investments in the city’s physical infrastructure including the East End Regeneration Route, M74 extension and the developments along the River Clyde.  The Council recognises that deprivation will not be tackled through macro-economic approaches resulting in a trickle down effect within the city.  We are fully committed to a programme of social renewal that focuses upon improving the opportunities and quality of life for people.  There remains a financial gap in the needs of the city.  We have been able to secure funds for physical regeneration projects, and localised funding is available through the CRF for targeted initiatives in some areas of the city.  The element that is missing is resources that will support mainstream council services.  Good quality mainstream services can go a long way towards alleviating the consequences of deprivation and the need to target resources.  In drawing these comments to a conclusion we would like to underline the need for funding of services that recognises the additional costs of deprivation to Council services and can support the provision of good mainstream services.