Area Community Planning – the Rural South West Area Forum
Community Planning is about public organisations such as Stirling Council, Central Scotland Police, Central Scotland Fire and Rescue, NHS Forth Valley and Scottish Enterprise working with citizens to improve public services in their area. It’s also about combining resources and skills to tackle major issues such as health, transport, employment, housing, education, and community safety.
The Rural South West Area Community Planning Forum covers the Community Council areas of Arnprior, Balfron, Buchanan, Buchlyvie, Carron Valley & District, Croftamie, Drymen, Fintry, Gargunnock, Killearn, Kippen, and Strathblane. This forum is open to representatives from community organisations, voluntary and statutory agencies.
Representatives from the 12 communities in the Rural South West area of Stirling have been working closely with the support team from Stirling Council to identify the community planning priorities for their area. Information has been collated from local plans and consultative meetings with representatives from the communities of the south west.
Common issues have been identified over the last 4 years and action plans drawn up to tackle them. The process of formulating and reviewing the plans has involved representatives from community organisations and a range of agencies, however most of the representatives attending the area meetings are from community councils.
The priority issues for the Rural South West are:
Roads Maintenance and Road Safety
Policing, Crime & Community Wardens
Economic Development/Planning/ Business Opportunity and Employment
Sub-groups have been set up to take the action plans forward. There has been a good response from the communities and willingness from agencies to work with communities to enhance service delivery. The support team facilitates these meetings. Sub-groups have encouraged wider community involvement, including representatives from local businesses.
Progress on the Action Plans
Community Planning is an ongoing, long term process and the Forum reviews the action plans, priorities and the community planning process every 18 months or so, using the Standards for Community Engagement, which set out best practice guidance for engagement between communities and public agencies. The plans were reviewed at the September 2009 meeting and are currently have been being updated and a biennial report produced.The Forum has also agreed a Constitution and Standing Orders.
Meetings take place quarterly and a short progress report is fed back to the forum at each meeting, which highlights achievements over the previous period. Along with this, Central Scotland Police provide a PACT report (Police & Communities Together) for the meeting, which summarises how the Force has responded to the main policing concerns identified by communities.
The forum has both set up and taken part in joint meetings with the other area planning forums in Stirling, both urban and rural. These have tackled issues such as road maintenance and safety, ambulance cover, health services, flooding and the new Forth Valley College planned for Stirling. Key officers from the relevant agencies and elected members attend these meetings, providing a great opportunity for community representatives to discuss their hopes and concerns directly with the decision-makers.
The forum held a series of joint forum meetings and successfully influenced the roads budget, which was increased by 75%. The forum was also involved in influencing the redirection of the Castleview Park & Ride service to incorporate a stop at Stirling Royal Infirmary.
The forum has also developed information leaflets including one on public transport providers within the rural south west communities.
Single Outcome Agreement (SOA)
This is an agreement between Stirling Community Planning Partnership and the Scottish Government, which establishes the most important issues for Stirling and agrees what actions the partners will take on these issues. The Statutory Community Planning Partners are: Stirling Council, Central Scotland Police, Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Forth Valley, Scottish Enterprise and Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership. Other strategic agencies are also involved in the Partnership and these are: Stirling University, Forth Valley College, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park; other agencies, such as SEPA also have an input to the SOA.
The SOA represents a way of working, which holds partners responsible for the way they work and for the results of that work. It commits partners to working with communities to agree priority needs, working together to meet those needs, sharing resources, including budgets and being held to account by communities for the results of their work. The SOA has identified the following big issues for Stirling: the economy, opportunities for all, learning, health and wellbeing, community safety and the environment. The Action Plans produced by the Rural South West Area Forum will feed into the relevant parts of the SOA.
Balfron Children’s Community Partnership (BCCP)
BCCP incorporates all of the communities, which feed into Balfron High School. It brings together services and agencies to develop work on common themes. The partnership has representatives from Stirling Council (education, libraries, community and youth services), NHS Forth Valley, Active Stirling, and Central Scotland Police. BCCP have developed an action plan, which targets services to those most in need; encouraging joint working, sharing information as well as identifying gaps in services.
BCCP aims to improve the links between the Children Community Partnership and Area Community Planning. BCCP makes links, feeds their priorities into the South West Area Community Planning process and aims to develop appropriate joint working. An example of linkage is the collation of the views of public transport users. BCCP are reviewing appropriate mechanisms to feed into Area Community Planning and Stirling Community Partnership Thematic Groups.
Rural Development Worker
Tel No: 01786 432320
Dates of Meetings
Forum meetings are held in Balfron Campus, Roman Road, Balfron, G63 0PW, from 7.00pm till 9.00pm. Dates for meeting Monday 20th February; Monday 21st May; Monday 17th and Monday 19th November.