'Social Inclusion: Key Activities and Good Practice of Scottish Councils' identifies a range of key activities and examples of good practice and, says COSLA's social inclusion spokesperson Corrie McChord, 'reflects the wide ranging contribution of councils - both direct and indirect - in reducing social exclusion and increasing social inclusion.'
Cllr McChord says that Scottish councils are making very significant inroads in the fight against social exclusion: 'It is clear from the study that much of what is done to combat social exclusion is part of a council's core service delivery function, but there are also many initiatives and activities specifically targeted at disadvantaged groups.
'I have been involved in local government for many years and I continue to be greatly heartened by the range and quality of services provided by councils which combine to make a crucial contribution towards the aim of tackling social exclusion.'
£2.4bn is spent each year by Scottish councils on services
specifically aimed at reducing some aspect of social exclusion.
'Despite that, large numbers of people continue to suffer and only an
integrated approach at national and local levels will make the Scottish Social Inclusion Strategy effective in tackling social exclusion.'
And he stresses: 'It is essential that, at local level, development and implementation of social inclusion strategies are firmly set within a framework of community planning and that we continue to build on the considerable amount of partnership work which has been established over many years.'
The key elements of the partnership process are identified as:
- development of a shared vision among community planning partners in addressing social inclusion issues
- integration of actions for addressing social inclusion into
development and planning processes across all services
- promotion of social inclusion as a core component of actions for increasing the involvement of communities - both communities of place and communities of interest - in both day-to-day service provision and in development work
'Social Inclusion: Key Activities and Good Practice of Scottish Councils' follows the five life-cycle headings used in the Scottish executive's publication 'Social Justice: a Scotland where everyone matters' to list key activities.
These include providing support for children and their families in their early years, supporting young people in the transition to adult life, meeting housing and related needs of disadvantaged groups and helping older people to enjoy an active, safe and secure life the community.