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The potential of community anchor organisations to engage with, lead and challenge public service reform in Scotland

What Works Scotland

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 from 09:30 to 15:00 (BST)

The potential of community anchor organisations to...

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Share The potential of community anchor organisations to engage with, lead and challenge public service reform in Scotland

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The potential of community anchor organisations to engage with, lead and challenge public service public reform in Scotland


This seminar will share our learnings about community anchors and their role in public service reform. It will offer space for dialogue, discussion and deliberation on community anchors, the community sector and their relationship to public service reform.


Join What Works Scotland for this Learning Day and Shared Inquiry into the roles of community anchor organisations in relation to public service reform and the Christie Commission’s agenda of ‘partnership, participation, prevention, performance’. We will work together to explore their potential given the opportunities emerging through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014, and now the Scottish Government’s Local Governance Review.


Community anchors are:

  • community-led/-controlled organisations committed for the long-term to their community.
  • multi-purpose/holistic providing a range of options for action – local economic development, service provision, community-building, leadership and advocacy;
  • responsive and develop in ways relevant to their local context.


Community anchors have been recognised in Scottish policy-making over the last decade – the Community Empowerment Action Plan 2009 and the Regeneration Policy 2011. Key community sector bodies have advocated for and lead the development of this ‘model’ in actual practice – see the Advisory Group members below. Community development trusts and community-controlled housing associations are most likely best placed to pursue this approach, but other local community organisations can draw and build from it too.


This Learning Day will build from a new What Works Scotland research report to be published in May: Community Anchors: community ownership, community-led place-making, and public service reform researched by Dr James Henderson, Dr Philip Revell and Dr Oliver Escobar, who will facilitate the Day


The report illustrates six community anchor exemplars from across Scotland (urban, rural, remote) and the complexity of the work they undertake … so a starting point for our discussions on the Day. Some of the community anchor exemplars and some of the Advisory Group members (Development Trust AssociationGlasgow & West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, Scottish Community Alliance  and Scottish Government Regeneration Team) will act as resources for our discussions too.


The wider ‘experience in the room’ will also shape our dialogue and deliberation. We are seeking diverse participants from across sectors to support rich discussions and raise the key issues and challenges – in particular, for partnership-working between the community sector and public services. Key questions for consideration are likely to include:

  • What do we mean by a community anchor and what do they look like in practice?
  • In what ways can community anchors actively engage and make a difference to the Christie Commission’s agenda?
  • How can public services, the state and policy-makers actively support the development of local community anchor organisations – and build more effective partnerships?
  • What more are we learning through our discussions about local democracy, community resilience, and the prevention of inequalities?


Our discussions on the day will be written-up as a short event report and shared with the Scottish Government’s Local Governance Review.


Who should attend

The day will be very relevant to everyone interested in community-led approaches to public service reform, including:

  • community organisations, the community sector and wider third sector;
  • public sector, public services, community planning partnerships;
  • policymakers and researchers.


More details

Date: Tuesday, 15 May 2018. 9.30am-3pm

Location: Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh


We have some funds to support smaller community organisations to participate in the Day (e.g. travel, childcare) – please contact Dr. James Henderson to discuss: 

Do you have questions about The potential of community anchor organisations to engage with, lead and challenge public service reform in Scotland? Contact What Works Scotland

When & Where

Grassmarket Community Project
86 Candlemaker Row
EH1 2QA Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 from 09:30 to 15:00 (BST)

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What Works Scotland

What Works Scotland is an initiative to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform. We are working with specific Community Planning Partnerships involved in the design and delivery of public services to:

  • learn what is and what isn’t working in their local area
  • encourage collaborative learning with a range of local authority, business, public sector and community partners
  • better understand what effective policy interventions and effective services look like
  • promote the use of evidence in planning and service delivery
  • help organisations get the skills and knowledge they need to use and interpret evidence
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