It is a deal to shape a brighter future. A blueprint which, through working with the Scottish Government, will deliver a better and fairer Falkirk district with opportunity for all.
In the great and varied scheme of things elected members and staff employed by Falkirk Council must do, the Community Planning Partnership and Single Outcome Agreement has been given priority status.
Its outcomes and actions will determine policy to achieve progress in every target area between now and 2015.
The ambitious way ahead just published is detailed in 82 pages and zones in on the challenges to provide boosts to the local economy, employment, education, poverty and welfare reform, crime and the needs and expectations of the elderly in the years ahead.
Despite the continued squeeze on town hall budgets, this is a bold ‘work in progress’ which will identify more key issues to address as it moves forward and underline the importance of making best use of resources, building partnership working and improving performance at every level.
And while the Single Outcome Agreement will be structured around national themes, what is best for Falkirk district and the people of Falkirk district will remain the goal.
Falkirk’s draft SOA was delivered to the Scottish Government on time at the end of June. Since then it has been scrutinised by an independent panel, earned praise and been signed off by the Minister for Local Government and Planning.
In a report to the council, Chief Executive Mary Pitcaithly said: “Our new SOA marks a step change on our level of aspiration for our area and the greater emphasis we are giving to prevention and early intervention based approaches.
“It sees the Falkirk Community Planning Partnership facing many critical challenges and competing demands at a time when our collective resources will continue to diminish. The aspirations of local people for our area remain ambitious and expressed in our vision for the future to ensure the legacy of our past and the potential of our future are protected, our area is at the centre of Scotland, our future has investment in jobs, learning, homes and leisure for all and the ‘place to be’ in the third Millennium.”
Challenges ahead include:
nA growing population including children and young people;
nDifferent levels of population change across the council area;
nSupporting people into work;
nUnderstanding the increase in debt within our communities;
nProviding sufficient houses of the right size, to meet need and demand, that are affordable for all including the elderly and disabled.
Mrs Pitcaithly: “To achieve the outcomes we want for our area cannot happen overnight. As a partnership we must improve the way we work if we are to overcome our challenges and deliver the outcomes our citizens and communities want and expect. Key priorties and improvements for the partnership have been identified. We need to better understand how all resources but importantly all public sector resources are deployed in support of our local outcomes. Economic recovery, growth and employment are all inter-dependent. The impact one has on the other must be recognised.”