Agenda and minutes

Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership - Management Committee - Friday, 12 January 2024 10:00 am

Venue: Council Chambers, Kilmory and online Via MS Teams

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies (Chair)


Pippa welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologies were noted as above. Pippa thanked Joe for his commitment to, and excellent work, with the Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and the Management Committee (CPP MC), advising that he has stepped down as Chair due to conflicting work commitments. Pippa will take on the role of Chair until new formal governance arrangements are in place.


ACTION – CPP Team to write to the outgoing Chair to express thanks for being a great advocate and leader of the Community Planning Partnership. 


Approval of Last Minutes (Chair) pdf icon PDF 476 KB


The minutes of the September meeting were accepted.




Review of Actions (Rona Gold) pdf icon PDF 179 KB


Rona noted that many of the previous actions were now completed. Pippa noted that Joe had met with the Dunoon Ferry Action Group and that he will meet with both Pippa and Rachel McGruer to ensure that action is completed.



Matters Arising From Area Community Planning Groups (Stuart McLean) pdf icon PDF 163 KB


Stuart gave an overview of his report and highlighted that there had been successful meetings across all areas in October and November 2023. Colin Buchanan was appointed as Vice Chair of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area

Community Planning Group (ACPG) and both Bute and Cowal and Helensburgh and Lomond ACPGs will seek to appoint new Chairs at the meetings scheduled in February 2024. Stuart noted that the terms of reference and membership of all groups will be considered at the next round of meetings.


Following concerns around road safety within Sandbank, the Councils Roads and Infrastructure Services will submit a report to a future Bute and Cowal ACPG for consideration of the introduction of possible safety measures in that area. Luing Community Council shared a report on flooding risk on the Island at the Oban, Lorn and the Isles ACPG. They are in the process of setting up advice and assistance on this but lack the technical knowledge to navigate ownership of different parts of the island. Cllr Kain offered to facilitate contact between Roads and Infrastructure and the Community Council to discuss what support can be given to them.


Pippa thanked Stuart for his report that highlights how the updates from Partners, Community Councils, Development Trusts and Community Groups are closely linked to the Argyll and Bute Outcomes Improvement Plan (ABOIP) key priority areas of Housing, Transport Infrastructure and Community Wellbeing. 


Cllr Currie was concerned that none of the ACPG Chairs or Vice Chairs were able to attend the meeting. Pippa noted that the late rearrangement of the meeting date may have contributed to that, and should not be taken as lack of commitment. Rona added that the ACPG Chairs and Vice Chairs had been heavily involved in participation over the past week in the Education Scotland Audit of Community Learning and Development, and gave a full and positive view of their contributions in those roles as a voice for their community members.



Council Area Plans (Stuart Green) pdf icon PDF 499 KB


Stuart gave a presentation on the work he is leading on the development of 8 area plans across Argyll and Bute to identify local service prioritisation and investment opportunities in our communities. The 8 geographical areas covered by the plans match the localities initially identified by the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and closely align with areas identified in the Council’s Housing Needs Demand Assessment.  There is also a strategic fit with a wide range of socio-economic data. In addition, the 8 areas aggregate up into the 4 key administrative Council areas and disaggregate down into Community Council areas and Wards. 


To date, the limited funding opportunities that arise from the UK or Scottish Governments are usually announced with short bidding notice periods, yet the amount of work required to develop a suitable business case is high. This can be challenging for communities to respond to especially when funding needs to be spent in the same financial year. The area plans look to establish a clear record of the capital project visions and aspirations within communities, and what already exists or is in the pipeline. By getting ahead of the curve in this, the hope is to be able to take greater advantage of, and capitalise on, future available funding and investment opportunities. The plans seek to promote projects that align with the Councils strategic plans, however the inclusion of a project within a plan is not a guarantee of funding. The plans will also align with existing work in the area in relation to Community Wealth Building opportunities.


Stuart advised that there will be direct community engagement and consultation moving forward with Community Councils and Development Trusts, but mindful of consultation fatigue, will also look to take advantage of existing data from previous consultations and community plans and complete a gap analysis first. £200,000 has been allocated from the Councils Priorities Investment Fund for this work and recruitment for project team members will commence in January 2024. The projected timeline of approval of all 8 area plans is January to September 2025.


Pippa thanked Stuart for his presentation and welcomed the intention to gather information from various plans into one place to ensure a cohesive approach and prevent conflicts of effort when funding becomes available. Takki noted from recent attendance at Community Council meetings where there had been a presentation on significant community benefits from an energy provider, that communities had expressed concern at a lack of “shovel ready” projects to spend upcoming funding on. He agreed that it would be really beneficial to bring together information held in various stakeholder and Council plans. Takki also noted that community members hold the information on local need, but do not necessarily have access to the information to back up their plans / aspirations. Takki was happy to support the work on the plans and commit TSI resources towards this work. Andy noted the significant parallels with Climate Change work that he is doing and he is really keen to support the project wherever possible e.g. mapping tools and benefit from the intelligence gathering.


ACTION – Stuart Green to follow up with Andy MacPherson on local plans and project co-operation.


Pippa reiterated that the intention of this work is not to take over projects from the community, but to support them by holding relevant information in one place and support feasibility of projects. Cllr Currie was keen to see the work on this progress at pace, and Stuart advised that he would be taking every available opportunity to accelerate the project, where possible.


Morag added that is it vital to ensure community expectations are managed in this process saying that realistically £20 million in funding may only equate to expenditure on 3 capital projects, and asked how engagement with business partners will take place. Stuart responded that Ishabel Bremner, Economic Development Manager, will be managing engagement with businesses.


ACTION – Stuart Green to report on progress on local plans to future CPP Management Committee meetings.




Cross Cutting Themes


Climate Change (Andy MacPherson) pdf icon PDF 90 KB


Pippa opened by paying tribute to the work that Stan has done on the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) and his tenacity on moving this work forward, noting that Rona has taken over as interim Chair of the CCWG.


ACTION - CPP Team to write to Stan to formally thank him for his work on Climate Change.


ACTION – Partners to register interest to in taking on the role of CCWG Chair.


Andy started in post as the Climate Change Project Manager on 30 October 2023, employed by ACT on behalf of the CPP. He thanked CPP partners for their funding contributions towards the climate change work and advised that the project was in good financial health currently, however there was a remaining funding gap at the end of project year 2 (from August 2025) of approximately £13,500. Andy has been meeting with key contacts within the CPP and the wider climate change community and has looked at the climate strategies of similar localities such as Highland and Aberdeenshire, and other public body reports, to identify parallels in that work with the specific geographical challenges in Argyll and Bute. He has also been working with the Sustainable Scotland Network and believes there is an opportunity to collaborate with them. Feedback to Andy from communities is that they want to focus on climate change action with short, snappy plans to support that. He is also keen to capture climate change plans in alignment with the ABOIP priorities of housing, transport infrastructure and community wellbeing and advised those themes emerged in stakeholder meetings.


Pippa is keen for Andy to engage with the Council Roads teams, that responded to the recent issues relating to bad weather in the area, so that they can work together to look at the effects of climate change, understand existing issues and identify any adaptations that are needed to mitigate the issues caused by severe weather. Andy said he would be delighted to do that and has already been working with the Council’s Climate Change Officer.


Morag asked Andy about the Climate Change Officer vacancies that are on ACT’s website, and how they interact with his role. Andy advised the recruitment of the 4 Climate Change Officers are specifically for grass roots engagement, activity, mitigation and campaigning, not at a strategic level, and he will be working closely with them to ensure there is no duplication of outcomes. Three officers have already been recruited. Takki noted there is a micro grant fund open currently to stimulate local climate activity, however, he also noted a slight decrease to the government funding being provided for Climate Action Hubs. 


ACTION – Takki to circulate the up to date briefing on what Climate Change Networks do and how that ties to Andy’s work.


ACTION – Takki to circulate information on the climate micro grant funding for partners to share widely.


Rona thought this work was great and asked if there was still a need for a Climate Change Working Group within the CPP, how that would look in terms of providing support to climate work, preventing duplication of efforts, and ensuring the group is fit for purpose. Takki felt the work of the ACT Climate Officers and the CCWG were quite separate, but agreed that should be kept under review.



Financial Inclusion (Fergus Walker) pdf icon PDF 199 KB


Fergus Walker provided a verbal update to his paper at the meeting. This included:


-          Scottish Welfare Fund. From 1 April to 30 November 2023, £428,416 has been spent against the 2023/24 funding allocation of £458,284 and there is projected overspend of £200,000 for the year.

-          Discretionary Housing Payment. Up to 30 November 2023, £803,862 has been spent from the initial tranche 1 funding of £869k. Fergus is responding to a Scottish Government consultation on potential changes to this fund.

-          Flexible Food Fund. Up to 31 October, 2279 households facing food and fuel insecurity in Argyll and Bute had benefitted from this fund with an average client gain of £1416 per household. £204k has been granted from Shared Prosperity Funding that will allow the project to continue to 2025.

-          School Clothing Project. Work continues to introduce this to Mid-Argyll and the Isles. There is now a live website for this project and Fergus is looking to work with Community Development to help identify and fill gaps in project coverage. The reuse of clothing also ties into climate goals. 

-          Scotland Loves Local cards / Support for Islands. From £141,000 funding provided by the Scottish Government, 1300 cards have been issued to islanders, each with a value of £85. Grant payments of £4000 have been paid to island based foodbanks. Cllr Currie noted there is a large amount of funding that remain unspent on these cards. Fergus advised that the funds on un-activated cards have been returned to the Council and have been used to supplement the second round of island funding for these cards.


Fergus advised the project working in partnership with Poverty Alliance will start this year. A project outline will be shared in due course, but in summary, they are looking to setup a Citizens Panel of people living in Argyll and Bute, on our mainland and islands, that have lived experience of poverty. The project will seek to learn from them what it is like, where the pressures are and what could be developed to help alleviate rural poverty. There is also a project in place that is working with Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau on Council Tax collection which aims to protect vulnerable people from the Debt Recovery process, recovering Council Tax in a way that is affordable for the individual and without the threat of additional legal costs and involvement of debt collection agencies.


Pippa thanked Fergus for the ongoing good work bringing additional money to people in need. Rona advised Fergus that in 2020 the CPP ran consultations with those who experienced severe financial difficulties from the impacts of the pandemic. The information shared in the consultation was harrowing and included input from Men’s groups, Youth groups and those supporting someone with a disability. Rona thought it would be important for Fergus to engage with those groups as part of the Poverty Alliance project as there would be shared experience from that which is still relevant now and this was agreed by Fergus.


ACTION – Rona to share contact information for groups involved in post-pandemic financial hardship groups to Fergus Walker.


Digital Communities (Ross Hamilton / Paul Ashworth) pdf icon PDF 109 KB


Ross is the Regulatory Affairs Manager, Telecoms, Consumer and Post Policy at OFCOM Scotland. He gave a presentation on the work of the OFCOM Digital Inclusion team. In December, OFCOM published their annual report “Connected Nations” and there is an interactive dashboard on their website with information on fixed and mobile connectivity at a Local Authority level. Full fibre broadband is now available to 50% of properties in Scotland (1.4M households) with an annual 8% increase of gigabit capable connectivity and an increase in 5G mobile connectivity. 84% of households in Scotland are covered by at least one of the four main network providers for 4G mobile connectivity. In Argyll and Bute, superfast broadband has seen a 4% increase, meaning over 1400 more properties can now access superfast broadband compared to 2022. Harder to reach areas in Scotland are seeing an increase in the uptake of satellite technology to deliver connectivity and the affordability of those services is beginning to improve. There has also been a good increase of 2% to the level of 4G geographic coverage in the area.


Ross is aware of concerns around the resilience of the technology network in more rural parts of Scotland and OFCOM are consulting with providers to provide greater clarity on their need to comply with security duties, such as battery power back ups, and the infrastructure that is required to ensure connectivity remains in the event of power cuts. OFCOM have no control over the switch off of PSTN, but OFCOM can work with providers to ensure that support is provided to support that transition for vulnerable people. OFCOM are looking at what more can be done at network infrastructure level and are looking to start a dialogue and discussion about what sort of aspects should be considered as part of this (e.g. how long is back up needed for?, what are the critical services that locals need to access to in a power cut?, etc), and Ross welcomed input from the CPP on this. The feedback will be included in future OFCOM guidance to providers.


ACTION – CPP members to feed back to Ross on what power backup Mobile Network Operators can and should provide.


Ross advised there has been a significant increase in the number of social tariff take- ups, however he felt there was still a lack of awareness that these tariffs existed. It was highlighted that TalkTalk are the only major operator not providing social tariffs. OFCOM are also taking action on mobile and broadband in-contract price rises and any increase must be noted clearly on sign up in a pounds and pence amount. Consultation on this ends in February 2024 with the hope it will be in place for any potential contract rises in 2025.


Pippa thanked Ross for his presentation and noted that connectivity issues also affect the availability of cheaper smart meter utilities tariffs for Argyll and Bute residents, as smart meters are not able to connect to suppliers. She was glad to see improvements in coverage across the area but felt the progress was still very slow due to the cost and complexity of installing infrastructure to cover existing gaps.


ACTION – Partners are encouraged to share information from OFCOM of social tariff providers across their networks.


Pippa asked how the CPP can highlight these issues more strongly to OFCOM and anyone else who can exert influence on this. Ross responded that service providers had met with the UK Government prior to Christmas and agreed further voluntary commitments to support the transition to VOIP for telecoms, agreeing that there are challenges in the roll-out of technologies to support that and also in providing adequate broadband coverage. He hoped that the Scottish Government would continue to find innovative solutions to those problems for fixed and mobile connectivity. He added that OFCOM are engaging as much as they can to support and advise on the development of delivery programs. He recognised the increased cost of living for those living in rural areas but the market is generally functioning well in terms of competition and affordable options for customers. Ross noted that OFCOM leadership are very attuned to these issues too and that climate change was included for the first time in the December Connected Nations report.


ACTION – CPP to write to OFCOM and OFGEM highlighting concerns around connectivity and cost of living pressures in Argyll and Bute for telecoms, broadband and smart metered utilities provision.


Takki reiterated concerns around network resilience and the link between broadband access, telephone lines and power. A recent 16 hour power cut in his home area led to over 800 households all trying to utilise the existing poor 4G framework at the same time which highlighted the lack of resilience in the system. He added that providers really need to be planning for the rise in extreme adverse weather conditions and associated impacts on networks. Takki also expressed concern that the criteria for social tariffs may not include those who are working but still in poverty and in the reduction of postal services across Argyll and Bute. Ross advised that OFCOM regulate Royal Mail, who have had significant challenges, and they have levied a £5.5 million fine on them for failing to meet delivery targets.


Andy was keen to continue discussions with Ross off table as Argyll and Bute has a lot of isolated communities who will be heavily dependent on resilience but are likely to have the least resilient infrastructure.


ACTION – Andy and Ross to meet offline to discuss how telecoms providers assess risk for vulnerability versus likelihood of outages.


Paul then provided an update on the HMIE Community Learning and Development (CLD) Inspection which took place on 8th and 9th January. The auditors provided a positive response to the inspection and found that the self evaluation was accurate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5c


ABOIP (Rona Gold / John McLuckie)


Rona gave a presentation on the Argyll and Bute Outcomes Improvement Plan (ABOIP) for 2024 – 2034. The ABOIP is being created as a short vision document highlighting the 3 outcomes (transport infrastructure, housing and community wellbeing) with a longer document providing more detail, and an FAQ document covering points such as ‘what is community planning?’ and what is an Outcomes Improvement Plan?’. These will be published on the CPP website at the end of January 2024. The presentation contained high level statements of intent, in order of priority, under each of the outcomes. Rona reminded the meeting that seven areas were identified and included as part of the extensive consultation (the additional priorities were financial inclusion, climate change, digital inclusion and diverse economy / skilled workforce) but the three in focus here came out as the priorities. This does not mean the other areas are not important to the CPP, however it is important to be clear that the CPP can’t do everything and there is evidence to back the focus on the main three priority outcome areas.


Rona advised that the CPP need to communicate the outcomes, agree the actions, milestones and performance measures for each of the three outcomes, and agree a governance structure to monitor the delivery of the ABOIP, and that will be addressed over the coming months, prior to agreement of the final ABOIP at the June CPP MC, although she did note that competing pressures may delay this. Rona said that more detail on the work already underway will be provided at a future CPP MC meeting. Rona was happy to speak with any partners further on the plans if needed.


Pippa thanked Rona and John for the work already undertaken on this.


ACTION – Partners are asked to provide comments on the ABOIP Outcomes Improvement Plan documents by 29 January 2024.



Community Wealth Building (Takki Sulaiman / Charlie Murphy) pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:


CLES were commissioned by the CPP MC to take forward work on a strategy and action plan for Community Wealth Building (CWB) and the initial report and recommendations were circulated as part of the agenda pack. Takki said the work set out to identify best practice, some useful case studies of how CWB may be taken forward in Argyll and Bute, a strategy with recommendations, an action plan and two business cases.  Takki asked for the CPP MC to agree, in principle, the recommendations that have been made in the initial report before the final version is agreed by the Steering Group and returns to the next CPP MC for approval. Takki suggested that consideration is also given to the Steering Group undertaking more preparatory work for the next CPP MC including whether the Steering Group has a wider remit, to discuss how can some of the recommendations be taken forward and how CWB should be structured.


Charlie and Neil then gave a presentation on CWB in Argyll and Bute. Neil introduced himself and emphasised that CWB is a practical economic development approach to delivery on community economic aspirations and community ownership, not community development. He noted the CWB qualities that are already in place in Argyll and Bute including anchor institutions, strong procurement and existing community ownership and that these are important in terms of the report recommendations and how to scale up on the good things already happening. The draft recommendations have been driven by what they have found as a result of interviews, workshops, scoping and experience of what has worked well in other areas and he is keen to hear the feedback from the CPP MC on these.


Charlie noted that they have had discussions with CPP partners and area groups to identify what CWB meant to them and how they see it being scaled up and developed. He noted that the recommendations may take time to implement and some may need legislative support from the Scottish Government. He then provided a reminder on the 5 main pillars of CWB (Spending, Workforce, Inclusive Ownership, Finance and Land and Property).


Recommendations include :


- Establishing a CPP Procurement Working Group, bring together lead procurement officers and the VCSE sector to update on challenge and opportunities,

- Building collective market intelligence, working with SMEs and focussed towards the social economy,

- Publishing a procurement pipeline so CPP partners can make procurement more accessible and clarify bid requirements,

- CPP Meet the Buyer events, creating an opportunity where local suppliers can engage and get feedback and navigate the challenges of public sector procurement,

- Develop a procurement framework, for business support organisations to pull resources and explore good practice.


Pippa noted that all partners need to commit to working on this, although she understands that there are some limitations regarding tie-ins to national procurement frameworks and was keen to understand from CLES how that has been overcome in other areas. Takki advised there is a current review of the Procurement Reform Act 2014 and partners may want to take the opportunity to make submissions to the Economic Committee before it looks at this on the 28 February 2024, although he also thought it was worth exploring what can be done within existing legislative and regulatory frameworks. Neil thought that the Scottish Government would be interested to hear how existing policy and legislation is hampering progress on CWB.


Andy noted that in terms of developing a Climate Change Strategy in the area, procurement managers are typically under pressure to deliver value in the short term and the organisational procurement footprint is often much larger than local operations. He felt setting up a procurement working group would provide a joint approach and prevent the need to discuss this with individual partners. 


Samantha felt there was so much potential for CWB to provide a transformational shift in the power dynamic and support to communities.  She also thought the 5 pillars of CWB should underpin the plans and strategies of CPP partners to ensure systemic change and has potential to improve social determinants of health.



-   Developing pathways into work programs, how can partners come together to create good employment opportunities,

-   Explore adaptations to a value based recruitment approach, organisations that can support local people, and young people, into employment,

-   Partners mapping job families, compare and simplify the approach to recruitment and creation of applicant pools,

-   Argyll and Bute Employment Charters, partnering with local business representative and organisations, acknowledging that many may want to improve their recruitment practices.



-   Identifying ownership opportunities in growth sectors, having the social economy, social enterprises, community interest companies at the heart of sector growth,

-   Employee ownership, connections between in-place experts and ecosystem support for new start social economy enterprises and the support of institutional partners,

-   Opportunity to create links between procurement and social and inclusive ownership within the economy.


Andy highlighted the housing priority in the ABOIP as a great example of connected activity as it links to climate change (mitigation and adaptation), skills shortages in the region and potential pathways for business development and career prospects. Pippa agreed that business opportunities was a key part of the CWB context.



-   Mapping alternative financial infrastructure, bring together and understand the range of alternative financial mechanisms that already exist and can be accessed,

-   Mapping community benefits, how to pull community benefits together for greater impact,

-   Develop a local finance initiative proposal, developing an outline business case for a local community owned finance institution to connect with government funding streams to fund CWB.



-   Affordable workplace strategy, grow local community ownership in sectors and identify available business premises and future demand,

-   Vacant and derelict land, not limited to typical workspaces but also social community sites, ensure communities have access to properties and land without overburdening them,

-   Realisation of the public estate, partners  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Partner Winter Updates (Chair)


Pippa advised this item may have been more relevant had the meeting gone ahead as planned in December, however, partners can send any updates they want to share to the CPP team.


ACTION – Partners can send any winter updates to by 31st January.



AOCB (Chair)


Update on Argyll and Bute Climate Action Network (Takki Sulaiman)


Pippa noted that Takki had covered this as part of an earlier item.



National Community Planning Review and next steps (Rona Gold)


Pippa said the CPP MC will be keeping an eye on this work and contributing to that where relevant.



DONM and Close (Chair)


The next meeting will be held on 10 April 2024. The remaining dates for the rest of 2024 are being finalised.


Pippa thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions at the meeting today.





For those attending in person, there will be time available after the meeting for networking.