An Introduction to Community Planning

Scottish Government defines Community Planning as ‘the process by which councils and other public bodies work together, with local communities, businesses and voluntary groups, to plan and deliver better services and improve the lives of people who live in Scotland’.

Community Planning has been the central vehicle for partnership work across the public, private and third sectors since the introduction of the Local Government in Scotland Act (2003), although formally in existence in a looser form before this. The importance and value of Community Planning has grown markedly since then and is now at its most important and valuable for a variety of reasons, not least of all the national drive for public sector efficiencies.

The local Community Planning Partnership, North Lanarkshire Partnership, was established in 1997 and, particularly in recent years, has seen the third sector participate and contribute strongly. North Lanarkshire Voluntary Sector Partnership Group, a Sub-Group of North Lanarkshire Partnership, recognises a wealth of potential for the third sector to contribute and be involved even more effectively and cohesively as the Community Planning agenda develops over the coming period.

North Lanarkshire Partnership consists of the following partners:

•    North Lanarkshire Council
•    NHS Lanarkshire
•    Police Scotland
•    Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
•    Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
•    Third Sector
•    New College Lanarkshire
•    Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
•    Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)
•    Scottish Enterprise

North Lanarkshire Partnership is currently operating to a five-year Community Plan / Single Outcome Agreement 2013-18. This is the key strategy document which outlines collective partnership objectives for achieving outcomes in communities. The Community Plan focuses on the five objectives of community safety, developing the partnership, health and wellbeing, lifelong learning and regeneration.

In addition to developing volunteering, assisting third sector organisations and nurturing social enterprise, a key function of Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire is to support and advance the local third sector’s participation in and contribution to Community Planning. Within this objective, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire effectively operates as an essential conduit between Community Planning Partners and the wider third sector. In this respect, partner agencies have benefited by gaining a form of ‘single door access’ to the third sector through the vehicle of the Third Sector Interface, whilst individuals and organisations in the third sector have furthered their knowledge and understanding of local Community Planning as a result of bespoke support provided by Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire.

For further information on the third sector’s role within Community Planning, please contact Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire on 01236 748011 or e-mail