SURF provides written and verbal evidence to relevant policy consultations conducted by the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA), and Committees of the Scottish Parliament.
SURF members are regularly contacted for their views to inform the development of a SURF response on a particular consultation. Some of our response papers are available for download below.
2017: City Region Deals
The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee invited evidence on the development and implementation of the City Region Deals regeneration and infrastructure model in Scotland. Our response highlighted the positive aspects and concerns raised by the SURF network with respect to the planning and delivery of City Region Deal investments.
2017: Future of the Scottish Planning System
The Scottish Government consulted on the content of a new Planning Bill on the back of an independent 2016 review into Scotland’s spatial planning system. SURF’s in-depth response highlighted a number of exemplars and covered community & spatial planning alignment, Local Place Plans, and the need for wider and more inclusive community engagement.
2017: Devolved Management of Crown Estate Assets
One outcome of the 2016 Scotland Act was a UK Government commitment to transfer responsibilities for the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland – including rural estates, fishing & mineral rights – and much of the seabed and coastline – from HM Treasury to the Scottish Government. Ahead of the scheduled transfer on 1 April 2017, the Scottish Government’s Marine Scotland Directorate consulted on the long term management of these assets and scope for further devolution.
2017: Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement
As a follow-up to the 2016 Land Reform (Scotland) Act, the Scottish Government consulted on a draft statement of guiding principles concerning the development of public policy on the nature and character of land rights and responsibilities in Scotland.
2017: Glasgow Job Centre Closure Plans
The UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions consulted in early 2017 on plans to close job centres in Glasgow’s Bridgeton, Castlemilk and Maryhill. SURF highlighted the deprivation levels in the three communities and requested that the plans be reconsidered in the context of community, poverty, business and service user impacts.
2016: Enterprise & Skills Review
The Scottish Government carried out an ‘end to end’ review of its four enterprise and skills agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, and the Scottish Funding Council) in mid-2016. SURF’s response to a call for evidence identified geographic and social/economic imbalances in the regeneration functions held by the two skills agencies.
2016: Supporter Involvement in Scottish Football
In September 2015, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on whether new rights for Scottish football supporters should be embedded into legislation on the back of the 2015 Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, including the rights of fans to influence, govern, bid for or buy their local football club. SURF’s response is based on the outcomes of our 2007-08 investigation (see first leg and second leg reports) into the ‘intangible assets and goodwill’ around football clubs in Scotland and their potential to contribute further to local community regeneration activities.
2013: Strengthening Local Democracy
In October 2013, CoSLA established an independent Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy with a view to improving local public services and accountability in Scotland, regardless of the outcome of the 2014 independence referendum. SURF responded to the Commission’s initial consultation with a general comment on ‘localism’ in regeneration and responses to set questions around community participation in local decision-making.
2013: Scottish Planning Policy
In undertaking a review of its 2010 Scottish Planning Policy statement on nationally important land use, the Scottish Government invited public comment on a 2013 draft update. SURF’s response to this consultation welcomed the establishment of ‘town centre health checks’ by local authorities, and argued for a greater focus on community engagement and monitoring & evaluation.
2013: Inquiry into the Delivery of Regeneration in Scotland
This inquiry was initiated by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee. SURF’s response focused on: what regeneration is; whether physical, social and economic aspects of regeneration can be addressed separately; which delivery mechanisms are best-suited to sustainable community regeneration processes; what the Scottish Government could be doing differently to support community capacity building; and the most appropriate approaches to monitoring & evaluation.
2012: Community Empowerment & Renewal Bill
SURF welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that it would use the legislative process to support greater community involvement in local delivery of regeneration and public services. In commenting on the 2012 consultation paper, SURF said that any realistic aspirations for increasing community empowerment will require considerable investment and challenging discussions on local power and resources. We also answered set questions on the Community Planning process, community councils and ‘community right to buy’ legislation.
2012: Procurement Reform Bill
In August 2012, the Scottish Government consulted on the development of a Procurement Reform Bill for formal introduction to parliament the following year. SURF’s response to the questionnaire asserted that more could be done to secure meaningful and genuine community regeneration outcomes from the deployment of Scotland’s £9bn public procurement budget.
2011: National Regeneration Strategy
The Scottish Government conducted a wide-ranging consultation to inform the development of the Achieving a Sustainable Future National Regeneration Strategy, published in December 2011. In SURF’s June 2011 response to the related Building a Sustainable Future discussion paper, we highlighted shortcomings in past regeneration policy and argued that greater consideration should be given to issues of hyper-consumerism, poverty, health, housing refurbishment, and support for education and skills.