Why a SURF Manifesto?
Since its formation in 1992, SURF has always done more than connect, and provide services to, its 300 cross-sector member organisations and over 3000 individual contacts. We also draw on the views, experience and knowledge of that diverse network to positively influence policy and practice in community regeneration across Scotland.
A central element in that process involves SURF consulting widely in preparing a manifesto, which it then promotes and debates in advance of each Scottish Parliament election. The manifesto sets out the reality of the contemporary regeneration context and what SURF members want the Scottish Government to do differently in response to priority problems and opportunities.
SURF manifestos are inclusively developed over an 18 month period of intense consultation activity. They are then formally submitted to political parties and widely promoted, in advance of each election.
Each manifesto is designed to focus on a complementary set of practical policy recommendations, which link physical, social and economic regeneration. SURF follows up on the outcomes of this dedicated effort via its broader and continuous programme of work. This helps to inform and influence the policies, processes and investments of the Scottish Government, local government and relevant agencies.
SURF manifestos for 2007, 2011 and 2016 can be viewed here.
2021 Development Process
The initial development stage of the drafting process towards SURF’s 2021 manifesto for community regeneration is underway. During the COVID-19 pandemic it will be informed by telephone interviews, video discussions and email exchanges with key SURF members in particular sectors, and desk-based research that draws out learning outcomes from recent SURF events and projects, and appropriate policy recommendations from relevant independent reports.
These activities will form the basis of a first draft of the manifesto, that will be presented to 50 experts representing a wide range of regeneration-related policy areas. Each expert will be invited to comment on the draft policy recommendations and suggest additional ones. The SURF team will consider the feedback received, and amend the initial draft accordingly.
In August 2020, SURF will circulate a second draft via its mailing list, website, and directly to those attending the 2020 SURF Annual Conference. Conference participants will be given the opportunity to discuss and vote on these, and offer additional suggestions. There will also be a linked consultation period later in the year.
Climate, Transport and Place
The final manifesto will be presented to Scotland’s main political parties in November 2020 to inform their internal policy manifesto development processes.
SURF’s manifesto will also form the basis for a 2021 Scottish Regeneration Question Time husting-style debate with guest politicians. At this event, SURF members will have the opportunity to ask party representatives how they will be responding to SURF’s recommendations.
Initial consultations indicate that policies and investments around inclusive growth, land use and transport – and the wider climate emergency context – are set to feature as key themes.
If you would like to keep up-to-date with consultation opportunities and activities, please sign up to SURF’s monthly e-bulletin.