Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to gather pieces of information about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and its delivery in Scotland. In my previous blog, I noted how we would welcome greater engagement between the voluntary sector and the UK government on these issues.
At the time, SCVO had three main concerns:
- The UK Government should set out how they plan to take forward timely and appropriate decision-making in partnership with the Scottish Government and local authorities in the weeks and months ahead to ensure that funds from the UKSPF will be available in Scotland in 2022/23.
- The UK Government should swiftly get to work with the Scottish Government and local authorities to allocate the funding Scotland needs to continue to invest in people and skills starting in 2022/23 and to ensure that bridging funding is made available for voluntary organisations where there are delays.
- The UK Government should meaningfully engage with Scotland’s voluntary sector as part of engagement activities noted in the pre-launch guidance and ensure there is a requirement that all authorities include voluntary organisations at both a strategic and delivery level for the fund to be delivered in Scotland with maximum impact.
Anna Fowlie, our Chief Executive, therefore welcomed the opportunity last week to meet with Ministers O’Brien and Stewart, along with colleagues from the Third Sector Interfaces Network (TSI Scotland Network) to discuss these issues. The meeting was positive and recognised the importance of the sector in this agenda.
We have now also shared further thoughts with ministers on local authorities’ investment plans (and how these should include a mandatory, specific requirement to involve the sector at both a strategic and delivery level), as well as funding, social investment and capacity. You can read it all in this joint letter.
Working in partnership across sectors should be the backbone of Levelling Up. We now hope to see this outlined as a key principle in the new UKSPF prospectus due to be published imminently.
As always, if you have any thoughts you would like to share with us on these issues, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.