Annual report highlights achievements of partnership working in Aberdeenshire

Positive impacts for residents and communities through partnership working have been highlighted in the latest annual report published by the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership. 

The Partnership – featuring representatives across a range of public sector organisations, third sector and business within Aberdeenshire– encourages organisations to work together and ensures that local communities are involved in decisions on services in their area.

The ‘Single Outcome Agreement’ (SOA), was created in 2013 as a 10-year plan agreed with the Scottish Government, which aimed to improve the quality of life for everybody in Aberdeenshire. 

It included seven priority areas: Early Years; Economic Growth (including Transport); Employment; Health Inequalities and Physical Activity (including Alcohol and Drugs); Older People; Safer Communities and Reducing Reoffending; and Stronger Communities. 

The annual report covers the period 2016/17 and will be the final report in this format as from 2018 it will be replaced by a Local Outcomes Improvement Plan progress report in line with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

The annual report highlights a number of achievements, these include a decrease in those seriously injured on our roads; an increase in the number of over 16s in employment; and an increase in the mental wellbeing measure. 

Other positive performance includes the proportion of households with internet access; an increase in the percentage of children walking or cycling to school;
the proportion of babies with a healthy birth weight; the number of over 75s with an anticipatory care plan; and the percentage of those with drug issues who are now engaging with specialist drug services.

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council and Chair of the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership Board, Cllr Jim Gifford, said: “The Partnership benefits from the wide array of skills and expertise from its members, and it’s encouraging to see the improvements that are being made across Aberdeenshire.

“The Single Outcome Agreement has set a foundation that will allow us to continue this good work together.  We have a clear plan of action for us to tackle the challenges and make the most of opportunities that arise over the next decade.”

One of the key focuses in 2016-17 was to address the impact of the downturn in oil and gas. The Employability Partnership has built up a comprehensive picture of the employability need for clients and employers, identified sectors requiring development, and pinpointed gaps in opportunities. 

An action plan was then developed to support access to sustainable employment. Projects included the joint development of employability hubs in Fraserburgh (Here for You Centre) and Peterhead (Compass Point).

Another significant development during 2016/17 was the transition from the regional model for community justice, via the community justice authorities, to a new model that places responsibility for planning and delivery of services at a local level.

Community justice partners worked together to develop a Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan that sets out priorities for improvement in Aberdeenshire, based on an assessment of need. Key priorities include women in the justice system, the impact of alcohol on families and communities, the further development of the unpaid work service and the delivery of intensive interventions to reduce the use of short sentences.
 
The annual report on the SOA also highlights the wide variety of local activity across Aberdeenshire and regional activity, including the launch of Visit Aberdeenshire and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre in 2017 to develop a key regional industries.  Another example is the number of ‘mini-hubs’ planned as a complement to the main Park and Ride sites in Aberdeenshire - Fyvie, Potarch and Aboyne have already been completed, with Oldmeldrum, Banchory, Newmachar and Crathes in development or under construction. 
 
There continue to be priorities within the SOA that need the focus of partnership working to improve outcomes. For example, the number of people dying as a result of an alcohol related disease has had a deteriorating trend, although still below the national average, and the number of people claiming out of work benefits has increased thought to be due to the downturn in some sectors.

A Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) for Aberdeenshire is being developed to replace the Single Outcome Agreement; this new plan covers the period 2017-27.

The partnership has agreed three priorities for the new plan: reducing child poverty; changing Aberdeenshire’s relationship with alcohol; and connected and cohesive communities. The latter will focus initially on locality planning in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Banff/Macduff to give improved coordination to work ongoing there with communities and identifying any gaps where action is still required to deliver improvements.

The full annual report and a summarised version are now available to view online on the partnership’s website at: http://www.ouraberdeenshire.org.uk/single-outcome-agreement-2013-23/.  The website also shows the progress made on the LOIP and Locality Plans.