The West Lothian Anti-Poverty Strategy sets out how the Community Planning Partnership will address poverty at a local level. The strategy aims to:
* protect people in West Lothian from the worst extremes of poverty and deprivation
* enable and empower people to access opportunities to become financially resilient
* tell a different story about poverty and increase understanding and reduce the stigma
* work collaboratively with partners, and use collective voice to lobby the Scottish and UK Government to bring about change
The strategy was approved by the Community Planning Partnership Board in September 2018 and from there, a strategy scorecard and action plan have been developed. The scorecard measures performance against eight outcomes and indicators are tracked against targets to ensure good progress is being made toward outcomes. Progress against target for a number of indicators has been affected by the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Despite this, the majority of indicators have scored green during the 2020-21 reporting period with many targets met or exceeded.
A key element is to work with practitioners on the front line to gather their views, experience and knowledge of what works, what needs developed and where there are gaps. An anti-poverty practitioners’ groups meets bi-monthly to consider how to ensure that activities within the annual action plan support the delivery of the strategy’s outcomes. Evidence from those with lived experience is gathered through surveys, webinars, zoom meetings and from practitioners who are working with customers and this is reflected in the actions taken within the plan.
The governance of the strategy is overseen by the Anti-Poverty Task Force which provides strategic guidance and policy oversight and is responsible for the co-ordination, implementation, delivery and evaluation of actions considering public sector funding constraints, economic uncertainty and the welfare reform agenda. The Task Force is chaired by a councillor nominated by the Task Force and it reports to the West Lothian Community Planning Board. This includes regular updates on the progress of defined actions or programmes of work that have been agreed with the Council and the Community Planning Partnership. Membership on the Task Force is drawn from relevant partners in West Lothian who have a remit and interest in alleviating poverty and includes Department of Work and Pensions/Social Security Scotland, voluntary sector organisations, organisations from West Lothian Community Planning Partnership and councillor representation from the Community Planning Board.