Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Partnership Dispute – “community empowerment” coming down the tracks for Nairn and Nairnshire or just another false dawn?

Before you read this we urge you to get yourself a copy of the Nairnshire Telegraph and digest the contents of the front page and this week's editorial and you can get an idea of the fall-out from the fall-out between the town's Community Council's and the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership. So what's the partnership then? Now there have been a lot of different entities over the years that have had some sort of “partnership” title and have met in the Courthouse – usually for death by Powerpoint sessions. This observer has seen a few of them come and go and usually they felt nothing more than talking shops but perhaps the odd crumb of comfort and achievement did come out of them from time to time. Have we moved on to something completely different thanks to Scottish Government legislation? The document we have received recently from the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership explains what it is and why it is there - “community empowerment” led to its birth. Some readers may have responded to their survey – a link to that survey appeared here and on many local social media meeting places. 

Of course we have often stated that the best form of community empowerment would be the recreation of the Nairn District Council and obviously we could never get back exactly what has gone but real power back in that chamber is the only way to go. In the meantime we have to make do with the Community Councils as the nearest thing to a local democratic forum but they are more or less toothless and often ignored as coverage of local planning issues has consistently shown. Now we have the Partnership as well and the community councils are not happy with the way the Partnership has been reacting to them – and from the content of Nairnshire Telegraph today it looks like the feeling is mutual. 

The Community Councils are holding a meeting to discuss their role in local decision taking, planning and Community Empowerment in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday the 20th September at 8 pm following a monthly meeting of Nairn River CC at 7 pm. 

And the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership have a meeting soon too. Their next meeting being scheduled for 1000 hours on Monday 25th September 2017 at the Nairn Community Centre. This is a meeting held in public according to the partnership. 

So serious students of these matters may wish to attend one or both of those meetings. 

Now the information we have received from the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership


The Nairn & Nairnshire Community Partnership was established following the introduction of the Community Empowerment Act 2015. This legislation identified the five statutory partners to support this process as the Local Authority, NHS, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. 

Chief Inspector Brian Mackay is the partnership chair and a core group containing representatives from the five statutory partners has been established, Highlife Highland and the Voluntary Sector also provide valuable support and input. In addition, Nairn Area Inspector Mike Middlehurst has accepted the request to be deputy chair. 

The Nairn & Nairnshire Community Partnership replaces the Nairn District Partnership and this will be used as a structure for the partnership to cement relationships whist working together for the benefit of our communities. 

Partnership Responsibilities 

The Community Partnership has key areas to address in ensuring that it works together to progress the following plans for the Partnership area. 

Children’s plan (led by the local authority) 

Adults plan (led by the NHS) 

Locality plans (led by the partnership) 

Community learning and Development plans (led by Highlands & Islands Enterprise). 

The content of these plans although in draft format at this time will on completion be replicated on the Partnership Website. The direction of each plan has been agreed following considerable Community Consultation within the Partnership area where “The Place Wheel” survey was made available for completion and return to the Partnership. This has then enabled informed decisions to be made in respect of populating the respective plans for going forward. This process, along with information already known by all partners, ensured that the relevant areas of inequality being identified and that with additional support from other agencies improvements can be being made. 

Progress to Date 

The first partnership meeting took place on in October 2016. Where in attendance were the statutory partners, the voluntary sector and members of the public. Key priorities were discussed and plans were commenced for community engagement/consultation to take place as detailed above. 

Having received and analysed the data returned from the consultation period the partnership will now focus on what the local issues are for our communities and how we can all work effectively as a partnership to improve the quality of life for our communities. 

The initial analysis has identified a number of areas that require attention as these are the issues that directly affect our communities. In order to have control of these issues the undernoted categories are being developed for inclusion in the Locality Plan. These are 


Spaces and Places 

Employment and training 

which we as a Partnership will now prioritise. Although at a very early stage the Plans being developed by the Partnership will on being agreed, be shared in order that our communities are aware of the Partnership direction and how it is striving to improve life in our communities. 

Future meetings and Communications 

We will share the progress of the partnership, and any news stories, by means of the local media and social media. 

The partnership is working towards having a “Twitter” feed, an Instagram Page and if sufficient interest was evident a Facebook page. Design is also ongoing for an emblem to demonstrate commitment to Nairn and our surrounding communities, progress on its development will shared when available. 

The partnership will meet bi-monthly, with the date and venue of the meeting being shared on the Website www.highlandcpp.org.uk. The next meeting being scheduled for 1000hours on Monday 25th September 2017 at the Nairn Community Centre. This is a meeting held in public.