Refreshing our blueprint for prosperity

Earlier this month Community Planning Aberdeen launched a refresh of the Local Outcome Improvement Plan – or LOIP, as it is more commonly known.

The council, its partners and our communities have together made a real difference to disadvantaged and vulnerable people since the LOIP’s launch in 2016. By providing access to food, shelter, fuel and finance, and through promoting health and wellbeing along with education and training opportunities, we are equipping residents with the means and skills to prosper.

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic massively increased the challenges but at the same time reaffirmed the value of partnership working. If anything, the pandemic has fired our ambition. A new stretch outcome – ‘No one will suffer due to poverty by 2026’ – has been introduced, signalling our determination to make sure no one is left behind as the world recovers.

I think it is worth saying something about the process of reshaping the LOIP, which in itself demonstrates the principles underpinning its actions.

We used a Population Needs Assessment to determine the current and future needs of residents. However, data tells only one part of a social story. This year Community Planning Aberdeen harnessed digital technology in the form of a Values Simulator to understand what matters most to people, so we can allocate resource effectively.

As well as covering the basics – for example, making sure no one goes without food – there was a call to support young people with their mental health. The refresh therefore has a particular focus on aiding youngsters, from infants whose social development has been impacted by the pandemic to school leavers who enter an uncertain jobs market.

That’s why we’re working with employers to develop route maps to a brighter future, which includes a meaningful wage and some kind of career path.

The LOIP allows us to address problems directly (to meet acute need) but also promotes tackling root causes through collective preventative measures. There is, for example, recognition that the risk from climate change is as real as that from the coronavirus, and a green conscience guides the refresh.

As chair of Community Planning Aberdeen, it was with enormous pride that I joined the board for the launch of the refreshed LOIP. We heard – via video – from a care experienced youngster about what it means to have secured an internship with our own council; about the foundation this provides for moving forward in life.

The LOIP has generated many stories like this in communities across the city and it is vital that we all continue to work together in the coming months and years to ensure there are many more.