This section explores areas progress against the four Big Local outcomes of:
Big Local areas were set the following broad outcomes at the start of the programme:
In reality, partnerships struggle to express these as four separate and discreet outcomes with, in most cases, the first three being subsumed into an even better place to live. Further, Big Local areas are working on diverse issues to address these outcomes and the needs expressed by their communities. These range from play and youth work provision, undertaking environmental improvements, providing access to work support, benefits advice and addressing substance misuse. Delivery mechanisms also vary. Some areas focus on small grants to grass roots groups whilst others have entered into service level agreements with delivery partners or undertaken substantial capital projects.
In terms of progress against each outcome:
Overall, whilst many areas have made real achievements, early progress against the defined outcomes has (inevitably, given the nature of the programme) been slower than anticipated and uneven. Whilst some have achieved their early objectives others have struggled and become ‘bogged down’ in issues of governance and partnership incorporation. Partnerships also report challenges in terms of engaging the wider community in the working of Big Local and can struggle to connect everyday activities in their area with their strategic vision for Big Local. Whist change was reported by and for individuals and some groups, the ‘ripple effect’ of this into the wider community is, as yet, unclear.
Reflecting on progress to date, the key learning includes: