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Conference will explore moves to give power to the people

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Dr Alasdair Rutherford
Charities, volunteers, policy-makers and researchers are being invited to attend the “Community Resilience Under Public Sector Reform” conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday 6 November. Dr Alasdair Rutherford from the University of Stirling is one of the organisers.

Public sector reform in Scotland – including moves to give community groups more powers to deliver local services – will come under the spotlight at a one-day conference in Edinburgh next month.

Charities, volunteers, policy-makers and researchers are being invited to attend “Community Resilience Under Public Sector Reform” on Wednesday 6 November.

The free event is being held in Hanover Housing Association’s offices in the city’s McDonald Road.

The event has been organised by Dr Alasdair Rutherford from the University of Stirling, Dr Eleanor Burt (University of St Andrews); Dr Mike Woolvin (Scotland’s Rural College); and Dr Fiona Smith (University of Dundee). It’s being run as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science.

You can also book free places online at:

Dr Rutherford said: “The support of community empowerment and resilience is a core element of public policy reform in Scotland.

“Underpinning these ambitions is the view that these are best achieved through ‘co-production’ and ‘localism’, involving public bodies, business, third sector organisations, and local communities themselves.

“This one-day seminar will examine the implications and opportunities arising from the policy ambitions for community empowerment and resilience at a time of public service reform (PSR). It will particularly focus on who is involved in achieving these objectives, where and how this is taking place, and the implications of this for future policy and practice, including what needs to change.”

Keynote speakers from academia, policy and practice will help launch the conference:

  • Dr Artur Steiner, from Scotland’s Rural College;
  • John Fyffe, Deputy Chief Executive of Perth and Kinross Council; and
  • Helen Chambers, Head of Strategy and Delivery at Inspiring Scotland.

There will also be breakout and other discussion groups.

Dr Rutherford added: “Live tweeting at the event will be encouraged, and sessions will be videoed and shared online.

“We will move beyond focusing purely on communities and the third sector to set those from the public, private and third sectors in dialogue with community members, service users and volunteers.

“The seminar will use evidence-based presentations showcasing current social science research and examples from policy and practice to inspire discussion and further learning about what is happening, what works and what needs to change.

“Our one day event will bring together all those interested in enhancing community resilience in relation to public service reform, whether as researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, volunteers or from the private sector.”

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