Child poverty place-based initiatives in the Scottish Government

A person writing on a street billboard at the Linlathen Works employee campaign.
Published: 20/03/2023

(March 2023) Guest speakers at the first Place Forum, Gillian Cross and Jackie Brennan from the Scottish Government, shared their approach to addressing child poverty in Scotland.

Tackling child poverty is the Scottish Government’s national mission, underpinned by statutory income-based targets - set by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act of 2017 - to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030.

The Government's second Child Poverty Delivery plan – Best Start, Bright Futures – sets out how we will deliver against these targets, focusing on delivery, collaboration and partnership to deliver on our ambitions to tackle child poverty and support people to live flourishing lives.

Delivering pathfinder projects to address child poverty

The delivery plan also committed to identifying a small number of child poverty pathfinders over the coming years.

Since its launch, pathfinder projects have been established in Glasgow and Dundee to support families out of poverty by testing innovative models through targeted local approaches anchored by place-based principles. This builds on the existing Social Innovation Partnership work in Clackmannanshire.

These projects are part of a wider Scottish Government programme of place-based work supporting families through a variety of mechanisms, each of which is generating learning across the system.

Although each pathfinder has unique characteristics and is testing a different model to tackle child poverty, they are all examples of partnerships working to overcome systemic and organisational barriers.

These projects are rooted in a place-based approach that builds on local services and assets whilst working flexibly to respond to circumstances affecting the community.


The work in Clackmannanshire

The Social Innovation Partnership (a partnership between the Scottish Government and The Hunter Foundation) is collaborating with Clackmannanshire Council through the Family Wellbeing Partnership.

This programme aims to test and embed wellbeing and capability-enhancing approaches to service design and delivery that support people to be and do things they have reason to value and to live flourishing lives.

The partnership is seeking to embed more enabling, person-centred and relational models of support that can deliver multiple positive outcomes for individuals and families and contribute towards the national mission to tackle child poverty.

The work in Glasgow

The Scottish Government is working with Glasgow City Council and partners on a pathfinder that is integrating child poverty interventions and connecting families to the services they need to thrive.

The pathfinder is delivering an at scale example of the No Wrong Door concept and is demonstrating that, by connecting citizens to holistic, person centred, case management support, significant benefits can be delivered for citizens, organisations, and the city.

The impact that the pathfinder is having can already be felt, with more than 713 citizens supported to date through the ongoing full holistic case management support.

The work in Dundee

The Dundee pathfinder is a collaborative piece of work between Dundee City Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Social Security Scotland, the Scottish Government and other partners.

The pathfinder builds on the work of existing local structures, local expertise and good practice and is testing a relational, person-centred keyworker model.

The project aims to work across organisational boundaries to provide tailored and holistic support to individuals and families in poverty, supporting them into employment either directly or via a longer path which recognises other immediate needs.  

Encouraging collaboration and community involvement

Dundee, Clackmannanshire and Glasgow are just some of the areas where Scottish Government is working with partners to test new conceptual models grounded by place-based principles that encourage better collaboration and community involvement.

The early successes we’re experiencing in these areas have only been possible due to the valued partnership work with local authorities and partners to maximise all available levers to implement our policies at a local level and support communities affected by poverty and the cost-of-living crisis.

Writer biography

The authors both work for the Scottish Government with Jackie Brennan as the Head of Justice Delivery Unit and Gillian Cross as the Head of Place Based Delivery Unit.

Image credited to the Scottish Government

The power of place in child poverty and cost of living crisis

Find out more about our first Place Forum event and hear about the power of place and collaboration in child poverty and cost of living crisis.

Read event outputs