Blog from Rosie Ilett, Glasgow’s Child Poverty Coordinator
Since I started work at CPAG in April 2018 as the Child Poverty Coordinator for Glasgow, I have seen notable changes in energies and activities across the city to support children and families affected by poverty. This of course directly relates to the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill 2017 - and the new duty placed on local authorities and their partners to develop, document, deliver and monitor innovative work to address the new child poverty targets – but it also seems to be something much more significant than that.
My role is still fairly unusual in Scotland as I am employed with funding (from Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership) to support child poverty work in Glasgow and to help draft Glasgow’s Local Child Poverty Action Report, and am employed within CPAG. Through my work I come in contact with a wide range of people; those whose job involves them in providing services to the public, as well as individuals and groups who are the recipients of those services - and who bear the brunt of reduced budgets as well as the impact of cuts to social security, currently manifesting through the roll-out of Universal Credit.
It is not an exaggeration to say that all of these individuals – especially those with lived experience - recognise that child poverty is not about individual choice or lack of backbone, but about structural issues and decisions made by others. This understanding is encouraging as it provides opportunities for different thinking to emerge, and for new ways of working to develop. Organisations from a range of sectors are working together to create joined-up services that make more sense, and people with lived experience of poverty are giving honest feedback on, and participating in, decision-making about new services and responses.
Glasgow’s first Local Child Poverty Action Report, that will be submitted to the Scottish Government by the start of the summer, will reflect the child poverty challenge that Glasgow has – where in some neighbourhoods nearly 60% of children live in poverty – but will also show a city that is committed to addressing this blight and making sure that all efforts put child poverty at the centre.