Response 1065993336

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What we want for the South of Scotland

1. Do you agree with our ambition outlined?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know
Please explain your answer.
Of course, all noble ambitions. The biggest barrier to productivity, skills, growth and opportunities is poor infrastructure - specifically transport,

2. What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?

What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?
Reinstate train connections to towns in the Borders, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbright, Newton Stewart etc.

Put on more carriages and more frequent services on the new Galashiels to Edinburgh route - extend it and connect it mainline/ Lockerbie/ Dumfries/ Carlisle etc.

Make existing connections faster - the Dumfries service to Glasgow is so slow, it used to be an hour faster 100 years ago! it beggars belief that things have got worse over time.

Make the Borders and D&G commutable to Glasgow and Edinburgh, connect people to the places where the jobs are and make it easier for tourists to visit the region.

Real support and infrastructure for the amazing businesses and natural, cultural resources in the region.

Ambitions for the new South of Scotland Enterprise

3. What are your ambitions for the future economic success of the South of Scotland?

What are your ambitions for the future economic success of
Reinstate the national and international connections in the region.

Improve transport infrastructure and much of the rest will follow.

Make it an even better place to live, learn and work.

The economic context of the South of Scotland

4. What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency build on?

What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency
arts/ cultural industries and tourism - so much to expand on
agriculture - fantastic high quality produce , bread basket of Scotland
natural resources - for learning, relaxing and tourism
places to learn - better quality post-school learning opportunities and better spread of campuses in the region

5. What are the economic challenges you would like to see the Agency address?

What are the economic challenges you would like to see the
transport infrastructure - nothing works as it should, geographic isolation, over reliance on motor cars
training - more places to learn made more accessible

Potential Activities for the South of Scotland Enterprise

6. What currently works well in the South of Scotland?

What currently works well in the South of Scotland?
local communities

7. What would you add or take away from the potential activities that the Agency could carry out across the three areas:

a) drive forward the economy?
transport infrastructure improvements - specifically extending and improving train network
b) sustain communities?
make it a place to live and work at all stages of life
c) capitalise on people and resources?
more and better quality places for learning

8. What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the Agency?

What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the
Train network

9. What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your business, your sector or your community?

What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your
Better transport networks - my village has a few buses that go through but you can't rely on them as the privatised companies don't work strictly to the time table. The service they provide is very slow having to take in too many villages/ stops so can hardly be relied on as a service that brings people to their work or places of learning.

It means anyone without a car is stuck. There used to be a station 1 mile away that connected us to Castle Douglas to Dumfries to Edinburgh or Glasgow and to London. What a difference that would make to knowing you're connected to the world - confidence of knowing that a small rural place is significant within the wider economy.

Effective boundaries

10. What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working with other local authorities or with agencies like Highlands and Islands Enterprise to support specific projects which benefit the South of Scotland and with national agencies?

What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working
Both Border and D&G are already vast territories, perhaps there should be more thought to localising within smaller political entities (town councils?)

Work with other agencies to improve transportation links.

Location of the new Agency

11. Which option, either from the list above or your own suggestion, do you think offers the best way to ensure the Agency is accessible to all across the South of Scotland?

Which option, either from the list above or your own
There is a lot of wealth in parts of the Borders so location should really look for places where there is less inherent wealth, connections and cultural capital.

The two last options look potentially positive, co-locating with other organisations might be able to share costs and make good links/ extend network. I'd be wary of any model that is overly bureaucratic, expensive to maintain and unsustainable.

12. Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about the location of the Agency?

Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about
geography - not a barrier
connection - being able to access and travel
need - where could it have most impact peoples lives

13. If you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?

you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?
access - being table to get there, being able to find resources online, making sure all building, services and materials are as accessible as it is possible to make them for disabled users
availability of staff - services available and not fractured through fractional contracts
staff retention - making sure there is point of contact to see you through a process, good people not lost

14. What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency and what sorts of skills and expertise should they have?

What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency
Balance - more women; local people; people from diverse backgrounds; people from a range of professional backgrounds- not all bankers and CEOs; people who are invited for their specific skill sets and expertise (e.g. HR, finance, culture sector etc.) essential to have good representation of young people/ apprentice board member scheme;

Other issues

15. We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move to the South of Scotland than they are other parts of the country. Do you have any comments on things the Agency could do to meet the interests of children and young people?

We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move
learning opportunities
train/ transport links
jobs

16. In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:

In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:
These things need to be embedded within services and called out when policies not upheld and targets not met.

Providing support for good quality cultural encounters is very important but essential work has to be done at grassroots/ early years levels.

Providing roles models through equalities-driven recruitment.

Trained/ enlightened law enforcement to uphold and protect rights of people who share protected characteristics.

17. Do you have any other comments on how the Agency might address specific needs?

Do you have any other comments on how the Agency might
Many services exist in parallel and many are precarious due to privatisation of services now run by charitable sector.

Provide a forum for connecting services looking holistically at addressing needs of people who share protected characteristics and supporting opportunity for all: police, social workers, lawyers, teachers, support workers, ministers.

South of Scotland region could build a model that would be an exemplar for the rest of Scotland.

18. We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a wide range of key stakeholders/partner agencies to ensure that inclusive growth also enables positive social and environmental outcomes. Do you have any comments on how this should work in practice?

We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a
involve schools
early years support for parents
initiatives to get women in to work and earning more than minimum wage
opportunities for career progression within the region
only undertake genuine consultations with stakeholders - do not engage dishonestly, it can build resentment and result in loss of confidence

19. Do you have any other thoughts on powers that the Agency will need?

Do you have any other thoughts on powers that the Agency
autonomous economic and political powers to make decisions and act without being held up by slow bureaucracies or election cycles
check and balances of agency power has to be within the public realm
must be publically accountable to elected officials - not anonymous civil service appointees
ensure that senior salaries and remunerations are not excessive and do not reinforce inequalities

20. Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of the Agency?

Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of
please do us proud, please match our ambitions, please give local people the opportunity to be part of something big and exciting

About you

What is your name?

Name
Grainne Rice

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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Organisation