EPIC Briefing Papers

Throughout the EPIC project we have produced a number of breifings that have highlighted issues that have emerged throughout the project or that summarised important meetings of the project. The briefing papers have also been used as part of the EPIC training programme and in our campaigning work. 


EPIC Briefing Sheet 19: Seventh TPSF (November 2012)

Thiis briefing emerges from the 7th and final Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum. In addition to hearing an update on the Employability Subgroup, this Forum also had a wide ranging discussion with Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare Reform. The paper concludes with a discussion about the future of the TPSF.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC BriefingSheet 18: Sixth TPSF (June 2012)

The paper summarises the discussions which took place as part of the 6th Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum in June 2012. It includes a discussion on economic inequality led by Carlo Morelli from the University of Dundee.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 17: 3rd SATP (April 2012)

This breifing highlights some of the key discussions and recommendations to emerge from the 3rd Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty which took place in March 2012. 

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 16: Welfare Reform and Financial Exclusion in Scotland (20.05.13)

This briefing paper looks at the state of financial exclusion in Scotland and how Welfare Reform will affect those most excluded from mainstream financial products. It emerges from work carried out by the Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum working group on 'poverty premiums'. The poorest fifth of Scotland’s population are disproportionately more likely to be without a basic bank account or similar financial product. This group is also far more likely to be in receipt of income, housing and disability support and to be unemployed than those in the top 80% of incomes.

There are systemic reasons why Welfare Reform, and the introduction of Universal Credit specifically, are likely to affect those who are financially excluded especially hard, besides the overlap in the profile of claimants and those without access to financial products. Firstly, Universal Credit will only be paid into a bank account. Secondly, in a break with the way benefits are currently paid, it will only be paid monthly and in arrears. Thirdly, it will merge a range of benefits into one complex monthly entitlement calculation. Fourth, housing benefit will no longer be paid to landlords but instead will go directly to claimants. Finally it will only be possible to apply for and manage Universal Credit online.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 15: Researching Poverty - the benefits of a community research Approach (20.0513)

by Fiona McHardy

Community research looks to involve people experiencing poverty in the research process. This shifts away from traditional research approaches where people living in poverty are perceived as merely to be the subject matter of the research, with very little influence or control over the research process. Community research seeks to change this approach looking to involve people in the design, delivery, analysis and dissemination of the research, moving from treating people as passive subjects to active participants in research.

In order to share the learning from the EPIC research programme to date, this briefing sheet outlines the theory of community research, the advantages and challenges of this methodological approach and provides an outline of the value community research can bring to the policy process.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 14: Rural Poverty (09.10.12)

The experiences of poverty in urban and rural Scotland have both similarities and differences. Understanding the differences and complexities of rural poverty are crucial for effective anti poverty policy. This briefing sheet provides an overview of some of the key issues affecting rural communities and looks at future challenges.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing No 13: Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum (26.10.2011)

This briefing paper is a summary of the report from the fifth Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum which took place on the 26th October 2011.

The Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum is one of two dialogue groups that have been set up as a part of the wider Poverty Alliance project, Evidence Participation Change (EPIC). This Forum brings together a diverse range of participants, including senior officers, from central and local government, working in areas of anti-poverty and associated social policy, senior staff of third sector organisations, working on poverty issues, and experts on the realities of living in poverty – those who have direct experience of poverty. Up to 40 members attend the Forum on a regular basis and the members are evenly proportioned between these three groups. The Forum has a strong focus on the Scottish Government and COSLA joint anti poverty strategy ‘Achieving our Potential’ and aims to assess the impact of this strategy over the course of the four year project.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 12 - The Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum
This briefing paper is a summary of the report from the Fourth Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum which took place on 20 May 2011. The Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum is one of two dialogue groups that have been set up as part of the wider Poverty Alliance project, Evidence Participation Change (EPIC).


EPIC Briefing Sheet 11 - Putting Participation into Practice in Scotland
This briefing sheet outlines some of the participatory processes that have been developed over the course of the project and highlights some of the valuable lessons learned through that experience.

The active involvment of people with experience of poverty runs throughout the project - from the research that is carried out , to the planning and implementation of the annual Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty, to the direct training with community activists.  For simplicty this briefing paper will focus on one particular aspect of the project, the Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum, and highlights what has worked, as well as reflecting on some of the barriers and challenges that have been encountered.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 10 - Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty 2011
This briefing paper outlines some of the key messages to emerge from the 2nd Assembly for Tackling Poverty which took place on 17 and 18 February 2011. The aim of the Assembly is to help put dialogue and participation at the heart of anti-poverty policy making in Scotland.

This year's Assembly brough together over 400 people from local and national voluntary organisations, community based organisations and people with experience of the issues of poverty keen to take action to bring about change.  In six 'evidence sessions' they worked alongside MSPs from across political parties and identified the following priorities and actions:

  • Evidence Session 1: Ex Offending and Housing
  • Evidence Session 2: Young People and Transitions
  • Evidence Session 3: Parents and Child Poverty
  • Evidence Session 4: Addictions and Poverty
  • Evidence Session 5: Women and the Labour Market
  • Evidence Session 6: Rural Issues and Disability

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 9 - The Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum

This EPIC briefing paper is a summary of the report from the 3rd Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum which took place on 8 October 2010. This briefing will outline the main focus of the 3rd meeting and will provide a snap shot of some of the issues raised and key recommendations around Welfare Reform an Child Poverty. It also outlines the key activities of the short life working group on stigma.

The aims and objectives of the 3rd meeting of the Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum were as follows:

  1. To hear feedback from the short life working group on stigma and to agree upon recommendations and how to take them forward.
  2. To hear feedback from the standing group on employment.
  3. To get an update on the Tackling Poverty Programme Board: its achievements so far and future plans.
  4. To discuss the 21st Century Welfare Reform consultation and hear direclty from the DWP and a grassroot perspective.
  5. To hear about the Child Poverty Strategy at Scottish Government level adn to hear directly from a parent living in poverty.
  6. To decide on the next short life working group.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 8 - The Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum
This EPIC briefing paper is a summary of the report from the 2nd Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Forum which took place on 26 March 2010. The Forum has a strong focus on the Scottish Government and COSLA joint anti poverty strategy 'Achieving our Potential' and aims to assess the impact of this strategy over the course of the four year project.

The aims and objectives of the 2nd meeting of the Tackling Poverty Stakeholder Fourm were as follows:

  1. To reflect on the role of the Stakeholder Forum with regards to policy making in Scotland;
  2. To hear feedback from the short life working group on health inequalities (set up at the 1st meeting of the Stakeholder Forum);
  3. To get input on what progress Achieving our Potential has made so far at local and national level and
  4. To decide on subsequent working groups of the Forum.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 7 - Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty

The Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty is one of the dialogue forums organised as part of the Evidence Participation Change (EPIC) project funded by the Big Lottery Fund and run by the Poverty Alliance.

The Assembly brought together a broad range of groups, organisations, and individuals including: people with direct experience of poverty, community based organisations, voluntary organisations, academics, trade unions, faith groups, members of UK and Scottish Parliaments and members of Scottish and UK Governments.  It aims to foster greater dialogue between all of those concerned with addressing poverty and create a real momentum for new approaches to longstanding problems.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 6 - Achieving our Potential: the process

It is more than 18 months since the ‘Achieving our Potential: the Framework to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland’ was published. At that time the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well Being said that “This (Framework) – agreed with the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) – provides a focus for our public, private and third sectors to work together in a concerted effort to deliver greater solidarity in Scotland - a fairer distribution of wealth with which we believe is the key to tackling poverty. That is why we have set a national target to increase the proportion of income received by the poorest 30% of households by 2017” .

This paper takes stock of the period in which Achieving our Potential was created, including the subsequent changes in direction that have taken place due to the recession. It focuses on the new form of governance that has developed since 2007, in particular to community involvement in Community Planning Partnerships and the role of Single Outcome Agreements in tackling poverty. From this perspective the paper will highlight areas that need to be strengthened in order for the framework to move forward.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 5 - Achieving Our Potential: the content

This paper is an analysis of Achieving our Potential: A framework to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland based on discussions held at the Stakeholder Forum in September 2009. The analysis is from a joint third sector and community activist perspective. It is intended to highlight positive initiatives developing from the Framework whilst at the same time highlighting areas in need of improvement.  This paper should be considered in relation to comments made in the accompanying paper on the Concordat Single Outcome Agreements and community engagement. Issues, concerns and suggestions that arose from discussion are bullet pointed.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 4 - Busting the Poverty Myths

Scotland is a very rich country but a significant proportion of its population, around 1 in 5, live in poverty. Misconceptions about what it means to be in poverty and those experiencing it have resulted in several myths and stereotypes of what living in poverty means in the UK.  These myths can hold us back from getting to a real understanding about the causes of poverty and solutions required to address it effectively.

This EPIC briefing sheet outlines and challenges some of the most common misconceptions and myths about poverty in Scotland and the UK today. It is part of the materials used in the EPIC capacity building training and will be updated during the project.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 3 - Living in Poverty: the experience in Scotland

This briefing paper describes the results of study that took place with participants attending the Evidence Participation Change capacity building training programme. Three training sessions took place in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh bringing together people from across Scotland. Data collection took place using a diary method approach. Participants were asked to keep a diary for a week. This method was used to capture the experiences of living in poverty in Scotland, focused around several key themes. The study indicated several complex and interconnecting factors affecting individuals living in poverty and result in the choices and challenges they face.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 2 - Influencing Scottish and UK Government

Briefing Sheet number 2 is an information sheet for the ‘Voices for Change’ training sessions run as part of the Evidence Participation Change project. These training sessions aim to empower people to have their voices heard more effectively and to help ensure that they can influence Members of Scottish and UK Parliaments.

To download the briefing click here.


EPIC Briefing Sheet 1 - Jargon Busting

Briefing sheet number 1 of the Evidence Participation Change project is a resource for the training sessions that are run as part of the project. This briefing appears in the training pack that all participants receive but this will also be available online to help understanding policy documents and Scottish Government initiatives and programmes.

To download the briefing click here.

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