Renfrewshire Council

2. Summary and Priorities

This is the fourth Local Child Poverty Action Report produced by Renfrewshire Council. The report captures the range of activity that has taken place in Renfrewshire to reduce child poverty in 2021/22 and looks forward to the actions planned for 22/23 and beyond. The report has a focus around longer-term plans, however, recent financial challenges facing our residents have precipitated an increase in immediate support, with short term actions that help families now being developed alongside our existing initiatives and longer-term plans.

This report is set out in a way that reflects the three themes of the Scottish Government child poverty delivery plan, Best Start, Bright Futures:

  • providing the opportunities and integrated support parents need to enter, sustain and progress in work
  • maximising the support available for families to live dignified lives and meet their basic needs, and
  • supporting the next generation to thrive.

It highlights our actions and achievements throughout 2021/22 that fit into those themes, including:

Our economic recovery plan which focuses on job retention and creation, employability, supporting upskilling and innovation, tackling inequalities and delivering a 'green' recovery.

Our employability service, Invest in Renfrewshire, which offers a wide range of tailored supports to help residents on the journey towards and into employment. Successes here include:

  • By 1 April 2022, the level of unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds had reduced to below the pre-pandemic figure, with 75 fewer young people out of work than at February 2020
  • 92 parents, 64 of whom were lone parents, have been supported this year, with 58 of these gaining employment.

The Renfrewshire Local Employability Partnership have continued to plan and co-commission local employability services to help Renfrewshire residents make a successful transition towards employment and reduce unemployment in the area. This partnership working has helped reduce the unemployment rate to 3.8%, now lower than the Scottish rate of 3.9%.

A social renewal plan, with initial funding of £665,000 to support families with children who are living in poverty. This funding has supported:

  • £100,000 funding for place-based responses to food insecurity, including support for pantries and a community food fund. This has allowed thousands of families throughout Renfrewshire to access food in a dignified way
  • an initial £50,000 to provide emergency fuel support, backed by energy advice, to low-income families struggling with energy costs
  • £45,000 to support our affordable credit work, including employment of an affordable credit officer to work in our communities, targeting priority families.

With £1m per year invested in our Tackling Poverty programme over five years, this continues to have a positive impact on low-income families in Renfrewshire, supporting projects such as Healthier Wealthier Children advice, Cost of the School Day, and provision of energy advice specifically to families as well as supporting young people's mental health.

An increase in the number of accredited living wage employers in Renfrewshire to 82.

Our procurement team has realised 198 Community Benefits this year, with 78 recruitment opportunities amongst these, of which 37 went to those in priority groups.

Our energy advocates have saved clients over £325,000 this year including ongoing savings, write offs and Warm Home Discounts. This includes 144 families with children.

We top up our Cost of the School Day funding by £75,000 each year through our Tackling Poverty programme. Food vouchers, energy top-ups, toiletries and warm clothing have been supplied this year as well as more usual items such as stationery and school uniforms.

Advice is a vitally important part of our efforts to tackle child poverty, with the council supporting the Healthier Wealthier Children and School Support services which provide dedicated advice services to families with children. Apart from our own Advice Works service, the council also provides funding to Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau (RCAB) to provide both a general advice service and a community legal advice service. This year additional services have been funded:

  • a Welfare Rights service based at Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau
  • a Fair Work service which deals with issues regarding to employment
  • a benefit take-up campaign which has received £5,000 through the Social Renewal budget.

Funding of £100,000 to tackle digital exclusion in partnership with SCVO by building a network of volunteers and staff, and capacity across local third and community organisations to support local people to access and use digital technology. This will allow us to begin to understand how place-based solutions to digital inclusion could work and to develop a model of best practice for use across Scotland. 

There is still a clear commitment and expectation within Renfrewshire to raise attainment for all whilst closing the poverty-related attainment gap and data has been used to target approaches and develop interventions which support schools to raise attainment and address health and wellbeing needs.

Work around The Promise has progressed well with development around Promise keepers and a Promise self-evaluation toolkit.

In the past year we have administered a range of funds to support families, for example using part of the Scottish Government Winter Support Funding to provide an additional £50 per child for children receiving School Clothing Grant to help with winter clothing.


For 2022/23, our main priorities are gaining a better understanding of the needs of our families living in poverty using our Get Heard programme, ensuring we are collecting relevant data and using this to inform our policy development and actions and focussing on increasing income from employment for families, especially those in the child poverty priority groups.

1. We will work with Poverty Alliance on Get Heard to establish a process to allow for meaningful engagement of people with direct experience of poverty to contribute to the development and implementation of local child poverty priorities.

2. We will focus on collecting relevant data which will give us a better understanding of the picture of child poverty in Renfrewshire and will further our evidence-based policy making.

3. Through the Renfrewshire Local Employability Partnership we will focus on finding out what is holding parents back from considering work as a good option and how we can change their minds as well as develop supports to meet their needs.

As we reach the end of our five year Tackling Poverty programme at the end of 22/23, our tackling poverty and social renewal work, along with our Alcohol and Drugs Change programme will be brought under a Fairer Renfrewshire programme as agreed as part of the council's budget approved in March 2022, with significant funds allocated to continue our work to reduce child poverty and support families and individuals in need across Renfrewshire.

While we recognise that much has been achieved this year, we will continue to work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership and many other external and third sector partners, in communities and across all services to ensure our low-income families are supported and child poverty is reduced.