Putting the ‘power’ in community empowerment?

26.06.2014

Proposals to give communities across Scotland the right to purchase land will be considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee as it begins its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill aims to provide powers to allow communities to participate in local decision making, along with powers for them to take ownership or management of lands and assets into community control. Other measures include a reform of the law on allotments as well as putting community planning partnerships on a statutory basis with new duties on partner bodies.

The Committee wants to hear from local communities and interested bodies to find out if the proposed measures really will deliver empowerment and whether they will lead to real changes to where decisions are made?

Committee Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said:

“There is no doubting the desire of communities across Scotland to increase the role they play in managing the services which matter to them.   Local communities are best placed to understand what works for them and ensure that local facilities and assets operate for the benefit of the wider community.

"The Committee wants to ensure that communities across Scotland feel able to take advantage of the provisions of the Bill, as we know that there has been a huge amount of interest in these proposals from across the country.

“We want to hear from everyone who has an interest in, or is affected by, community empowerment to find out if this Bill really will deliver power to communities.”

The nine part Bill also includes a duty on Scottish Minister to develop a set of national outcomes for Scotland as well as requiring all local authorities to draw up a publically accessible register of common good assets and property which they hold.

To make a submission on the Bill please see the full call for evidence on the Committee’s website

Specific questions the Committee would like answers to include:

  • To what extent does the Bill empower communities?
  • What will be the benefits and disadvantages for public sector organisations as a consequence of the provisions in the Bill?
  • Do communities across Scotland have the capabilities to take advantage of the provisions in the Bill? If not, what requires to be done to the Bill, or to assist communities, to ensure this happens?

Background

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill was introduced in June 2014. The Bill’s policy memorandum states that the Bill reflects the Scottish Government’s policy principles of subsidiarity, community empowerment and improving outcomes.

More information on the Bill can be found here:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/77926.aspx

Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to the following email address:

[email protected]

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Friday 5 September 2014.

To keep up to date on the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill, please follow the Committee’s Twitter feed @SP_LocalGovt

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