The Committee has agreed to take evidence from community groups and public bodies as part of its consideration of Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSIs) relating to parts 2, 3 and 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 24 July 2015. The Scottish Government explains that the Act will help empower community bodies through the ownership or control of land or building and by strengthening their voices on decisions about public services.
Part 2: Community Planning
This part of the Act places Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) on a statutory footing and imposes duties on them around the planning and delivery of local outcomes, and the involvement of community bodies at all stages of community planning. Tackling inequalities will be a specific focus and CPPs will have to produce "locality plans" at a more local level for areas experiencing particular disadvantage.
Part 3: Participation Requests
This part of the Act provides a mechanism for community bodies to put forward their ideas for how services could be changed to improve outcomes for their community. This could include community bodies taking on delivery of services.
Part 5: Asset Transfer Requests
This part of the Act provides community bodies with a right to request to purchase, lease, manage or use land or buildings belonging to local authorities, Scottish public bodies or Scottish Ministers. There will be a presumption of agreement to requests, unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal. Reducing inequalities will be a factor for public authorities to consider when making a decision. Relevant authorities will be required to create and maintain a register of land which they will make available to the public.
Nine SSIs relating to Part 2 and Part 5 were laid before the Parliament on 10 November 2016. Further SSIs relating to Part 3 are expected to be laid later in the year. They are as follows:
Written Submissions Received
The Committee will take evidence on the following dates:
Wednesday 16 November 2016: Community Bodies who may wish to utilise the powers in Parts 3 and 5 or who represent those communities that may use the powers.
- Ian Cooke, Director, Development Trusts Association Scotland; Mhairi Wylie, Chief Officer, Highland Third Sector Interface; Ruchir Shah, Policy Manager, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; John Wilson, Chairperson, Glenboig Neighbourhood House and GNH.
Wednesday 23 November 2016: Public bodies who are subject to all of the provisions in parts 2, 3 and 5 and whom are identified in Schedules 1, 2 or 3 of the Act.
- Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie, Local Policing North, Police Scotland; Sandra Holmes, Community Assets Sector Lead, Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Iona Colvin, Director of Health and Social Care North Ayrshire, NHS Ayrshire and Arran; Bruce Kiloh, Head of Policy and Planning, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport; Richard Davison, Strategic Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage.
Wednesday 30 November 2016: Scottish Government.