Consultation on new powers to Local Communities

Local Community Activism. Credit: In Habitat PR
Local Community Activism. Credit: In Habitat PR

by David Thomson

The consultation process has been launched for a new law that gives more power to local communities.

The Scottish Government have recently launched a public consultation on a draft of the Community Empowerment Bill that will give local communities more power on what should happen in their communities.

When launching the bill, Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: “Scotland’s people are its greatest asset and it is only with the confidence that comes with independence that people will be able to fully determine their own futures.

“The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill is about people and communities taking their own decisions about their future.

This bill is aimed at Community Councils and residents groups that want to take ownership of local council buildings and land.

image source:
Derek Mackay MSP. Credit: Scottish Government

Derek Mackay, said: “The Bill will help community groups to take over public land and buildings where they think they can make better use of them than their current public sector owners. This Bill will also reform the community right to buy, giving urban communities in Scotland same rights as rural communities, where in the public interest. ”

The Bill has received support from the Carnegie UK. Jennifer Wallace, Policy Manager of the organisation said: “We welcome todays publication of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill which contains a range of proposals that we believe will help Scotland’s communities to thrive.

“In particular, we support the proposal to place a duty on Scottish Ministers to develop, consult on and publish the outcomes they seek for the people of Scotland. Scotland is already recognised as an international leader on measuring wellbeing through its use of Scotland Performs. “

The decision on whether to transfer that asset will be based on which proposed use will be to greatest use to the local community.

As part of the bill, legislation will be simplified to protect the existing provision that is in place for allotments. If the existing provision is not sufficient, the local authority have a duty of care to keep a waiting list under a specific target.

Local Community Planning will be strengthened to deliver better solutions for the community.

COSLA President, Cllr David O’Neill, today welcomed the extension of Community Planning, he said:“ COSLA welcomes the extension of the duty of Community Planning to encompass the whole of the public sector, which we believe will improve how partners work together locally and deliver better outcomes for our communities.”

The public consultation ends on January 24 and to make a comment about the draft bill. Click onto