Saturday, July 07, 2012

Scottish Government Consultation on the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill – will our Community Councils participate?

Scottish Government Consultation on the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill – will our Community Councils participate?

A regular gurnite reader has sent us a copy of this consultation document (available here). Part of the foreword by Derek MacKay, the Minister for Local Government and Planning states : “This consultation marks the next stage of the process in developing the Bill. As a Government we will continue to listen carefully to your views. Your responses to the ideas in this consultation, and your new ideas, will help shape what ends up in draft legislation. I encourage you to get involved in the consultation. This is your Bill and we want to work with you to help us unlock the vast potential that exists in Scotland's communities.”

Yes, consultation is considered a dirty word by many of the usual suspects and other community activists in Nairn. Perhaps if enough community councils and other interested groups were to respond to it, it might go some way to handing political power back to communities across Scotland and, here in Nairn, we could reverse some of the worse effects of the Invercentric moves of past years. It would be nice to think that some good might one day come out of it all as the bill moves slowly forward to eventually becoming law. Could most decisions regarding local government services in Nairn one day be made by a democratically elected body sitting in the Courthouse? Derek MacKay says he’s listening, anyone else think it’s worth telling him what we think?
Below are a few questions from the consultation, there’s plenty more on the document itself and it’s a bit of a haul to go through it but some serious students may wish to.  The Gurn notes that you can fill this form in as an individual and other community groups can also participate (see 3 on the respondent information form). 

So, how would you, as an individual, respond to some of them and how would you like Nairnshire’s Community Councils to respond on your behalf if they felt inclined to participate?

Q6. What role, if any, can community councils play in helping to ensure communities are involved in the design and delivery of public services?

Q7. What role, if any, can community councils play in delivering public services?

Q8. What changes, if any, to existing community council legislation can be
made to help enable community councils maximise their positive role in

Q15. Should the current provisions be amended to make it easier for tenants and community groups to manage housing services in their area?

Q17. Should communities have the right to challenge service provision where they feel the service is not being run efficiently and that it does not meet their needs?

Q18. Should communities have a greater role in deciding how budgets are
spent in their areas?

Q19. Should communities be able to request the right to manage certain
areas of spending within their local area?

Q22. The public sector owns assets on behalf of the people of Scotland.
Under what circumstances would you consider it appropriate to transfer
unused or underused public sector assets to individual communities?

Q26. Should common good assets continue to be looked after by local
If you said ‘yes’ to Question 26, please answer parts a. and b.:
a. What should a local authority’s duties towards common good assets
be and should these assets continue to be accounted for separately
from the rest of the local authority’s estate?
b. Should communities have a right to decide, or be consulted upon,
how common good assets are used or how the income from common
good assets is spent?

Q42. Should local authorities be given additional powers to sell or lease longterm empty homes where it is in the public interest to do so?

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