The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act aims to promote and encourage community empowerment and participation, by creating new rights for community bodies and placing new duties on public authorities.
You may be interested in responding to a consultation by the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Communities Committee on community empowerment and community wellbeing (closes 23.10.2020).
Key elements of the Act are:
- Participation requests provide a new way for communities to interact with local authorities. Communities are able to raise proposals or issues that may or may not be on the council's agenda and be guaranteed that the authority will enter into a dialogue, unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal. Though the authority don't have to agree to the community body's proposals, they must listen, consider and report on the suggestions
- Asset Transfer Requests provide community bodies with a right to request to purchase, lease, manage or use land and buildings belonging to local authorities. There will be a presumption of agreement to requests, unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal
- Common Good property provisions have introduced duties to increase transparency about common good assets and improve community involvement in their identification, disposal and use of them. The authority must establish and publish a Common Good register after a period of public consultation. If an authority is considering disposing or changing the use of an asset, it must first conduct a public consultation and must take the results of that process into account in making a decision