Communities to be given more say
Local Government Minister Derek Mackay will this week launch a consultation on a proposed bill which will consider ideas to give more control to Scotland’s communities.
Responses to the consultation will help shape the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill.
Ideas being considered include greater community involvement in making decisions on local budgets, helping public sector organisations identify the needs and priorities in an area and target budgets more effectively, an idea first piloted in Brazil and in a number of European cities.
The consultation also includes ideas on making it easier for community organisations to get involved in designing and delivering public services and challenging public authorities if they feel an area of public service delivery is not being run effectively and does not genuinely meet their needs.
The consulation also explores how existing legislation can be better used to let local authority and housing authority tenants take on management of their own housing, and whether existing allotments legislation should be amended to better support communities taking forward grow-your-own projects.
Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said:
“Travelling across Scotland I have seen at first hand the strength of our communities. Scottish communities are a rich source of creativity and talent. Our people are our greatest asset.
“I want to empower Scotland’s communities and give all Scots increased opportunities to shape and decide on our own futures.
“The consultation I will launch this week will look at how communities could be given more power at the most local level.
“Local people are best placed to understand their own spending priorities, and it is right they should have a say in how public sector organisations spend their budgets, and a say in how those organisations deliver services.
“No-one knows better what is working on the ground than the people who actually use a service – and this consultation will find out ways to give them more of a say.”
The first fully participatory budgeting process was developed in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil, and it is now practiced in a number of places in Europe.
Current allotment legislation dates back to 1892. According to a survey, in 2010 there were 4465 local authority allotment plots across Scotland, but also a waiting list of 3019.