Community Wellbeing – Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, parts 3 and 5

 

About the Inquiry

The Committee is carrying out post-legislative scrutiny of two key parts of the landmark Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. This will involve hearing from experts, individuals and communities over the next few months about whether the original aims of the legislation are being met. We will then report our findings to the Parliament.

This is the remit the Committee has agreed:

“The Community Empowerment Act (2015) aimed to empower communities through strengthening their voices in the decision-making process and helping them to own and manage land and buildings. Focussing on Parts 3 and 5 of the Act, the Committee will assess the extent to which this has happened and explore what impact the Act has had on community wellbeing.”

This inquiry work builds directly on a major listening exercise the Committee carried out last year ‘Your Priorities’(see below), where we sought views across Scotland about what community means to you and how thriving communities can be built and sustained. We received hundreds of responses. Many important points were raised and, while we could not take all of them forward, we decided that community empowerment was the most important theme to have been raised.

The 2015 Act’s vision was of giving grassroots communities the tools they need to be active participants in local decision-making and to help shape and even directly manage local services and amenities.

Part 3 deals with “participation requests” to enable engagement and dialogue between community participation bodies (such as community councils and community development trusts) and public service authorities (for example local authorities or health boards.

Community bodies can make a request to a “public service authority” to participate in a process to improve an outcome of a public service. The community body must explain what experience it has of the service and how it could contribute to its improvement, and the public body must agree to the request for dialogue unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.

Part 5 of the Act sets out how a “community transfer body” can request to buy, lease, manage, occupy or use land or buildings belonging to a “relevant authority” (again, most likely a local authority), and how the authority is to deal with such requests. Public authorities must transparently assess requests against a specified list of criteria, laid out in the Act, and agree the request unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.      

The Committee will be taking evidence  over the remainder of 2020. We want to find out if the ambitions behind parts 3 and 5 of the Act have been met. We also hope to be able to make visits to places where the Act has made a difference and places where its impact has yet to be felt.

Our first evidence sessions took place in September and this page will be updated with information and links as the inquiry progresses.

 

Your Priorities

The engagement activities took place over the period 15 November 2019 to 22 January 2020 and during this time, the Committee received over 220 ideas and suggestions from over 700 people from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and locations. The 'Your Priorities tool' is now closed for new entries, but you can still access posts from when the system was live. 

The Scottish Parliament's Information Centre has produced an analysis of the key themes raised during the exercise and attached to this is a summary of the events. You can read the analysis and summary here:

 

Timetable

The digital engagement has now ended, but views are welcome on the ongoing post-legislative scrutiny of the Act.

Wednesday 09 September 2020

The Committee held an evidence session on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, parts 3 and 5.

Links to: Papers  Minutes  Official Report

Wednesday 16 September 2020

The Committee held an evidence session on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, parts 3 and 5.

 

 

Evidence

Written submissions

The Committee also recieved the following written submissions on Community Wellbeing;

Correspondence

The Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee has written to the following regarding Community Wellbeing and Public Engagement;

 

 
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