Local Government and Regeneration Committee reports on Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Parliament Local Government and Regeneration Committee has published its Stage 1 Report on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. It notes that the Bill is necessary in order that public agencies listen to and act on the priorities of communities. The Committee also calls for disadvantaged communities to be given proper support to make use of the Bill.

The Committee refers to "principles espoused by the Christie Commission", including participationCESB image and building on the assets of people and communities, and highlights the timeliness of the Bill in this regard, stating:

"Much of the Bill, particularly those parts giving rights to communities and groups, has become necessary as a consequence of the failure of public authorities and agencies to listen and to act on communities' priorities and to embrace the principles espoused by the Christie Commission"

SCDC's colleague Peter Taylor, Policy Consultant for CDAS has identified sections of the Committee's report that are of particular relevance to community development and community organisations (see more on Peter's Twitter page).  For instance, the Committee recognises the need for disadvantaged communities to be given adequate support to take advantage of the Bill's provisions.  The report states:

"Strengthening communities is however a fundamental area, unless measures are in place and adequately resourced the aims of the bill in relation to empowering communities are bound to fail. We look forward to the views of the Government in relation to the funding of capacity building, recognising the long term aim must be to build capacity directly into communities. We expect the Government to state the current amount spent on community capacity building and the extent to which that will increase as the bill is implemented." 

and...

"There should be an explicit requirement on all CPPs to include community capacity building in local plans and to report on progress along with setting out future plans in every annual report".

Furthermore, in line with SCDC's submission to the Committee, the report advocates that the Bill strengthens requirments on community planning partnerships to involve communities, and that engagement by community planning partnerships should refer to the National Standards for Community Engagement.

"We remain concerned local communities are not sufficiently and directly involved with CPPs. The Bill should require CPPs to seek involvement and input from a level below that of community representatives."

"We were pleased to learn from the Minister that he intends to bring forward an amendment at Stage 2 to strengthen accountability in community planning partnerships by extending and expanding their duties to consult people by reference to the national standards on engagement."

Read the full report from the Local Government and Regeneration Committee here.