Community decision-making in Scotland

People across Scotland are being invited to join a conversation about community decision-making to help make public services more locally focused.

The Democracy Matters conversation will identify new legal rights for communities which would place them at the heart of decision-making.

As part of the conversation, people are being invited to consider a short set of questions on shaping local democracy. Community groups can also apply for grants of up to £300 to host their own events related to the project.

The campaign asks five key questions about how decisions should be made at a more local level. It asks whether communities, of place or identity, should have more control of decisions and what those might be. It also asks how this should look and what new or existing decision-making processes could be used.

Communities secretary Angela Constance said: ‘The start of the Democracy Matters conversation is an important moment for community decision-making in Scotland. We believe that more decisions about public services should be taken locally and that communities should be able to influence those decisions.

‘We want to hear from people across Scotland about the issues they want decisions on in their neighbourhood, town or village, and the kind of arrangements that would help that happen.”

COSLA president Alison Evison said: ‘Across the country, it is widely recognised that Scotland needs local solutions to the opportunities and challenges it faces.

‘The conversation is a vital contribution to the change that is needed across all spheres of government to make Scotland a more democratic place, and to ensure that Scotland’s public services are built around the communities they serve.’

Scottish Community Alliance director Angus Hardie said: ‘As things stand, communities often find that the really important issues that affect them the most are decided without their involvement and in faraway places. But if democracy is working well, most of those decisions would be taken much closer to these communities and often by local people themselves.

‘Democracy Matters is a rare opportunity for communities everywhere – especially for those groups whose voice doesn’t always get heard – to become involved and to re-imagine how democracy can be made to work for everyone.’

For more information on how to take part, click here.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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