‘The Scottish Government is committed to our communities being supported to do things for themselves – community empowerment – and to people having their voices heard in the planning and delivery of services – community engagement and participation’
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides a legal framework that will promote and encourage community empowerment and participation, by creating new rights for community bodies and placing new duties on public authorities. The measures in the Act also place new duties on public sector partners to play a full and active role in community planning, and the resourcing and delivery of local priority outcomes.
Implications of the New Legislation
Overall, the Act will help to empower community bodies through the ownership or control of land and buildings, and by strengthening their voices in decisions about public services.
- As a consequence of this Act, Community Planning now has a statutory purpose focused on improving outcomes: Explicitly about how public bodies work together and with the local community to plan for, resource and provide services which improve local outcomes in the local authority area.
- The Act also seeks to strengthen communities’ participation in community planning by requiring CPPs to take all reasonable steps to secure the involvement in community planning of any community body which it considers is likely to be able to contribute to it, particularly community bodies which represent those communities experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
- The Act provides a new way for communities to initiate dialogue with public service authorities on their own terms, through new participation requests. It also makes significant changes to the legislative frameworks surrounding Community Right to Buy and Asset Transfer Requests, to the benefit of local communities.
It is anticipated that the various provisions of the Act will come into force during 2016/17 and further guidance from Scottish Government, to support its implementation, will also be published.
As Community Empowerment continues to develop in East Ayrshire, regular updates will continue to be provided to the Community Planning Partnership Board.