New way to participate in decision-making
A new process has been introduced to help community groups talk to public authorities about local issues and local services.
As a result of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, communities across Scotland can now have more say in the decisions that affect them through what are known as ‘participation requests’.
If groups have suggestions to put forward, they can make a participation request to discuss these with public bodies such as councils, the NHS and the Police.
The aim is to allow groups such as Community Councils and other eligible community bodies to ask to participate in discussions with public service organisations about issues that are important to them.
Communities might use the process to discuss ways to better meet the needs of people who use a particular service, to offer volunteers to support a service, or even propose to take over the delivery of the service themselves.
Participation requests need to have a clear purpose and objective. The Act emphasises it is important that community groups and public service authorities engage in dialogue at an early stage, before a formal participation request is submitted.
This will help to ensure that when a participation request is submitted, it is well thought-out, appropriate and is focused on making improvements.
If you are part of a community body that wants to make a participation request, Orkney Islands Council is happy to discuss this with you. We can provide support and assistance to community bodies that are:
- Considering the option of making a participation request.
- In the process of making a participation request.
- Participating in an ‘outcome improvement process’.
An outcome improvement process is described by the Scottish Government as a ‘change that results from what organisations provide or deliver – for example, an improved environment and increase in physical activity levels arising from the development of a community park. A participation request must set out the outcome that the community participation body wants to improve’.
To discuss a participation request, please contact Anna Whelan on 01856873535 extension 2160, or by email.
More information is available here.