Community Councils play an important role in local democracy by representing local views which can influence decisions in planning and the provision of local services. The Community Councils provide an effective, strong voice within each community area offering sound, local advice on a range of community issues.
Orkney Islands Council consults and depends on information and views from Community Councils and these are used in shaping local authority policies. Community Councils are regularly consulted by other public agencies on a wide range of community related issues.
Democratic Services, situated within Strategy, Performance and Business Solutions, provides a communication link between Orkney Community Councils and Orkney Islands Council.
Elections to Orkney’s Community Councils take place every five years – just after the local council elections. For most community council areas local people can put themselves forward for election and a ballot then takes place, but for smaller areas (less than 150 people) prospective community councillors are nominated by local people – and can accept or reject the nomination.
Each Community Council meets approximately every six to eight weeks and holds an average of seven meetings per year. Public or Special meetings are arranged, when necessary, to facilitate the discussion of controversial issues. Members of the public are entitled to attend and observe proceedings at any Community Council meeting.
There are several Community Councils with vacant seats and those vacancies will be filled at public meetings held early in 2023. Public meetings cannot be held within 6 months of an election.
In islands of less than 150 electors the alternative electoral system is used meaning every resident on the electoral register for that island is deemed eligible for election. The candidates with the highest number of votes are contacted in order, until there are 7 individuals who have accepted a seat on the relevant Community Council. Only the votes of those who have accepted a seat are published.
In Community Council areas which consists of more than one island or parish, each with more than 10 electors on the electoral register, one candidate from each area will be elected in the first instance. Therefore, in the case of Graemsay, Hoy and Walls Community Council there was one candidate for Graemsay who was elected and the remaining 6 seats were allocated to the candidates with the highest number of votes.
South Ronaldsay and Burray Community Council did not achieved the minimum number of 5 candidates required to establish a Community Council therefore, another election will be held in July 2023 for this Community Council area only.