Ariane Burgess MSP encourages individuals and groups to take part in consultation
Accountability, open and encouraged participation, equal opportunities and power sharing. These are the four key principles that set out how the Scottish Parliament should work and that have guided how we should seek to legislate since devolution in 1999.
One of the landmark pieces of legislation that sought to capture all these principles was the 2015 Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, which was ambitious in its scope and aspiring in its reach.
Comprised of 11 parts, covering different areas relating to community empowerment and public participation in policy and planning, it aimed to empower communities to do more for themselves and have more say in decisions that affect them.
Part 2 of the act focuses on community planning and created a statutory basis for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs), placing duties on them to involve community bodies in the delivery of local outcomes and to produce “locality plans” for particularly disadvantaged areas.
The aim was to improve how organisations such as local government, health boards and the police work together with other partners to improve local outcomes in an area.
These CPPs operate across all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities to help identify priorities and share resources to deliver services for people.
Seven years on, the Local Government, Planning and Housing Committee has launched a new inquiry which will examine the impact of the act on community planning and how CPPs have responded to significant events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging cost of living crisis.
We want to hear from organisations directly involved in Community Planning Partnerships as well as communities and individuals about the impact the partnerships have had.
Our call for views is available on the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Space website until the 30 December.
There are two different ways to respond to our inquiry, with the call for views aimed at members of Community Planning Partnerships, both organisations and individuals, which asks a number of detailed questions about how the partnerships operate.
Additionally, there is also a shorter survey available which we would encourage other organisations or individuals who have an interest in community planning to complete.
By responding you can help us scrutinise the effectiveness of the Community Empowerment Act on improving community planning. We intend to make recommendations to the Scottish Government for change if it is needed to help empower communities, individuals and improve outcomes for people across Scotland.
Ariane Burgess MSP is convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee.