The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, paving the way for royal approval later this year. The legislation, when implemented, should give more rights to communities in the following areas:
- Community Right to Request to purchase or use property – allows underused or unused public sector assets to be taken over by community bodies.
- The right to “Request to Participate in Processes to Improve Outcomes of Service Delivery” – where a community is unhappy with a local service they can request to participate in processes to improve outcomes or take over services.
- Increased transparency about common good assets – includes a register of common good assets to be created by each local authority. Community Councils will have a new statutory role in relation to this.
- A compulsory right for communities to purchase land for community use – this will improve and extend on the existing community right to buy in rural areas.
- Compulsory powers for communities to acquire neglected or abandoned buildings or land more generally.
- Placing Community Planning on a statutory footing – includes measures which clarify the roles and responsibilities of CPPs and places 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.
- Community rights in relation to the provision of allotments – The Bill states that policy on allotment provision should be demand led. If demand exceeds supply local authorities must consider additional land acquisition.
GCVS consulted on and responded to requests for third sector input into the formation of the Bill and and worked with out partners in the Third Sector Forum to respond to the draft Bill last year. We are now looking forward to it receiving Royal Assent and passing into legislation. Implementation will be subject to the development of statutory guidance to accompany the Act and GCVS will report on any opportunities that arise for influencing this in due course.
Source: Scottish Parliament