Would you like your local community or community of interest to have more control over some decisions? If yes, what sorts of issues would those decisions cover?

Why the contribution is important

Democracy in Scotland works in different ways.  People have the opportunity to go to the ballot box at various elections to elect their representatives who are democratically accountable for making decisions in their name. People are also increasingly playing a more active role in ensuring that their voice is heard when decisions are made about the issues they care about most in local communities, and by taking decisions for themselves. This review is about identifying new approaches that will ensure these different ways of taking decisions complement each other to best effect.


by LocalGovernanceAdmin on May 24, 2018 at 03:25PM

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  • Posted by Andy55 July 04, 2018 at 19:41

    We don't necessarily have most in common with those we live closest to. For this reason I am not in favour of creating a small scale tier of governance below the current local authorities. I am much more attracted to communities of interest, where people with knowledge and experience can become involved in decision making on those subjects they know or care most about.

    We don't need a new permanent tier of governance, but rather the opportunity to become involved on an ad-hoc basis when a decision actually needs to be made. This 'conversation' is a model of how such involvement could work.

    Rather than a local decision making body, tasked with being expert in all and any aspect of public policy or service delivery, harness the knowledge of service users and providers and other people with knowledge of the subject in an ad-hoc, short term, focused manner when making decisions.
  • Posted by LocalGovernanceAdmin July 06, 2018 at 13:02

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by LocalGovernanceAdmin July 06, 2018 at 13:06

    Hi Andy, Jen from LGR Team here. Firstly, thank you for all of your input, you seem to have put a lot of thought into all of your responses! Responses like this are the kind of responses we were hoping for in order to spark debate and make people think.
    Looking forward to hearing what others have to say on this topic.
  • Posted by Swannie July 27, 2018 at 14:03

    My thoughts are generally aimed more at rural than urban:
    speed limits and fines
    bin/recycling collections
    parks, green spaces and public areas
    car parking and fines
    provision of public bathrooms and other ammenities
    planning permission
    sport facilities and activities
    public transport
    environmental issues (e.g. limiting use of plastic by local businesses, recycling)

  • Posted by WeeGrue August 01, 2018 at 22:07

    I like Andy55's idea for ad hoc, well qualified decision groups. This is probably how successful businesses work, devolving decisions to specialist groups, who need to justify their decisions to those in authority. In a democracy, of course, the people's representatives are the authority. Which makes me think: Is Andy55's proposal not the way that things work at present in theory?

    I also like Swannie's list. However I can't help thinking that it's hard to know how to separate regional decisions from community ones in areas like infrastructure and public transport.
  • Posted by Doctorjee September 18, 2018 at 20:05

    My contribution is that localism isn't always positive and beneficial. It can have significant negative consequences.

    The example I would like to bring to your attention is in the field of health. Most people would instinctively resist the centralisation of medical services - yet it is my opinion that centers of excellence can provide significantly better care, with better results for patients, that some of the smaller facilities they replace. Of course no-one likes the inconvenience of travel, but no-one should be subjected to sub-optimal care in the name of convenience, or a misguided attachment to outdated local facilities.

    Could it be that the same arguments also apply to other public services?

    In this case letting the people decide may not be the best course of action. I may sound hopelessly out of touch - but what is wrong with trusting the experts?
  • Posted by desmartin November 12, 2018 at 11:30

    Communities of interest and the list of areas that have been commented and posted are a good start, I like Andys idea as often in small communities there are very diverse views on what action to take. An example of a local CC consultation with residents of a small town on what should be done as a form of redevelopment of a certain area has resulted in very different views from residents compared to the general townsfolk. Residents don't want to give up their spacious but in some peoples view eyesore flats to others who want it all removed.
  • Posted by Aspinall November 30, 2018 at 09:20

    I have a slight problem with a community of interest and that is how is it ensured that all within that community are engaged in an issue. It is difficult enough with geographical boundaries. There may also be a risk that a dominant voice within that community of interest has a disproportionate effect. How does an ordinary member of the public influence this community? At least in the system we have at the moment you can vote out someone.
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