Replacing Community Councils with Development Councils

I am currently a community councillor for the Gilmerton Inch area.  We deal with more planning applications than any other council within the city, resulting in council meetings being dominated by planning issues at expense of other local issues.

Our planning sub group has been frustrated by the lack of responsiveness from Edinburgh CC staff and the knowledge that there is no requirement to take account of our input in any subsequent decision making.

I strongly believe that, for local democracy to function effectively, local bodies like community councils need to be given decision making powers and budgets to support those decisions.  Empowering community councils will not necessarily lead to more effective local democracy as it would have to successfully meet the challenge of overcoming the public perception that they are toothless which could lead to the continuation of low participation by voters in elections.

Given the situation described above I wish to add my support for the submission presented by Common Weal entitled "Development Councils: A proposal for a new system of local democracy in Scotland." The submission contains proposals that I believe could address many of the shortcomings being experienced under current arrangements.

Recommendations that I would strongly support include:

-Replacement of community councils by development councils with decision making powers and budgets

-Local elections to be held on the same day in every community to boost awareness of and participation in local elections

-In years when there is not an election to the Development Councils an annual Community Assembly must be held in which everyone who is eligible to vote has a right to meet and discuss the progress of the work of the Devlopment Councils in an open forum.  

Thank you

 

Why the contribution is important

This idea is important because it would provide a real opportunity for greater empowerment of citizens.  Local democracy is currently in a woeful state with the majority of citizens disengaged from what is happening in their communities, due largely to feeling that their voices are not heard by people in power.

The Community Empowerment Act 2015 talks about more decision making being made at the local level and agencies working in partnership.  In Edinburgh there is little evidence of this objective being translated into practice with consultation, rather than effective involvement in decision making, still being the norm.

by candles40 on November 30, 2018 at 05:09PM

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