What's your experience?

Tell us about your experiences of getting involved in decision-making processes that affect your local community or community of interest.

Why the contribution is important

Many people will have experienced decision-making processes that affect their lives and the public services they rely upon - whether at a national or local level.  How easy is it to get involved and have your say?  We are keen to hear what can help you share your ideas for what can help your community to thrive.  Some people may feel excluded from these decision-making processes.  It is crucial we understand the barriers experienced.

 

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

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  • Posted by eucalyptus September 12, 2018 at 14:31

    Involving community members in local government decision making processes will only be meaningful when all parties in the process are equal.

    There are many local government decisions that affect members of the public, but arguably the most obvious are planning decisions and local licensing decisions. In both cases, it does not appear that community members are equal in the decision making process and I highlight with examples:

    - In a recent planning decision in the Midlothian council area, despite a clear objection by a Community Council based on the local neighbourhood plan (supported in it's development by the local council) it was made clear in the planning report that the local neighbourhood plan was 'not a material consideration'. This sends a message that the community view is unimportant and lacking validity.

    - In the same (and a number of other planning cases) in Midlothian where legitimate, demonstrable and material objections to planning applications based on matters including residential amenity, privacy rights, road safety, and environmental impact (in most cases upheld by the professional planning officers) have been overruled by Local review Bodies or Local Councillors on the grounds of 'economic benefit'. This sends a message that business is valued higher than residents and community members.

    - In terms of licencing, the process used to consider and make decisions typically involves an 'applicant' and 'agent' (a licencing lawyer) making an application. Community members or local residents are able to object or make representations but such representations must be legally relevant and based on licensing objectives - community members and local residents typically do not receive legal support or advice, nor is there support from local councils to ensure that those making objections or representations are significantly supported through the process, or advised in a manner to allow them to present their views in a clear, relevant manner. As a result, the process is unfairly weighted in favour of applicants and agents and the public/community voice can be reduced to a 'token' point in the procedure.
  • Posted by Doctorjee September 27, 2018 at 06:45

    I have two experiences of getting involved in decision making, in common with almost all voters in Scotland - the two recent referendums.

    Regardless of whether you agree with the outcome of either, it is quite clear that both failed to resolve the issue, or settle the issue in the longer term. Both can be argued to have deepened divisions and acrimony in not just politics but in society as well.

    The conclusion I draw is that direct involvement of 'the people' in decision making has not proved successful.

    Because 'the people have spoken' politicians and others who continue to hold contrary views are branded undemocratic. Thus a 'democratic' referendum is used to undermine the authority of 'democratic' representatives.

    How will the similar tensions, which are bound to arise in local areas, be managed?

    My conclusion is that I would prefer to support elected representatives, who we allow to change their minds in light of emerging evidence, and who can be replaced over time, rather than some vague concept of 'the will of the people' which seems to then be above challenge.

    Please be careful before tinkering with the sound democratic foundations of our country.

    If sections of society feel unrepresented, the onus is on our representatives to up their game - it is not an appropriate response for them to abdicate responsibility by 'letting the people decide,' for all of the reasons expressed elsewhere in this conversation - lack of accountability, lack of 'representativeness' etc etc.

    We have evidence that this abdication on the part of our elected representatives can lock us into very grave consequences, and that our current democratic system is unable to respond appropriately.

  • Posted by ST214 November 09, 2018 at 22:25

    I am a full-time wheelchair user and have adopted the 'what's the point' attitude. I encounter so many difficulties on a daily basis and have voiced my concerns/opinions on so many occasions, but no-one listens, nothing changes, nothing seems to 'get to the person' who does care enough to take action.
  • Posted by desmartin November 12, 2018 at 11:36

    I support the wheel chair user that most members of the public are gradually worn down even if they have a legitimate point, need, view that eventually even the most persistent give up. The system needs reviewing as to how ordinary but very able people can all participate and feel they are valued.
  • Posted by HealthProfessional November 12, 2018 at 18:58

    I am horrifed to discover that, despite the amassing scientific & other evidence, the rapidly accruing first hand experiences of residents close to 5G installations / masts - against the knowledgable impassioned advice of military weapons experts & scientists, 5G is intended to cover the whole of Scotland. A collossal act of collective vandalism for the benefit of huge telecommunications companies - effectively selling the people to these companies to experiment on. No amount of improvement to the speed of communication for people running busineses in Orkney & other remote areas, no short-term rise in income & illusory 'connectedness' & efficiency will compensate the population, long term, for the suicides, cancers, dying birds, dying trees, mentally disturbed & suicidal people, the vastly escalating costs of medical interventions & the total end of democracy. It would seem to me to be your absolute duty to bring all the information easily & publicly to the notice of all Scottish residents. Not on your website but in every school, community centre, station, bus, train, cafe ...
    Where in Scotland will people who do not wish to live in a toxic technologised environment go? Will you create 4G & 5G -free zones - like reservations? What about our increasing population of vulnerable & highly sensitive people & children, already affected by environamntal toxins & social stressors, unable to live or thrive in the field of such technologies? The calculations should be openly published: How many deaths, mental disorders, cancers, suicides etc will be tolerated & regarded as collateral damage & as cost-effective? Will you protect those who do not wish to participate from intrusive 5G installations in space? For those who wish & are able to live a deeply wisdom-led, well researched, nature-based life & are skilled in the understanding of natural bodily 'technology' to heal disease, communicate over space & time, & perform many other functions our simplistic, materialist (18th Century Cartesian) education has led us to to believe are impossible, will, you provide for these people?
    I have worked as an Allied health professional for 35 years, & am a post-graduate professional trainer for highly qualified & experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, therapists and medical professionals. I regularly witness supposed 'impossible' or 'merely coincidental' occurrences in the course of this work, which is equipping professionals with access to, & skills in applying, the profoundly senstive faculties & quantum scientific knowledge that is transforming how we understand & practice communication & heal serious, supposedly incurable, inherited disease conditions. The fundamental non-necessity of this 5G technology, as simply a symptom of all that our sosicety lacks in wisdom & all olur dormant / neglected faculties, makes its imposition even more tragic & unacceptable.
    What about people's freedom & right to live in & breathe air waves 'clean' of dangerous microwave technology? I was, many years ago, personally a victim of attack by microwave technology & witnessed first hand the mental breakdown, sickenss & permanent psycho-physical damage done to harmless innocents. I choose to live in a rural location for a healihy life for my family & this will destroy it. Our village is already awash with overlapping wifi signals & people have already moved away, unable to bear the headaches, dizziness sleep disturbances, nausea, tinnitus, nosebleeds .& genral nervous distress. We do not need more of this technoly - we need to stop & seriously face the significant multiple health impacts of what we currently are exposed to - this is surely basic responsible health care!
    I have supported, & then been a member of, the SNP for over 20 years but will oppose this misguided and profoundly unecological aggression towards the population, wildlife & nature of Scotland. Only the providing companies stand to benefit. The government & populace will have to foot the bill for the massive fall out of negative consequences. It seems absolutely tragic to introduce such toxicity into a country whose world-wide reputation for pristine beauty & freedom of nature is its hallmark & a major tourist attraction, with all the revenue that could bring. We are already at risk from the foolhardy fracking in England whose geological & other consequences cannot be contained, & the once iconic, spectacular magnificence of the A9 is already diminished by ugly mega pilons when the technology for localised, small-scale electricity production has been available for decades. Is the Scottish government really going to honour our amazing heritage by allowing this to be a radically innovative, creative nation, rich in young people easily capable of developing ecologically brilliant technologies & an education system for the 21st century & beyond, based in paradigms of quantum connection & interdependence ? or will you think only small & short term, & sell us out to the delusional ambitions of a small, but too powerful, lobby of, in my view, psychologcally sociopathic, somatically uneducated, ecologically unaware & dangerously immature individuals & companies fullof hubris - willing to exploit anything for their own gain & an abstract fantasy of a 'connected' world that already is! via nature? that we have forgotten but could wake up to. Thank you for this space to voice my concerns & for your time reading this.
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