Put some power into new empowerment law

Enthused old folk web

MSPs are calling on community groups to help shape a new law aiming to give them more power over public services

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6th October 2014 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

People and organisations that want to have more say in how services in their area are developed are being urged to get in touch with MSPs to help mould new community empowerment laws.

A short video from the Scottish Parliament’s local government committee explains what the proposed Community Empowerment Bill would mean for local people.

The new law will mean that public bodies will be forced to listen to community organisations that have suggestions for how services can be improved.

Allan Farmer, manager of community group Whale Arts in Edinburgh's Westerhailes area, welcomed the bill.

Speaking on the film, he said: “We’re aware of the opportunities, aspirations and needs that local people have. One of our functions is to try to articulate that to public bodies.

“If I’m honest, it is a varied experience. Sometimes it doesn’t work as effectively as it might, but when the community's views are respected as those of an equal partner by a public body, then the impact can be really positive.”

The committee is asking people a series of question about what they think of the proposed new laws, including whether they would use the new right and if not why not.

Local government committee convener Kevin Stewart MSP said: “It’s about participation, that’s key to all of this. We want as many folk involved in helping shape the services that are delivered so that they have their say and can ask for improvements.”

The video is being shared with community groups across Scotland and MSPs are urging them to get in touch in response to its questions. 

Later this month, the committee will also visit Dumfries to hear direct from some groups about their views on the bill.