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Power to the people?

A BILL proposing to hand more decision making powers to Scotland’s local communities is going out to consultation over the next week.
Participatory budgeting has already been explored in Lerwick’s Staney Hill and Sound communities, where local people have chosen where to spend money in their locale.
The Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill is looking at taking the concept, which originated in Porto Alegre, Brazil, further.

how to involve communities in setting local budgets, identifying needs and priorities and targeting investment.

Issues the bill examines include:

  • involving communities in setting local budgets and identifying local priorities;
  • allowing community organisations to help design public services;
  • challenging local authorities on the services they provide;
  • assisting social housing tenants to manage their own housing; and
  • helping communities develop allotments and grow your own projects.

Local government minister Derek Mackay said: “The consultation I will launch this week will look at how communities could be given more power at the most local level.

“Local people are best placed to understand their own spending priorities, and it is right they should have a say in how public sector organisations spend their budgets, and a say in how those organisations deliver services.

“No one knows better what is working on the ground than the people who actually use a service – and this consultation will find out ways to give them more of a say.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021