Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Scottish Borders Community Council Scheme

Continue consideration of current Scheme.  (Attached)



4.1       With reference to paragraph 3 of Minute of 21 January 2021, members of the Group continued consideration of the current Scottish Borders Community Council Scheme:


(a)     Nomination of Candidates

Reference was made to those serving prison sentences and whether they should be prohibited from standing for election to a Community Council.  The Chief Legal Officer advised that a check would need to be made on the Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation.  Consideration should also be given to those who were bankrupt/sequestrated.   



AGREED that the Chief Legal Officer and Clerk to the Council would bring a proposal to the next meeting on exclusions from standing for election to or being a member of a Community Council.  


(b)     Voting Arrangements

No suggestions were made for any changes.             


(c)     General Provisions

Paragraph 11.9 of the Scheme referred to special meetings of Community Councils being held on receipt of a requisition signed by 20 electors, and a meeting of the Community Council would then be held to consider the business.  However, this may need reworded as a Community Council could consider business but not reach a decision, so it would be better to include a resolution/outcome to be sought within the requisition, and perhaps “consider, discuss and resolve” could be added.  Assurance was also needed that this clause could not be removed in a Community Council constitution.  It was felt that paragraph 12.2 (The constitution to be adopted shall not conflict with the terms of this Scheme) should cover that.  There was further discussion on whether such a requisition could include giving the public the right to vote on a “no confidence” motion in the Community Council and dissolve it.  This may be included as part of a complaints procedure.



AGREED to revisit the wording in paragraph 11.9 of the Scheme regarding requisitions for special meetings of Community Councils.


(d)     Constitutions

Paragraph 12.1(b) referred to committees of Community Councils and this needed to be expanded either here or elsewhere in the Scheme. 


(e)     Financial Provisions

No specific changes were proposed at this time.


(f)      Common Election Date

Councillor Robson referred to Yetholm Community Council which had a rolling set of elections to keep experienced Community Councillors and therefore maintain continuity.  This should be built in to the current Scheme as an option.  The Group did not favour having a common election date for Community Councils but a common date within each Area Partnership locality may be helpful in encouraging greater participation, should all Community Councils in the area agree to this. 




(g)     Mutual Exchange of Information

Councillor McAteer asked about the role of SBC in publishing Community Council details, agendas and Minutes and the Clerk to the Council advised that while
agendas and Minutes were received, read and stored by SBC, they were not published, as that was left to each Community Council.  A request was made for help in this area from CGI.  In response to a question about a Community Council enquiry system, the Clerk advised that the Community Council mailbox was used for the receipt of agendas and Minutes and also any enquiries, both from Community Councils and also members of the public.  This could be added to the Scheme. 



AGREED that the Clerk to the Council would check on the option of CGI providing some support to Community Councils.        


(h)     Schedule 1 – Community Council Seats

The Group discussed the need for a formula/reason for the numbers of members of each Community Council and also to move them to Area Partnership localities rather than the old District Council areas.  Any changes to the boundaries of Community Council areas would also need to considered and Community Councils invited to submit any proposals to the Working Group.



AGREED to consider other Schemes and how the allocation of Community Councils members was agreed.


(i)      Schedule 2 – Community Council Elections

The Clerk to the Council asked whether it would be helpful to produce an Elections Handbook for Community Councils, with details of the processed needed to run an election.  Consideration should also be given to having this, along with any forms,  available electronically.



AGREED to consider further the development of an Elections Handbook for Community Councils. 


4.2       The Chief Legal Officer then referred to the Local Authority Councillors’ Code of Conduct which was currently under review.  Some significant changes were being proposed although it would not be considered by Scottish Parliament until after the election in May 2021.  Some of the key elements were around respect, including respect for the Chair.  There was a suggestion that it would be good to include an equalities statement within the Code.



AGREED to circulate a copy of the current Code of Conduct for Local Authority Councillors to members of the Group to consider what, if any, elements could be included in a Community Councillors’ Code of Conduct. 


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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