Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Presentation - Community Empowerment Act - C. Malster, Strategic Community Engagement Officer.


7.1    Clare Malster, Communities and Partnerships Team, was in attendance to give a presentation on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. In her introduction Ms Malster advised that although the Act, which was made up of 11 parts, received Royal Assent on 24 July 2015, it was recognised that further regulations and guidance were required for most parts of the legislation. Part 2 was about Community Planning and more specifically local organisations working to benefit the local community. This would be carried out through joint working, agreeing joint policies and making sure partners knew what each other was doing.  Community Planning Partners, who had a statutory duty, were the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland, NHS Borders, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council (SBC). All these partners had the same statutory responsibility. The Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) replaced Single Outcome Agreements. The LOIP would contain the outcomes for the Scottish Borders that were a priority for the Community Planning Partnership. Appropriate community groups must be consulted when developing the LOIP. Subject to the approval of Scottish Parliament the legislation would come into force on 20 December 2016. 


7.2    Locality plans focused on smaller areas, and again appropriate community groups must be consulted. Part 3 of the Act concerned Participation Requests. Ms Malster explained that a participation request was a request that could be made by a community participation body which believed it could improve the outcome of a service. The request must be agreed unless there were reasonable grounds for refusal. It was hoped that this part of the Act would come into force in February/March 2017. Part 4 of the Act dealt with Community Right to Buy.  Ms Malster explained that communities with populations over 10,000, would now be able to use community right to buy.  Part 5 of the Act was regarding Asset Transfer requests. Assets were land or buildings owned by public authorities. Public authorities would be required to publish a register of their assets and Scottish Borders Council had published their register on their website. Ms Malster went on to explain that a group could request to buy or lease land from a public authority if it had a written constitution, was open to anyone in the community, was community led and was for the benefit of the community. This part of the Act would come into force on 23 January 2017.  Part 8 of the Act was the requirement for all Councils to publish a list of all their Common Good properties, Councils would have to consult with community councils or other community groups before selling or changing the use of any of their common good properties. Part 9 of the Act dealt with allotments. The Act set out a standard size of 250 square metres for an allotment and applications for allotments would be required to be submitted in writing.   Part 10 was in respect of public decision making. This part of the Act would give Scottish Ministers the power to require that public authorities, such as SBC, promoted and supported the involvement of the community in the decision and activities of the organisation. In concluding her presentation, Ms Malster advised that further information on the Act could be found on the website at:   The Chairman thanked Ms Malster for her informative presentation.



         NOTED the presentation.





Scottish Borders Council

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