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August 13, 2008

LPL Community Empowerment Wish List

Scottish Government has decided to shape its Community Empowerment Action Plan in the context of a joint working group with COSLA – on which LPL is represented. We have been invited to present to that group our own preferred Action Plan.


In March 2008, Local People Leading produced a position statement reflecting the joint views of a number of leading community sector intermediaries in relation to what community empowerment is, why it is important and identified a number of key opportunities for further development. This has subsequently been revised and adapted to reflect new thinking and emerging ideas both from within the community sector itself and as a result of the Government’s and COSLA’s published Joint Commitment and emerging Action Plan.

Three key areas for action:
1. Extending community ownership of assets
Action : Publish evidence/ case studies where successful asset transfer of public assets has occurred and prepare separate guidance for Councils in the production of strategies and policies for community asset transfer
Action: Publish evidence/case studies demonstrating impact of community ownership and control of assets on community empowerment (viz a viz housing, renewable energy, community businesses)
Action: Amend Scottish Government regulations concerning disposal of land by local authorities in such as a way that makes it easier for Councils to transfer assets at less than market value
Action: Commission the production of a risk assessment and risk management toolkit in relation to transfer of public assets
Action: Establish an Asset Transfer Fund for local authorities to bid into to refurbish properties for transfer to community ownership
Action: and guidance as to how communities can use the legislation
Action: Instigate a formal review of the effectiveness and operation of the Land Reform Act allied to a national campaign to raise public awareness of the Act.

2. Renewing and revitalising local democracy
Action: Recognise and actively promote the concept of community anchor organisations highlighting the role that these organisations play in their communities in terms of providing support and resources to small and informal groups, and in the delivery of local services and the provision of other local facilities.
Action: Initiate a programme of investment and support to community anchor organisations in the most deprived communities in Scotland by establishing a scheme of independently managed, locally controlled financial endowments – enabling these organisations to become independent of grant support for their core costs.
Action: Produce guidance on models of participatory budgeting ( based on experience of Dundee CC and elsewhere)
Action: Develop early clear guidance on the future role of community councils following the Scottish Government consultation which closed 1/8/008

3. Building capacity and training
Action: A new programme of training and support for community based development workers and local residents committed to regenerating their communities (based on developing community leadership, local confidence and skills, and building effective local community infrastructure)
Action: A national programme of technical support and capacity building to be made available to communities to assist them in the process of asset acquisition and asset development
Action: Deliver training / seminars to raise awareness/ study tours for appropriate local authority officers which highlights rationale and potential benefits of asset transfer