November 19, 2014
Hobson’s choice for community councils
During discussions on local democracy at the Rural Parliament, the hoary issue of community councils surfaced time and time again. Some delegates argued they should be scrapped while others thought they could be saved with some radical reform. Since their national umbrella body imploded a few years ago, there has been nothing – other than localised networking – to offer Scotland’s 1,200 community councils any meaningful support or leadership. Into that vacuum, Scottish Government, CoSLA and the Improvement Service have produced this. Bit of a Hobson’s choice methinks.
A recommendation from the Short-Life Working Group included the need for modern methods of communication to encourage and enable the sharing of good practice, support and experience with other community councillors. Other recommendations included the need for Local Authority information and support for Community Councils to be more publicly available, and that Community Councils need to be more inclusive and representative of the communities they live in.
In response to these recommendations and as part of the Scottish Government’s on-going work in collaboration with COSLA, to enhance the role of Scotland’s Community Councils, the Improvement Service has developed a Community Council website. The purpose of the website, which went live in November 2014, is to raise awareness of Community Councils amongst the general public and to provide a national digital source of information for Community Councillors to help them in their work. The website also includes a Community Council Location Finder designed by Edinburgh Napier University which is a map for members of the public to find their nearest Community Council.