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Community Councils (Strengthening)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd March 2016.

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Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

9. To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to strengthening community councils. (S4O-05704)

Photo of Marco Biagi Marco Biagi Scottish National Party

Although local authorities have statutory oversight of community councils, the Government has been working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Improvement Service and Edinburgh Napier University to further enhance their role.

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

Does the minister share my concern that, although we want to push power down to local communities below the city council level, it is difficult when many community councils are not active, or are kept going only by a very small band of people?

Photo of Marco Biagi Marco Biagi Scottish National Party

I share that concern. Community councils that do not feel listened to will not attract people and will struggle to recruit. Our work includes a website to support community councils; digital engagement workshops to support them in recruiting new people; and a fairer Scotland community council event that we are hosting, to which all community councils are invited.

Last year, I met the national body for English parish and town councils to learn more about their system. I would describe myself as actively interested, but any further work would be for the next Administration, of which I will clearly not be a part, to take forward.