New move to enhance public participation in public decisions

A change to the Community Empowerment Bill, agreed by the Local Government and Regeneration Committee last week, encourages public bodies to promote and facilitate participation with people and communities in decision making and budget setting.  It also gives Ministers powers to require public bodies to engage if they fail to do so.

Speaking at the Community Development Alliance Scotland conference in Glasgow, Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi said:

“Involving people and communities in decision-making unquestionably makes for better decisions.
“As the referendum demonstrated, people will get involved when they understand the issues at stake and know that they can make a difference. It’s my job to harness that enthusiasm and make it clear that people know their voice matters.

“Participation is about more than consulting, it is about empowering communities to shape decisions and have a say on how ideas are delivered.

“18 Scottish councils have taken up the Government’s offer of training and support for participatory budgeting projects, giving communities the chance to have their say on local budgets.  That helps build community capacity while ensuring the public sector understands local needs and priorities and can target budgets more effectively to improve services.

“More participation brings fresh perspectives, strengthens democracy and will help build a
fairer Scotland.”

Fiona Gaven, Chair of  Community Development Alliance Scotland said:

“CDAS welcomes the changes to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill which will pave the way for communities to be involved in meaningful decisions about how public money is spent.  

“We are encouraged that the legislation will also require processes to be put in place to support communities and community organisations to engage with public bodies to raise awareness of local issues and to contribute to more effective shaping and delivery of local services.

Click here for more on the progress of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill through the Scottish Parliament.

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