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Stronger voice for communities

Published: 20 Dec 2016 12:15

Community planning legislation comes into force.

A new law which requires local public services to involve communities in their work comes into force today.

Part two of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 places new expectations on public services to work together with local communities to make a positive difference on the issues that matter most in local areas.

The legislation means local public sector bodies like councils, NHS boards and Police Scotland must secure the participation of communities through working together in community planning, ensuring services are shaped to meet local needs.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart marked the start of the legislation by visiting Lochee Hub in Dundee. The Hub, which opened three months ago, was a response to calls for a community space in the area, and now offers a wide range of health and wellbeing provision, as well as a space for community groups to use.

Mr Stewart said:

“When people have greater control of their own future, they are more engaged and are able to tackle barriers to making their communities wealthier and fairer. By putting legislation in place, we are making it clear that consultation is no longer enough and that the participation of communities in decision making is vital.

“When the Community Empowerment Bill was passed last year, it was a momentous step in our drive to decentralise decisions and give people a stronger voice in their communities. My visit to Dundee today has shown the types of meaningful action this can result in – Lochee Hub is a fantastic example of how the community has come together with Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside and voluntary organisations to create a space that people in the area were crying out for. It is yet more proof that public bodies can get better results by working together with communities so that services improve for the people who use them.”

Ken Guild, Chair of the Dundee Partnership, said: "Lochee is a great place to live and we want to work with people to make it even better.

“The Hub offers a space where children and families can come together to enjoy themselves, learn, support each other and get access to important services, all in the heart of Lochee.

“I know that local people are already starting to feel at home in the Hub and I hope that the whole community take it to their hearts.

“It is a great example of a local community and local public services working closely together to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

 The Dundee Partnership is committed to making that type of constructive impact so we welcome the new legislation which comes into force today, particularly because it focuses community planning as a powerful way to make this happen.”