1. Background and Context
About this report
1. This report provides an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government consultation on draft regulations and guidance associated with participation requests under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
2. The Christie Commission recommended that Government should seek to strengthen communities' voices in shaping the services which affect them. Evidence shows that involving people more regularly and more effectively in the decisions that affect them leads to better outcomes, making the most of the knowledge and talent that lies in communities. It also increases confidence and fosters more positive relationships between communities and the public sector.
3. Participation requests are a new process which will allow a community body to enter into dialogue with public authorities about local issues and local services on their terms. Where a community body believes it could help to improve an outcome it will be able to request that the public body takes part in a process to improve that outcome. Community bodies might use the Act to discuss with service providers how they could better meet the needs of users, to offer volunteers to support a service or even propose to take over the delivery of the service themselves. It will be for the public body, following an outcome improvement process, to decide whether to make any changes to existing service delivery arrangements.
4. Part 3 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 sets out the process for how participation requests will work. In simplified terms:
- A community body puts forward a participation request to a public service authority asking them to take part in a process that will improve the outcome set out by the community body.
- The public service authority must agree to the request and set up a process unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal. If it refuses the request, it must explain the reasons.
- At the end of the process the public service authority must publish a report on whether the outcomes were improved and how the community participation body contributed to that improvement.
5. More details on the Act can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/engage/CommEmpowerBill
6. The Scottish Government consulted on draft regulations and guidance associated with participation requests from 21 March 2016 to 22 June 2016. The consultation can be found at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/community-empowerment-unit/participation-request-regulations
Submissions and respondents
7. A total of 102 responses were received, with the majority of responses (60) from public sector organisations.. The types of respondent are set out in Table 1 and a list of the organisational respondents that gave permission for their response and name to be published is available in Annex 1.
Table 1. Respondents by category
|Category||Number||Proportion of total responses|
|Third Sector Organisations||30||29%|
|Community Planning Partnerships||9||9%|
|Other Public Sector||11||11%|
8. The vast majority of responses were submitted via the online system, Citizen Space, established for consultation responses. Where responses were submitted by email or hard copy, Scottish Government officials entered them manually onto the Citizen Space system to create one complete database of responses and to aid comparison of views and analysis.
9. The full responses are published and can be viewed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/community-empowerment-unit/participation-request-regulations/consultation/published_select_respondent
Analysis and presentation of the information
10. The analysis of responses is presented by order of the questions raised in the consultation paper. The analysis is based on the views of only those who responded to the consultation. Qualitative terms (e.g. "a small number", "a few", "several", "many" etc.) have been used in places to indicate the prevalence of opinion within the body of respondents to this consultation, however, it is important to note that the views and extent of opinions cannot be taken to be necessarily representative of the wider population.
11. The consultation contained 13 questions, all inviting an open response format and four also included a closed (Yes/No) element. The analysis presents the proportion of respondents who answered yes or no, where applicable, and the range of views and key themes arising from the qualitative, open response sections.
12. The report summarises the themes and issues raised and provide an indication of the range and depth of views, but is not intended to provide a compendium of the consultation material, nor present every individual point made. The full text of the responses can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.
13. The term "respondent" refers to one response, even if it represents the views of more than one contributor.
Email: Ian Turner