The Scottish Government recently ran a consultation on the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill (CERB). The consultation document was made up of three main sections:

  • Strengthening community participation
  • Unlocking enterprising community development
  • Renewing our communities

Over the past couple of months we have attend various events and meetings to learn more about CERB and discuss the opportunities it presents. These have been mainly organised by organisations that we are either members of or affiliated to, including the Community Development Alliance Scotland, the Development Trust Association Scotland, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector and the Scottish Community Alliance.

The Development Trust Association Scotland submitted a very thorough response and included some very interesting aspects based on the collective experience of the organisation and their members, who are spread across the whole of Scotland.

Key points from the DTAS response include a number of first principles which they share with other Scottish community-led networks:

  • Self-determination. Local people should be allowed to determine for themselves how their community is defined and which local organisational structure/structures is/are best suited to take forward their programme of local empowerment.
  • Local people leading. Community empowerment best occurs when local people lead the process of taking power and resources to themselves. Any community empowerment strategy needs to encourage and support communities in this bottom-up activity.
  • Subsidiarity. In line with much of Europe, we believe that subsidiarity is a crucial organising principle. The proposition that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralised authority capable of addressing that matter effectively. This principle should inform all aspects of public policy in Scotland.

DTAS also commented:

“The purpose of Community Planning needs to be clarified … and the use of the word ‘community’ removed from the title of the activity” and “ In the interests of plain English, the term ‘Community Planning Partnerships’ should be changed to ‘Public Services Strategic Planning Partnerships’ “.

The consultation closed on 26 September and the next steps in the process are for all the responses to be analysed and then the draft Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill will be prepared. A report on the consultation process will be published in November 2012. The Government will then hold a consultation on the draft Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill in Spring 2013.

The Community Development Association Scotland have put together links to other responses to the consultation on their website.