My thanks to the team at the Improvement Service for the new and improved community council website. The website will provide a platform to share information on key national policies, examples of good practice from community councils across Scotland, an enhanced location finder which includes live public information notices and much more. In collaboration with COSLA, this website is part of a Scottish Government package of support aimed at enhancing the role of community councils, along with funding digital engagement workshops and hosting networking events for Community Council Liaison Officers. I am pleased to also share with you today the report from Edinburgh Napier University following the workshops.
Community Councils have been at the forefront of community life in Scotland for the past 40 years, representing the voices of the local community and bringing an important local dimension to the development and delivery of services. I was delighted to meet Community Councillors at a Fairer Scotland event in September last year to hear views on how Scotland could be a fairer and more equal place to live.
There are many community engagement tools for Community Councillors to get involved with and influence locally. This includes participatory budgeting which gives communities a say on how public funds are allocated locally and charrettes which offers communities a real voice on spatial planning. A number of Community Councils have already taken advantage of these tools across the country. We also have the new Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 which will provide new vigour, new life, and new roots to ensure that the ambitions of our communities are realised.
The Scottish Government wants to give every Community Council in Scotland the opportunity to further develop effective engagement in an open, transparent manner. We remain committed to supporting Community Councils to make a full and active contribution to the communities that they represent and will continue to work in partnership with COSLA, Local Authorities, the Improvement Service and others who share this aspiration.
Why not participate in a discussion around the topics raised in the Minister's post? You can share your views in the Knowledge Hub group* 'Scottish Community Councillors Development Network'.
* Please note if you are not already a member of this group, you will be asked to register.