What is the Purpose of a Community Council?
The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 legislated for the formation of community councils and states their general purpose as:
“To ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents … and to take such action in the interest of the community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable”
The Local Government (Scotland) Act 2000 enhanced the role of community councils by adding a statutory consultation role for community councils in both planning and licensing.
It is appreciated that not all Community Councils are alike and do not all undertake the same responsibilities. The work of Community Councils varies even within the local authority area although most operate from the standard Model Constitution with a handful of variations which largely affect those community councils who are in receipt of community benefit funding in respect of windfarms and the governance framework for dispersal of funds.
Typically community councils undertake activities such as:
- Environmental projects such as beach cleaning
- Organising local fetes and gala days
- Printing and distributing local newsletters
- Provision of lunch and other social clubs for the elderly
- Representing the Community Council on other local partnership or other organisations
- Campaigning on local issues
- Conducting local surveys
- Organising public meetings in order to establish the views of the community/communities they represent
There are other requirements which all community councils are bound to in their activities and this includes the general duty to promote equality. Community councils in carrying out their functions should have regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination
- Promote equality of opportunity
- Promote good relations between people of different racial groups.
- However, it should not be forgotten that the main purpose of your Council is to represent the views of your community.