Community Empowerment

Welcome to Argyll and Bute Council’s information pages in regard to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.  These pages provide an overview of the various elements of the Act and contain links to where you can find further information/support in regard to each of these, including links to the information pages of some of our Community Planning Partners.

The Community Empowerment Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act on 24 July 2015.  A copy of the Act can be viewed at Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.

What does the Act do?

The Act provides a legal framework that will promote and encourage community empowerment and participation.  It creates new rights for community bodies and places new duties on public authorities. It provides a framework which will:

  • Empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthening their voices in the decisions that matter to them; and
  • Support an increase in the pace and scale of public service reform by cementing the focus on achieving outcomes and improving the process of community planning.

Community and Third Sector organisations attended the Argyll and Bute Community Empowerment Event held in the Three Villages Hall, Arrochar on 11th March 2017.  More information on the event and copies of the presentations can be found in our Community Development section

There are 11 topics covered by the Act.  The information below gives a brief summary of each and, where relevant, provides links to further information/support.

Part 1 - National outcomes
Places a duty on Scottish Ministers to develop, consult on and publish a set of national outcomes for Scotland.
 Find out more about National outcomes
Part 2 - Community Planning
Places Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) on a statutory footing and imposes duties on them around the planning and delivery of local outcomes, and the involvement of public bodies at all stages of community planning. Tackling inequalities will be a specific focus and CPPs will have to produce “locality plans” at a more local level for areas experiencing particular disadvantage. You can find out more about the Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership here
 Find out more about Community Planning
Part 3 - Participation requests
Provides a mechanism for community bodies to enter into dialogue with public authorities about how local services are planned and delivered. Where a community body believes it could help to improve an outcome which is delivered by a public service, it will be able to request to participate in a process with the public service to improve that outcome.
 Find out more about Participation requests
Part 4 - Community rights to buy land
This part amends the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 in 3 main areas:-
  • Extends the community right to buy to all of Scotland, urban and rural, and improving procedures
  • Introduces a range of measures to amend, and in some areas, simplify, the crofting community right to buy
  • Introduces a new provision for community bodies to purchase land which is abandoned, neglected or causing harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community, where the owner is not willing to sell that land. This is if the purchase is in the public interest and compatible with the achievement of sustainable development of the land

 Find out more about community rights to buy land
Part 5 - Asset transfer requests
Provides community bodies with a right to request to purchase, lease, manage or use land and buildings belonging to local authorities, Scottish public bodies or Scottish Ministers. There will be a presumption of agreement to requests, unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal. Reducing inequalities will be a factor for public authorities to consider when making a decision. Relevant authorities will be required to create and maintain a register of land which they will make available to the public.
 Find out more about asset transfers
Part 6 - Delegation of Forestry Commisioner' Functions
This amends the Forestry Act 1967 to allow different types of community body to be involved in forestry leasing, to provide better alignment with asset transfer. This opportunity is available under the new Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS) for Scotland’s National Forest Estate.
 Find out more about the delegation of Forestry Commissioner' functions
Part 7 - Football clubs
The Scottish Government is committed to the principle that supporters should have a role in decision making, or even ownership when the opportunity arises, of their football clubs. The Act provides powers for Ministers to make regulations to facilitate supporter involvement and give fans rights in these areas. .
 Find out more about football clubs
Part 8 - Common good property
Places a statutory duty on local authorities to establish and maintain a register of all property held by them for the common good. It also requires local authorities to publish their proposals and consult community bodies before disposing of or changing the use of common good assets.
 Find out more common good property
Part 9 - Allotments
Updates and simplifies legislation on allotments. It requires local authorities to take reasonable steps to provide more allotments if waiting lists exceed certain trigger points and ensures appropriate protection for local authorities and plotholders. Provisions are made to allow the size of an allotment to be agreed between the person requesting an allotment and the local authority and to require fair rents to be set
 Find out more allotments
Part 10 - Participation in public decision making
A new regulation making power enabling Scottish Ministers to require Scottish public authorities to promote and facilitate the participation of members of the public in the decisions and activities of the authority, including in the allocation of its resources. Involving people and communities in making decisions helps build community capacity and also helps the public sector identify local needs and priorities and target budgets more effectively.
 Find out more participation in decision making
Part 11 - Non-domestic rates
The Act provides for a new power which will allow local authorities to create and fund their own localised business rate relief schemes to better reflect local needs and support communities.
 Find out more about non-domestic rates