Community Empowerment

Community Empowerment helps communities to get involved in the things that matter to them.

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.

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 Commissioner' 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.

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 propertyPart 8 of the Community Empowerment( Scotland) Act 2015 Act seeks to increase transparency about the existence of common good assets, and to ensure that there is community involvement in decisions taken about their identification, use and disposal. The local authority has a duty to establish and maintain  a register of property which is held by them as part of the common good, and in taking this forward they must publish a list of the property proposed for inclusion on the list, and consult on that. We must notify any community council established for the area, and any community body of which we are aware of this consultation, and must have regard to any representations made by those bodies in the consultation process before the register is established.

The Council has identified the list of property and funds which it believes to be held  for the common good across Argyll and Bute - view the list of common good properties and funds here. Community groups were invited  to consider that list and make such representations as they may wish in regards whether the detail included is part of the common good, or to identify other property which, in the opinion of their organisation, is part of the common good. 

The consultation period ended on 29th March 2019, and you can view the responses to the consultation here on the website:

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 about allotments legislation

We are keen wherever possible to help communities add to the number of allotment sites in Argyll and Bute. We have produced a Community Food Growing Strategy, and guidance, and you can register an interest in having an allotment here on our website:

Community growing spaces - find out more and register your interest here >

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

Other sources of information

Please see below a list of useful links to other public service authorities and further sources of information about the Act

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