The Scottish Government’s ‘Fairer Scotland’ national discussion has been running for a few months now. As the Scottish Community Alliance put it, this is an attempt to crowdsource policy. There’s a series of events around Scotland, at which the Scottish Government ‘wants to work with a broad mix of people across the country to prioritise practical steps that can be taken to create a fairer Scotland’.
But as well as talking directly with people across Scotland, the SG also wants to work with those who (should) most closely represent communities: community councillors. As Marco Biagi (Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment) put it, key questions are
- what issues matter most to you as a community councillor?
- what do you think needs to be done to help community councils create a fairer Scotland?
- how can your community council play a role in helping to shape Scotland’s future?
Having been invited to the event, my lurgie and I rolled across to Glasgow. If the CC system collapses because all the active CC members catch nasty colds, I’m to blame. Ditto for the SG and Improvement Service staff running the event. I attended mostly as a CC activist/member, but I couldn’t help putting my researcher hat on from time to time.
Firstly, for me, the event was very valuable – and I think it was valuable for the delegates, the IS and the SG people showing central government’s support for this hyperlocal tier of government. There were big plugs for this autumn’s digiCC workshops this autumn from Marco Biagi and other speakers, and for the other work around CCs that Peter Cruickshank and I have done. I’m very grateful for these plug, especially because they led to a mini-surge of registrations.
Mr Biagi also said a lot of things that made sense to me, as did Mark McAteer of the Improvement Service and John Wilby of Paisley West & Central Community Council.
I tried to live-tweet what was said, and I believe that the speeches will be put online, so used my tweets to create précises in linked posts.
My thoughts from the day
You can see these in context as the green type in the following posts, which are reports on individual sessions. Click any bullet point to open the corresponding post in a new tab or window.
- Context for the Fairer Scotland Event – Marco Biagi MSP
- Community Councils: Future Challenges and Opportunities – Mark McAteer (Improvement Service)
- Workshop 1 – What are the issues that matter most to you as a community councillor?
- Q&A session with Marco Biagi and Mark McAteer
- Workshop 2 – What do you think needs to be done to help community councils create a fairer Scotland?
- A Community Council’s Role in Creating a Fairer Scotland – John Wilby, Community Councillor, Chair of Paisley West & Central Community Council
- Workshop 3 – How can your community council play a role in helping to shape Scotland’s future?
- Break-out and vote on suggestions: Dotmocracy
- Thoughts and encounters part 1
- Thoughts and encounters part 2
For convenience, I’ve also gathered my thoughts in this post.
It was a very worthwhile event for me. I know the SG and IS teams are busy analysing the results and working out how to present all the information created during the day. I hope it was a worthwhile day for them and the delegates. I look forward to seeing the outputs, and above all to some positive outcomes in which CCs contribute to a fairer Scotland.