A Community Council’s Role in Creating a Fairer Scotland – John Wilby, Community Councillor, Chair of Paisley West & Central Community Council
Mr Wilby spoke about the need for a public service ethos in CCs. He suggested that it’s no surprise that many CC members work for or are retired from public-serving bodies such as the Civil Service, LAs, the NHS and other mergence services. CCs need to get in there and do stuff, if I’ve understood Mr Wilby correctly. Again, this is about earning respect.
Mr Wilby also mentioned the Community Empowerment Act as a route through which CCs can get involved with local services and assets. The CE Act isn’t perfect – as I recall, the version that passed omitted a few good things from the first version – and I’m concerned that so-called community bodies that do not really represent their communities may take over community assets. Also, where is the democracy in self-created community bodies? CC members are nominally elected by their entire communities. (I know that CC elections are currently a joke – see above – but at least the idea of voting is there.)
Other ideas in Mr Wilby’s talk included the need for transparency in LAs. I’d say CCs also need to do this, initially publish all minutes, CCllrs names and contact details on their websites. Local fora that include other local and community bodies may be a way forward. I wonder whether this model is better than simple CC associations.