Volunteering and Community Empowerment

community-empowerment

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act is designed to empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings, and by strengthening their voices in the decisions that matter to them. The Scottish Government introduced this Act, to give community bodies new rights and public sector authorities new duties to boost community empowerment and engagement. 

The Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17 June 2015 and received Royal Assent, becoming an Act, on 24 July.

The Act does a number of things including: extending the community right to buy, making it simpler for communities to take over public sector land and buildings, and strengthening the statutory base for community planning. Crucially it can help empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthening their voices in the decisions and services that matter to them. 

There is evidence that where communities are empowered we should expect to see a range of benefits: local democratic participation boosted; increased confidence and skills among local people; higher numbers of people volunteering in their communities; and more satisfaction with quality of life in a local neighbourhood.

Better community engagement and participation should lead to the delivery of better, more responsive services and better outcomes for communities.