Community engagement and participation refers to how we communicate and work with our community. It ensures that we as a Council understand the needs and aspirations of our residents and community organisations.
We are committed to working with the residents and community organisations of West Dunbartonshire to improve outcomes for all in an inclusive way.
Effective community engagement provides a range of benefits for services and for the community. At its strongest it empowers residents to plan and influence the future of their own community, encourage people to get involved and assist services and public bodies to identify what needs to be improved.
To help us deliver our approach to this we have developed an Engaging Communities Framework.
The framework explains what community engagement is and how best to utilise the range of tools, methodologies and approaches available. It is used by all services across the organisation to ensure that we consult or engage in the most appropriate way each time, and that our approaches are recognised and familiar to our residents.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 enhances community involvement; creating new opportunities for influencing public service provision and decision-making; and for community asset ownership and management.
The spirit of the Act is one of improving outcomes for communities, encouraging and promoting dialogue, tackling inequalities, and supporting the increased participation of those whose voices are less heard or who face additional barriers.
Part 3 of the Act (Participation Requests) is focused on extending and improving community participation in improving outcomes for communities. It is the legislation that enables communities to request to participate in decisions and processes which are aimed at improving outcomes.
Guidance from the Scottish Government details how Participation Requests can be used by communities and how public bodies should support them. If you would like more information on community engagement and participation please contact us at Engagement@West-Dunbarton.gov.uk.