The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 gives communities additional rights, through having more say in how public services are planned and provided; owning or leasing land, assets and estates; and becoming involved in improving the outcomes of services.
Part 3 of the Act allows for community groups to submit Participation Requests. PRs are a way for community groups to get involved in how the Council and other public services are planned and delivered. A participation request can be made to:
Participation Requests are intended to help community groups to highlight community needs and issues and become involved in change or improvement. They are not intended to replace good quality community engagement or participation processes but are rather designed to complement and enhance them. Participation Requests are not intended to be an extension of the Councils complaints procedures but should be viewed as an opportunity for communities to establish formal dialogue with the Council and its partners.
The Act identifies the ‘Public Service Authorities’ that requests can be made to. These are public bodies which receive public funding. In West Dunbartonshire, these public bodies are:
Note: each ‘Public Service Authority’ will have their own Participation Request form which should be available on their websites. Scottish Minister may add to the designated list of Public Bodies in the future.
Our process has been developed in consultation with community groups and West Dunbartonshire’s partner organisations to ensure that it is as accessible as possible. The guidance will support any community group to complete and submit a Participation Request form.
Before submitting a Participation Request we strongly suggest that your community group considers discussing the proposal or issue with West Dunbartonshire Council officers or elected councillors. This will allow your groups to make sure that you have exhausted all ways of communicating with the council in advance of submitting a PR. It will also ensure that:
Please direct any questions about the Participation Requests or available support to the Council’s Communities Team:
Participation requests can lead to discussions about any aspect of a service. This could range from issues to do with service delivery such as home-care visits to more strategic issues to do with how services are planned and funded.
When a group makes a participation request they have to identify an outcome to be improved. Outcomes are the changes that services aim to bring about, such as improved health and wellbeing, or reduced child poverty. The outcome has to be relevant to the public service authority that you are making the participation request to. Section 5 & 6 below will provide more information about outcomes and gives some relevant examples.
WDC will provide support to help community groups to make the most of Participation Requests. This support is available before the formal participation request process as well as during it. The types of support that may be needed include the following: