Community Empowerment & Renewal Bill - 04/10/2012
SURF has submitted its formal response to a Scottish Government consultation that aimed to explore, “how to give local people a more direct say in what happen in their communities”.
SURF is grateful to the member organisation representatives who contributed their comments on the general theme and the specific questions set in the consultation paper.
Responses to the consultation will be used to inform the development of the forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, which is anticipated to be passed into legislation by the Scottish Parliament in winter 2013.
The short opening statement from SURF's response follows, with the full paper available for download in the file below.
Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill
Some initial SURF comments on context and opportunity:
SURF warmly welcomes the intention of the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation in support of ‘Community Empowerment and Renewal’.
Over the consultation period, SURF has used its varied cross sector networks, contacts and presentation opportunities to promote awareness and debate on the aspirations for greater community empowerment within wider regeneration policy and practice.
The main elements of SURF’s responses are based on the generally shared views of the SURF network that:
Greater community empowerment is a desirable process in itself as part of collective efforts towards a ‘flourishing’ Scotland.
Community empowerment in this context is not a zero sum game since its success can enhance the collective empowerment of Scotland economically as well as socially and culturally. However, any realistic impetus for greater community empowerment will require investment and some challenging debates on power and resources.
Aspirations for greater community empowerment must be seen in the current context of unprecedented changes in financial systems as well as demographic and ecological challenges which are yet to be adequately addressed.
Despite the dominant themes of current debate on the continuing economic recession, Scotland remains a rich nation in terms of resources, structures and ideas. The leadership challenge is about priorities, connections and commitment.
The Scottish Government has the key leadership remit in identifying the roles, responsibilities and resources required to support greater community empowerment and renewal. In doing so it will be important to make effective links to existing and emerging policies on poverty, inequality, health, housing, employment, education, infrastructure, procurement and transport.
It will also be important to frame any legislation within an honest assessment of the political and economic context within which communities are being encouraged to take on additional responsibilities under the generally desirable banner of greater empowerment.
Over its 20 year history in this field, SURF has explored and proposed a wide range of options and models for enhancing community empowerment as a key element of community regeneration. It did so in its Protect, Empower and Invest manifesto for community regeneration in the run up to the May 2011 Scottish Parliament election and more recently in its Reality Resources, Resilience collaborative programme of work with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as supported by the Scottish Government. SURF is keen to continue developing those collaborations with the Scottish Government and all partners concerned with helping to regenerate disadvantaged communities across Scotland.
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SURF's full response is available for download in PDF format in the file below. Please contact lead writer Andy Milne for any further information on its content.
File: Click here to open
Contact: Andy Milne
Position: Chief Executive
Tel: 0141 585 6848