Aberdeenshire Council has been urged to offer community councils the option of taking over some local decisions and budget from the
local authority as part of a review of Aberdeenshire’s Community Council Scheme of Establishment.
The review process, which the Council has a duty to undertake from time to time, was discussed at the Aberdeenshire full council meeting (Thursday, 19 June).
Proposing the motion to offer community councils the option of additional say over local decisions, Green councillor Martin Ford said:
“Community Councils are very important as the most local level of representation. We should see the review of the Scheme of Establishment as an opportunity for community empowerment, giving community councils the choice of taking over some local decisions from the Council.”
Councillor Ford’s motion was seconded by Democratic Independent councillor Paul Johnston. The recommendation from officers was that the Council approve the timetable and consultation arrangements for reviewing Aberdeenshire’s Community Council Scheme of Establishment.
The motion from Cllr Ford was to add to the officers’ recommendation the words:
‘the revised Scheme to offer community councils devolved budget and decision making from the Council subject to appropriate governance safeguards and community councils opting for the additional responsibilities.’
Cllr Ford said:
“The aim here, as set out in the motion, is to give community councils a choice of more say on local matters in their area. Those community councils that wanted to take over some decision making from the Council would then be able to do so.
“The Council has passed budget and decision making to all sorts of partnerships and other bodies. So there is no problem in principle with extending that to community councils.
“Some community councils I am sure would be very interested in thepossibility of gaining more say over local decisions. The prospect of some devolved decision making from the Council might also increase the number of people wanting to become community councillors.”
Councillor Ford’s motion was opposed by the Council’s Conservative/Liberal Democrat/Labour/independent coalition
administration and the SNP. Cllr Paul Johnston said:
“The Council’s administration and the SNP are ignoring the need to follow the conclusions of the Scottish Government’s working group on community councils. The motion was a statement of trust, support and confidence in community councils, indicating the Council’s wish to strengthen its relationship with them and empower local communities. There was no good argument for voting it down.”
Nearly all the administration and SNP councillors voted against Cllr Ford’s motion. The motion was supported by Green and other independent councillors. See record of votes.
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