The Scottish Government has published the draft guidance for the Participation Request part of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, following consultations. Regulations and guidance are needed to fill in the detail of how the Participation Request mechanism as set out in Part 3 of the Act will work in practice. It is not expected that the guidance will change significantly from this point but the Scottish Government welcome your comments and questions. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Government expect the regulations to come into force following the parliamentary process on or around the 1 April 2017.
According to the draft guidance Participation Requests “are designed to help groups highlight community needs and issues, and become involved in change or improvement. They are not intended to replace good quality existing community engagement or participation processes but are rather designed to complement and enhance them. Similarly, Participation Requests are not intended to be an extension of complaints procedures but should rather be viewed as an opportunity for communities to establish formal dialogue with public service authorities”
“There are a range of possible uses of Participation Requests which can be broadly divided into four categories as follows:
- To help people start a dialogue about something that matters to their community, through highlighting needs, issues or opportunities for improvement.
- To help people have their voice heard in policy and service development, through contributing to decision-making processes.
- To help people to participate in the design, delivery, monitoring or review of service provision, through contributing to service change or improvement.
- To help people challenge decisions and seek support for alternatives which improve outcomes.”
“Most community participation bodies will need at least some support to make best use of the Participation Request process and it is important that support is provided for those groups who may be less heard or who face additional barriers. Types of support that may be needed include the following:
- Administrative or practical support
- Support for equal participation.
- Connecting and linking
- Organisational support
- Community development support”.
This SCDC briefing is intended to help people to get started on finding out how they can use the Act. As well as summarising the main parts of the Act, the briefing links to easy to read sources of further information.