The Democratic Society has published a draft paper which outlines methods of implementing the new public participation in decision making power described in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act. The paper is a result of an event, hosted by the Scottish Government, which brought together people from Scottish public bodies and civil society. The aim was to develop a list of suggestions and tangible actions to assist the development of the policy. These suggestions included:
- There should be a duty for public bodies to enable staff to engage the public in decision making processes; including training, realistic timescales and resources
- A percentage of public body funding should be assigned to supporting processes for public participation in decision making
- There should be reserved budget for funding public participation programmes
- There should be a duty for public bodies to report on the public participation activities they undertake as a result of the Community Empowerment Act
- The number of physical and digital places where people can come together to participate in decision making should be increased
- There should be a clear outline of decisions that people can participate in
- All public bodies should have an accountable senior officer responsible for participation and there should be a non-executive on public body boards appointed as participation champion.
The recommendations in the report will be considered by the Scottish Government and the advisory group for public participation in decision making.