An annual report has been released on the progress in Dumfries and Galloway of a new legislative tool that allows a community group to request to be part of decision-making processes to make improvements to public services.
Participation requests play a role in community empowerment and improving public services.
The report details how Dumfries and Galloway Council has promoted and supported participation requests, the number received and the outcomes of those requests.
Any groups expressing an interest in making a request are invited to take part in an early conversation to determine how they might help improve outcomes.
This decides if a formal request is the way they want to proceed, or whether further informal dialogue might produce the degree of influence and participation they want to achieve. This decision is entirely for the group to make.
There have been few approaches about formal participation requests during the reporting period. To date, no group in the region has proceeded beyond initial dialogue and meetings.
There are groups in the region taking a very active interest in wanting to co-deliver services alongside the council. Budget cuts make it important for the council to support communities that want to work with staff to deliver, for example, grass cutting and litter picking, along with delivery of wider services such as community libraries.
Examples of current projects are the Kirkconnel Development Trust in the process of submitting a participation request to work with the council to assist with grass cutting in Kelloholm and Kirkconnel.
This proposal has been discussed with officers and will involve the Trust purchasing grass cutting equipment and training with Council experts in safe working practice and risk assessment. The Council will supply equipment, resources and expertise and the trust will provide joint finance and volunteer support.
The Town Hall Development Trust in Moffat is developing plans to take on services previously run and managed by the Council and will shortly submit a participation request.
Work continues with other reporting bodies to monitor the position across Scotland and share best practice. To date only a very small number of participation requests have been submitted across the whole country.
The Participation Requests Annual Report 201819 can be viewed here: Participation-Requests-Annual-Report-201819.pdf