Community councils give local people a say about what goes on in their area. They play a vital role in representing the views of their community to us and other public bodies.
A number of Community Councils across Dumfries and Galloway have raised various questions and concerns about the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already having on the day to day business of a Community Council. Our Council is monitoring the situation closely at all levels of the organisation and we are taking advice from local and national health agencies such as NHS Dumfries and Galloway and from The Scottish Government.
The most recent advice and guidance can be found on NHS Inform at https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or The Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/. In response to the main issues raised so far please find the information below.
Cancellation of Community Council Meetings
In light of the current pandemic, our advice is should you decide to postpone meetings, provided you meet the minimum number of times (5 meetings and one AGM) in the financial year then you will remain established. See sections 9.2 and 13.7 of the Scheme for fullest information. Please be reassured that in light of the seriousness of the matters we are facing, the Council will exercise its discretion in relation to this matter to minimize any disruption to Community Councils.
Community Council Insurance for resilience or community volunteering
Dumfries and Galloway Council Public Liability Insurance for Community Councils can be found here. An additional briefing note is currently being prepared and will be loaded onto the Information for Community Councils webpage here later today. In the meantime, if you have queries regarding the cover currently provided as always please contact:
Catherine McCall, Commercial Insurance, Keegan & Pennykid (Insurance Brokers) Ltd
Direct Dial Tel: 0131 243 9672
Community Council Resilience Plans or Community Volunteering
If you would like to discuss what you already have in place or any new community resilience activities please contact your local Ward Officer or CCES@dumgal.gov.uk.
We are also keen to hear of great examples of community councils pulling together at this difficult time to help the most vulnerable in your communities via CCES@dumgal.gov.uk.
We will continue to respond to your enquiries and to provide you with any updates as we receive it and again, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any concerns or questions that you think we can assist with.
Thank you for your support and commitment to your local community.
Please have a look at this video message from Derek Chrichton, Director Communities thanking Community Councils for their work.
The Scottish Government recent published the following update in relation to the Small Business Grant Scheme and round two of the Wellbeing Fund.
Small Business Grant Scheme
Small premises are now eligible for £10,000 grants. Those properties occupied by charities can now apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme to help with pressures caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The extension of the scheme is expected to result in an additional £31 million being made available to more than 3,000 small properties occupied by charities - including day centres, workshops and halls. If this is of interest to you please submit an application for funding via the online form.
The Wellbeing Fund aims to support organisations across the third sector that are providing important services to people who are most affected by the coronavirus pandemic and forms part of a £350 million package from the Scottish Government. Round two is now open for applications and to be considered for funding, applications must be received by noon on Friday, 22 May 2020
If you require any additional support or have any further questions before applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Council Elections
Community Council Elections for the return of all Community Councils across Dumfries and Galloway shall be held in October at the same frequency as local government elections, with the most recent elections taking place on Thursday 3rd October 2019.
As the most local tier of elected representation in Scotland, Community Councils play a key role in local decision-making by advising, influencing and advocating on behalf of their local communities. They are there to encourage and facilitate consultation with their local community and to listen to and act on the views of local people.
Dumfries and Galloway Council is committed to ensuring that our local people and communities are at the heart of our decision-making and are keen to work closely with Community Councils to make our communities better places to live.
Notices of Uncontested Elections
Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils
Community Councils are governed by the Scheme for Establishment of Community Councils in Dumfries and Galloway. This sets out how they should operate including, elections, membership rules and meeting arrangements. The Scheme was originally adopted in 1997 and various amendments have been agreed by Dumfries and Galloway Council since then.
The amended Scheme and its schedules were passed by resolution of the Dumfries and Galloway Council in terms of section 53 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 on 25 September 2018. With the exception of Schedule 1, the terms of the Scheme came into force on 1 November 2018.
The terms of Schedule 1 shall come into force in October 2019, following the next scheduled ordinary election of Community Councils in Dumfries and Galloway, and if the membership number naturally falls to the agreed reduced number before the next ordinary elections, the Community Council does not require to fill vacancies, noting Ochtrelure and Belmont and Stranraer Community Council whereby the maximum / minimum numbers would be effective as of 1 November 2018
What If My Area Doesn't Have a Current Community Council?
The list of areas where Community Councils are NOT established across Dumfries and Galloway can be found at www.dumgal.gov.uk/communitycouncils under 'Find your local Community Council'.
Where a Community Council does NOT exist and where there is interest by members of the community to be involved in establishing a Community Council for that area, a By-Election can take place.
To establish a Community Council you are required to submit a written application of at least 20 electors who are:
- 16 years of age or over;
- Reside within the Community Council area;
- Are on the current Register of Electors for that Community Council area.
Please submit as follows :
By post to: Dumfries and Galloway Council, Community Planning and Engagement Unit, Municipal Chambers, Buccleuch Street, Dumfries DG1 2AD
How to get involved
There are different ways to get involved in your local community council:
- attend your community council's regular public meetings
- email your local community council or visit their website
- become a community council member
Community Council Enquiry Service (CCES)
The enquiry service provides a direct route for dealing with a huge range of enquiries that are regularly received by the Council from Community Councils. The enquiry service supports, manages, and monitors thee wide ranging enquiries so as to ensure they are dealt with systematically. Further information can be found in the following document.
Please submit enquiries to CCESMailbox@dumgal.gov.uk
Strengthening Community Councils
A recently published, detailed report carried out by the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and What Works Scotland (WWS) on strengthening Community Councils to have a key role taking forward ideas around community empowerment and democratic renewal in Scotland. Some of the recommendations include:-
- Local Authorities, in collaboration with Scottish Government, to put in place resources to improve Community Councils' capacity to meet local needs
- Strengthening/enhancing Community Council powers
- Support is needed with empowerment, training, capacity building, resources, networking and promotion
- Regular point of contact for local authority and other agencies
- Compensation schemes implemented to support community councillors with accessibility, travel, caring responsibilities and loss of earnings
- New measures for Community Council membership to increase diversity
- Scottish Government conduct a publicity campaign to raise awareness of Community Councils
What Happens Next?
The current Local Governance Review conducted by COSLA and the Scottish Government is looking at the role and arrangements for Community Councils. Read more about the research and recommendations.
This page is currently under review, and while Dumfries and Galloway Council makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information on this web page, it accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage, which may occur, from use of or reliance on the information.