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Community Councils

Community Councils are key partners in local government and in developing local communities, with the aim of maximising the benefits for local people and their communities. Community Councils were introduced under the Local Government Scotland Act 1973 to gather public opinion and pass these opinions on to local authorities and other public sector bodies. As the voice of their local community, Community Councillors have this in common with local authority Councillors, Members of the Scottish Parliament and MPs.

Dumfries and Galloway Council recognises the vital role that Community Councillors play and acknowledges the dedication, knowledge and expertise that they bring. There are 107 Community Council areas in Dumfries and Galloway, and usually around 90 Community Councils are operational at any time.

To find YOUR nearest Community Council view details on My Community Council. Community Councillors are responsible for telling their Local Area Framework team about changes to their contact details. My Community Council is updated as soon as we are advised. You may go to My Community Council to:

  • see examples of why you would contact your Community Council
  • find contact details for your current Community Council office bearers
  • get a list of all Community Councils in Dumfries and Galloway
  • download a list of Community Council Secretaries


Community Councils are publicly elected every three years. Local elections took place on 4 October 2012, with new Community Councils commencing their responsibilities from that date.

Community Councils have a great deal of scope to get involved in a variety of local issues, to develop local projects and activities, on their own or with other groups. Community Councils have a wide sphere of responsibility and influence, including:

Many Community Councils see a major part of their role as protecting and promoting the identity of their community. Some produce community newsletters. Others are setting up and running children's play-schemes, galas, one-off events and leisure outings.

Communicating with local authorities, public bodies and the community is crucial to how the Community Council can best represent its area. Identifying issues which could affect your community is also an important part of the Community Council's role.

Once a Community Council is inaugurated it elects its office bearers: these are the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. Other office bearers can include Minute Secretary, Planning and Publicity Officers.

Here's some further information that may help Community Councillors:


The Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils in Dumfries and Galloway was adopted in 1997.  Since then various amendments have been agreed by Dumfries & Galloway Council and you can download the most up to date version of the Scheme, called the Consolidated Scheme, here:


Community Council Enquiry Service - CCES

A new service has been developed to improve and manage the vast and wide ranging enquiries made by our Community Councils.  If you have not yet signed up to this services please contact your local Area Framework Office (contact details below) and give them the details of your nominated community council contact so you can make use of this effective new service.


How do we find out the views of our local communities?

The Scottish Government is committed to people in Scotland having a greater say in how local services are planned and delivered.  It's only by listening to the experiences and ideas of the people who live in these communities that we can find solutions which will make a lasting difference.  Local Community Councils are encouraged to use the pdf icon National Standards for Community Engagement [523kb] as a good practice tool which provides a common set of ground rules that should be applied to both sides of the engagement process.  One of the standards relates to overcoming any barriers to involvement and, for example, a Community Council may use its administrative grant to pay for Community Councillors to attend appropriate meetings on its behalf.

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What's happening with the 4th Periodic Review?

The 4th Periodic Review of the Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils in Dumfries & Galloway commenced on 4 February 2013 with the first and second public consultation phases (each lasting for 8 weeks) taking place in February-March and July-September 2013.  Your responses were carefully considered and, where it was legal and practical to do so, the majority view was taken and changes to the draft Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils in Dumfries and Galloway were agreed at meetings of Dumfries & Galloway Council on 27 June and 28 November 2013. 

The final public consultation phase (a period of 4 weeks) took place from 13 January to 7 February 2014. These responses will be considered and recommendations made to a meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council on 27 March 2014. The Committee papers will be available nearer the time from our Council's website. Thanks to all of you who made the time to provide us with feedback on the 4th Periodic Review.

It was agreed at the meeting of Dumfries & Galloway Council on 28 November 2013 to receive a further report on Loreburn Community Council's proposals to merge with St Michael's Community Council and to merge a number of Community Council areas on the western banks of the River Nith. As a result we will carry out community engagement in Nithsdale in 2014 to determine public opinion on these proposals, with a final report to Dumfries & Galloway Council once this is completed. Committee papers may be viewed at http://egenda.dumgal.gov.uk/aksdumgal/users/public/admin/kab71.pl?cmte=COU.

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We want to change our Constitution - do you have a template we can use?

Third sector (voluntary and community) groups that apply to the Council's Area Committees, Village Halls Improvement Scheme, Regional Grants Budget and to local Sports Councils must have a minimum of two authorised signatories that are not connected and this should be written into their constitution. This is one of the minimum essential requirements that were introduced for the protection of voluntary management committees in an effort to lessen the risk of fraud. Within 3 months after the elections in October 2012, Community Councils must draw up a constitution which must be approved at an Annual or Special General Meeting and submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council for ratification. You are advised to adopt this word icon Community Council Constitution [182kb] as it is compliant with Council policy and is based on the existing Scheme. Please note this is a revised version of the Constitution dated December 2012 following feedback from Community Councils, the main changes being at paragraph 12.4 changing "any two of three authorised signatories" to read "any two of the authorised signatories" and at paragraph 12.6 where an additional sentence has been added "For the avoidance of doubt...Council". We have also added in lines for signatories' names to be printed in block capitals. Do not worry if your Community Council has recently adopted the Constitution dated May 2012 - these are minor changes and there is no need to adopt this version.

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Community Council Discretionary Grants

It was agreed at a meeting of Dumfries & Galloway Council on 27 June 2013 that Community Council administration grants would become known as discretionary grants, meaning that Community Councils have more flexibility as to what they spend the grant on.  Please note that the discretionary grant must be used to further your Community Council's objectives and for no other purpose otherwise you may be required to repay all or part of it.  The closing date for receipt of discretionary grant application forms and paperwork is the last day of February each year.  Late applications cannot be considered as we need to allow sufficient time to process the applications before the budget closes and grants cannot be paid from the following year's budget.   

The level of grant funding remains the same as for financial year 2012/13 and your local Area Framework team will send the application form and associated paperwork to your Community Council.  Below is the grant application form including guidance notes for 2013/14.

Your grant will be paid on receipt of the completed form and the following:

  • BACS form, if any change since last year (word icon BACS form [41kb])
  • Chair's annual report OR statement of activities (word icon Activities form [35kb]);
  • Satisfactory accounts for the financial year 2012/13 certified by an independent examiner;
  • Minutes of your most recent Annual General Meeting;
  • Updated membership details for 'My Community Council' (enclosure 3 not attached as this requires data from local Area Framework office) and data protection forms for new co-opted members (word icon Data Protection form [39kb]);
  • Dates of your Community Council meetings, if there has been any change (word icon Meetings form [42kb]).

In addition, minutes of all Community Councils should be submitted to your local Area Framework staff within 4 weeks of each meeting.  Should you require assistance with any of this paperwork, please don't hesitate to contact your local Area Framework staff.

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Data Protection Registration

Community Councils have an obligation under the Data Protection Act 1998 to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  There is a cost of £35 a year for data protection registration and Dumfries & Galloway Council has made the administrative arrangements for this cover over the last two years.  However, due to difficulties with the administrative process, as of financial year 2013/14 each of our local Community Councils will revert to being responsible for registering with the ICO for data protection, and Community Councils should receive a reminder letter directly from the ICO some time before their registration fee is due to be paid.  The annual fee of £35 should be made using the Community Councils' administration grant.  For more information visit Information Commissioner's Office.

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Honorary Payments to Secretaries/Treasurers

If your Secretary or Treasurer is paid an honorarium by your Community Council, it is necessary to check with HM Revenue & Customs as to whether PAYE comes into effect.  This very much depends on the personal circumstances of each person receiving payment. 

  • The individual receiving the honorarium may telephone HM Revenue & Customs on 0845 300 0627 and choose the PAYE coding query options; OR
  • Your Community Council should send a letter to HM Revenue & Customs, PAYE & Self-Assessment, PO Box 1970, Liverpool, L75 1WX (include the names of the people receiving the honorarium, their national insurance numbers, how much the payment is for each person, and what tax year the payments relate to).

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What is the Dumfries and Galloway Compact?

The local Compact is a partnership agreement between voluntary, community and public sector bodies in Dumfries & Galloway. The Compact sets out the best way for public bodies such as the Council to work with voluntary and community organisations. The Compact should improve the quality of life of local people.

To date more than 100 organisations have signed up to Dumfries & Galloway Compact; Community Councils are encouraged to sign up, as they are a community group with statutory responsibilities.

Read more about the pdf icon Dumfries and Galloway Compact [1Mb].

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Good Practice Guidance for Local Authorities and Community Councils

The Scottish Government has updated its Good Practice Guidance for Community Councils - please click on Scottish Government's website link to the new Good Practice Guidance. Should you have any difficulties in downloading this document, please contact Anna Gilbert at the Scottish Government on 0131 244 2794 to request a paper copy.

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Related Information

Contact Details

 

Area Framework - Annandale and Eskdale

Council Offices
High Street
Annan
DG12 6AQ

Tel: 01461 207043
Fax: 01461 207040

Area Framework - Stewartry

Council Offices
Daar Road
Kirkcudbright
DG6 4JG

Tel: 01557 330291
Fax: 01557 332536

 

Area Framework - Wigtown

Council Offices
Ashwood House
Sun Street
Stranraer
DG9 7JJ

Tel: 01776 888423
Fax: 01776 888314

Area Framework - Nithsdale

Municipal Chambers
Buccleuch Street
Dumfries
DG1 2AD

Tel: 01387 245960

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2DD

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