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.
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. The list of current Community Councils and their membership is continuously updated as soon as Community Councils submit changes to their local Area Committee Administrator.
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:
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 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.
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) will take place from 13 January to 7 February 2014. 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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 Dumfries and Galloway Compact [1Mb].
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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