4. Making the Decision
The public service authority must then consider the request and make a decision within the time set out from the validation date.
Section 24 - Participation Requests: Decisions
Section 24 requires a public service authority to agree to or refuse any participation request it receives, and sets out how the authority must make that decision.
As well as considering the reasons set out in the participation request put forward by the community participation body the public service authority must consider a number of other factors as set out in Section 24 including:
- whether agreeing to the request would be likely to promote or improve:
- economic development
- public health
- social wellbeing
- environment wellbeing
- whether agreeing to the request would be likely to
- reduce inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage
- lead to an increase in participation
- any other benefits that might arise
The authority must agree to the request unless there are reasonable grounds for refusing it.
Should the public service authority refuse the request then they must set out the reasons for their decision.
The Act does not set out how the public service authority will assess the participation request in relation to the reasons provided by the community participation body and the factors set out in Section 24. It will be for each authority to decide how to do this. The provisions will ensure that the assessment must be done on a broad range of factors with an emphasis on improvement and reducing inequalities.
We would not expect that any assessment process to be overly complex as a participation request is a means to open a dialogue on the matter the community participation body wants to discuss and improve. We would anticipate that the guidance will identify helpful approaches to an assessment process. The guidance will also need to be accessible to community bodies, so that they can clearly set out the benefits of their proposals.
Section 24(7) - A period prescribed in regulations
The public service authority should have a period of time to give notice to the community participation body of its decision to agree or refuse the request. And if it refuses the request, the reasons for the decision. the regulations allow us to set out how long that period of time should be. The current draft suggests 30 days.
Q8: How long should the public service authority have to assess the participation request and give notice to the community participation body? Is 30 days a reasonable amount of time? If not, how long should the period for making a decision be? Please give reasons for your response.
Section 24(8) - Participation requests: decisions
The Scottish Ministers can set out the information that a decision notice is to contain and the manner in which it is given.
The decision notice must be provided to the nominated contact in the community participation body as provided by the community participation body. The decision notice must be published on a website.
Q9: Are there any additional information requirements that should be included in connection with a decision notice? Please give reasons for your response.