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Democracy Matters - Your Community. Your Ideas. Your Future.

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Section 2: Communities more in control – how could it work in practice?

If more decisions are to be taken by communities, we would have to decide on the scale at which this would work: this could be at a very local level but would depend on the decision being made, the skills and expertise required, and the potential impact on different people. It's unlikely that the answer will be the same for every place or community. Through this conversation we want to understand what types and sizes of community make most sense to people, and why. It's a complicated issue, and we want to hear what you think would work.

Q3. When thinking about decision-making, 'local' could mean a large town, a village, or a neighbourhood. What does 'local' mean to you and your community?

We want to explore how all public services, councils and the Scottish Government can make this work. Existing groups that take action and are part of decision-making in communities include council area committees, area partnerships, community councils, development trusts, community based housing associations and community led groups and organisations. Other forms of decision-making, like Participatory Budgeting and community action planning are also being developed, although not all public services currently work this way. Perhaps all of these different structures and processes could be built on, or developed, to support greater levels of community decision-making across public services and to strengthen local democracy. That might include sharing powers or resources differently between the Scottish Government, councils and communities, a second, more local, layer of local government, or other potential ideas. Regardless of the structures or processes people like best, this review is also a key opportunity to ensure diverse community voices are heard in decision-making processes. Get this right and it will help make a real difference to local priorities, and progress equalities and human rights across Scotland, including on issues such as housing, health and the enjoyment of a decent standard of living.

Q4. Are there existing forms of local level decision-making which could play a part in exercising new local powers? Are there new forms of local decision-making that could work well? What kinds of changes might be needed for this to work in practice?