Local Governance Review

We want to devolve more power to more local levels.

We jointly launched the Local Governance Review with COSLA to ensure Scotland’s diverse communities and different places have greater control and influence over decisions that affect them most. 

The Review does this by considering how powers, responsibilities and resources are shared across national and local spheres of government, and with communities.

Second phase 

On 28 August 2023 the Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning and the COSLA Presidential Team launched the second phase of the Democracy Matters conversation.

The engagement process is building on the first phase of conversations where communities told us they want more control over decisions that impact them the most. This phase is asking communities to get together to consider a series of open questions to help us understand what this control could look like in practice. This short BSL animation gives some further information:

This is an important opportunity to get involved and help strengthen democracy in a way that makes Scotland a better place for all. The Democracy Matters discussion document, including easy read, Gaelic and BSL versions, are available on the Democracy Matters consultation page consult.gov.scot/democracy-matters. Financial support is also available to help communities of all backgrounds join the conversation.

This conversation is an important part of the Local Governance Review and will help to deliver community, fiscal and functional empowerment for Scotland’s different places and diverse communities of interest and place. We hope that you decide to make your voice - and that of your community - heard.  

To stay in touch and informed about Democracy Matters you can sign up to our newsletter, email us at democracymatters@gov.scot and follow us on Twitter @CommEmpower.

First phase findings

On 16 May 2019 Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government COSLA President shared the reports based on the analysis of responses to the first engagement phase of the Local Governance Review  and outlined next steps in a joint statement

These reports reflects what we heard from over 4,000 people who took part in #DemocracyMatters conversations about the future of community decision-making. At hundreds of events across Scotland, people discussed whether their community should be able to take more decisions about a whole range of public services, and the benefits this might bring.

The Democracy Matters conversation was framed by a small set of open questions found in the consultation document: Democracy Matters - Your Community. Your Ideas. Your Future. A Democracy Matters: easy-read guide was also available.

We have produced the following as a result of these conversations:-

At the same time as ‘Democracy Matters’, more than 40 public sector partners submitted proposals for alternative governance arrangements designed to improve outcomes for people and drive inclusive growth in the places they serve. These proposals were sent in response to a letter from the Scottish Government and COSLA to Scotland’s public sector leaders. We published a report detailing this analysis of alternative governance arrangements on 16 May 2019.

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