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WHAT TO EXPECT

West Dunbartonshire Council should.....

  • Consider and recognise Community Councils as elected statutory bodies, although not a tier of governance
     
  • Not to regard Community Councils as on a par with voluntary groups, or as such.
     
  • Not to regard Community Councils as 'one among many' local groups.
     
  • Appoint Liaison Officer from either the Chief Executive, Legal & Regulatory Services, or Corporate & Customer Community Planning Dept. He/She should be a senior officer with West Dunbartonshire Council, with a set percentage of their portfolio dedicated to working with and strengthening Community Councils. He/She should meet with Community Councillors [collectively or individually] on a regular basis.
     
  • Encourage Community Councils to canvas and represent the views and needs of their community rather than the personal opinions of individual Community Councillors.
     
  • Democratically agree with Community Councils that they will be engaged, and not merely consulted, on issues within the Community Planning or local authority remits that affect their community.
     
  • Make direct elections to Community Councils as likely as possible.
     
  • Provide communication avenues and opportunities for Community Councils, including: public notice boards, resources for a community newsletter, space in WDC publications, media coverage support, press releases, paid advertising.
     
  • Create a dedicated website, and/or an area on the WDC website, for each active Community Council.
     
  • Supply free accommodation for Community Council meetings – preferably in a local authority building as a first preference, or in another community building if this enhances community access to meetings.
     
  • Supply free accommodation for Community Councillors, should they wish to hold surgeries for constituents.
     
  • Supply ready access to IT for all Community Councillors.
     
  • Provide home IT equipment and web access for Community Council Secretaries or other designated officer.
     
  • Supply a grant that fully covers all running costs.
     
  • Encourage Community Councillors to claim proper expenses for all activities associated with their duties. This should include travel expenses for all journeys on Council business, subsistence, office/printing, telephone.
     
  • Conduct Community Council elections by postal ballot for all electors.
     
  • Grant membership of the Community Planning Partnership structure to a Community Council Forum representative.
     
  • Provide insurance cover for all Community Councils and the CC Forum.
     
  • Review the WDC Scheme for Community Councils every five years and agree any changes democratically with Community Councils.
     
  • Encourage West Dunbartonshire elected members to attend Community Council meetings.
     
  • Agree a protocol for information sharing with Community Councils which should include mutually agreed methods for determining whether an issue may affect their community, and have a system for the Community Council to engage in any decision making from the beginning of the process.
     
  • Fully abide by the National Standards on Community Engagement in working with Community Councils.
     
  • Arrange regular meetings between key WDC Councillors and Community Council officers where both parties can agree actions that will benefit their community and/or the work of Community Council.
     
  • Provide or procure adequate, objective training for all new Community Councillors, and for all Community Councillors at least annually.
     
  • Assist in the copying and distribution [by email or post] of all papers of the Community Council. Where necessary, provide typing facilities.
     
  • Provide or procure expert, objective, advice on technical and legal issues.