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Some ideas on how local democracy could work

March 18, 2021

Democracy Matters image A new discussion paper has been published by the Scottish Government which provides  ideas and imagined examples of what more local decision-making could look like in Scotland.

While Covid-19 may prevent community conversations from taking place you may wish to view or to share the discussion paper with your networks to inspire wider thinking around how local governance can be developed in the future. Communities across the country are encouraged to get involved. 

Democracy Matters is the name of the Scotland-wide conversation set up as part of the Local Governance Review.  More than 4000 participants in the first phase of Democracy Matters conversations overwhelmingly agreed that people should have a more active role in decision-making in their local communities. 

Last year the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and the COSLA President sent a letter to all public sector leaders, inviting them to get involved in developing and testing ideas for alternative governance arrangements with the most transformative potential. 

Many councils and wider public sector partners have now submitted their proposals for change. These will be discussed and developed in light of the emerging lessons from the coronavirus pandemic which prevented further Democracy Matters conversations from taking place in communities across Scotland during 2020 as planned.

The Local Governance Review is now making available the Democracy Matters material which would have provided the basis for the second phase of discussion on future scenarios for community decision-making had the pandemic not prevented this.

To access the full Democracy Matters discussion document in English or Gaelic please click here.

The document has also been published in an Easy Read format to make this more accessible. To access the Easy Read version please click here.

Joint Statement

The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) have published a joint statement on the progress of the Local Governance Review.

The Scottish Government and COSLA have stated they remain convinced that community empowerment alongside fiscal and functional empowerment of local government remains key to implementing the change people said they wanted.

They see the joint statement as a demonstration of the continued shared commitment to making sure that the journey towards local democracy reform continues into the next parliament.

To read the joint statement in full please click here

Background info

The Local Governance Review was launched in 2018 and aims to find out what changes are needed to encourage a more local, participatory and inclusive democracy in Scotland.

The first stage of Democracy Matters ran in the second half of 2018 and invited community organisations across the country to contribute ideas on how to improve local democracy.

You can read (and watch) more about previous stages of the Local Governance Review and Democracy Matters on our dedicated page.

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