What is a community council?
Community councils are made up of local people who give of their time and have a genuine interest in, the well-being of their community and the people who live there.
Community Councils are a special type of community group that has a legal right to be consulted on important local issues, such as planning and licensing. They are a great way for local people to get things done in their area and make sure that the voices of local people count. They are a direct link between local people and the Council, NHS, police, fire and other public bodies. They meet to discuss matters of interest to their particular local area, with a remit to make known to the local authority and to other agencies, the views of local people on matters affecting them.
How do they work?
East Renfrewshire is divided into 11 community council areas, which you can view on a map on the Council's community councils webpage.
The four biggest areas (Barrhead, Giffnock and the two community councils covering Newton Mearns) are further divided into neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood has a fixed number of places on its community council reserved for it.
Community councils usually meet once a month. They are consulted on a wide range of issues affecting their area. This can include new housing plans, roads and crime, etc. Community councils have a legal right to be consulted on planning applications in their community council areas and on liquor licensing applications.
Community councils may also campaign around specific issues affecting the communities they represent or choose to run local events such as fetes, fun days or fund-raise for a good cause.
Community Council Activities
The breadth of their statutory purpose is reflected in a wide range of activities which contribute to a variety of roles. One way of describing community councils' main activity is that they hold fixed monthly meetings to address matters of relevance to their local community. However, the activities undertaken by community councils between meetings and indeed throughout the year are vitally important in determining their effectiveness as community representatives.
There is great variety among community councils and the most active will regularly:-
- Write to relevant agencies, following a meeting of the community council, in order to highlight an issue.
- Attend meetings with public officials.
- Hold public meetings, either at regular intervals or in response to a specific issue, to find out what areas of concern there are within their community.
- Carry out surveys in their area, typically by using questionnaires.
- Produce a newsletter and distribute it in their area.
- Establish a website / Facebook page / Twitter / web-based newsletter.
- Respond on behalf of their community to Development Plans / planning applications / licensing issues.
- Write in response to a proposal or consultation document issued by the Council.
- Meet with other community councils and local community groups.
- Receive and respond to enquiries and issues raised by members of the public.
- Arrange for public officials and others, to attend and address meetings of the community council on matters of interest.
- Organise community events in order to enhance their local areas and to promote the profile and activities of the community council.