A Community Council consists of local people and interest groups who represent their community. Local views are put forward by the community council to the local authority and other organisations such as Scottish government, NHS Lothian and the police.
Community representation is done by various methods such as communication with the local authority by highlighting issues; meeting public officials; holding public meetings; carrying out surveys; meeting with other community councils; and arranging events to promote Community Council interests and issues.
The local authority has a duty to consult and inform the Community Council on services, licensing and other issues that affect their neighbourhood. A Community Council has a statutory right to be consulted on local planning.
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A Community Council has statutory roles and powers in accordance with Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Local authorities are required by law to set up a Scheme for the establishment of community councils. This Scheme sets out rules and regulations, election procedures, boundaries and membership requirements.
More information can be found at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/communitycouncils
A Community Council elects office bearers including chairperson, secretary and treasurer who are typically elected every 3 years. The Chair is the principal Community Council representative and must have sound knowledge of the Scheme for Community Councils and its Constitution.
The Secretary’s basic responsibilities are formally representing the community council, dealing with correspondence and being well-informed about all aspects of the community council’s activities and interests. The Chair and Secretary need to liaise closely so that meetings are well prepared for and meetings run smoothly.
The Treasurer oversees community council funds, keeping accurate financial records. Reports are given at each community council meeting. Community Councils receive an annual grant from the local authority and in addition the community council can fundraise on their initiative.