Community Councils Protocol

Community Council Protocol
Liaison with Clackmannanshire Council
Role of Liaison Officer:
Points of Contact:
Exchange of Information:
Resourcing Arrangements:
Planning Matters:
Role in the Preparation of the Local Development Plan:
Licensing Matters:
Role of the Returning Officer in Community Council Elections
Role of Clackmannanshire Council Elected Members and Officers:
Role of the Community Council
Governing documents
Communication Protocol

This Protocol defines the working relationship between Clackmannanshire Council and community councils in its area. It has been developed through dialogue between Clackmannanshire Council and community councils and sets out methods of communication and ways of working together. It is intended to promote good practice. It will therefore be monitored and reviewed as necessary by both parties on an ongoing basis.

Whilst Clackmannanshire Council recognises that community councils are independent bodies, it shares with them a commitment to their aims, and recognises that it is in both parties' interest and in the interests of the people of Clackmannanshire that there is a mutual understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities. Accordingly, it is understood that both parties are responsible for ensuring that this Protocol is followed.

Liaison with Clackmannanshire Council

Community Councils should direct a Service-specific issue, such as planning or licensing matters to the appropriate local authority official. On issues where a local authority Service is consulting with community councils, representations should be made to the appropriate officer in that Service.

The Liaison Officer is the contact for correspondence between the local authority and the community councils which is not Service-specific.

  1. Role of Liaison Officer:

    1. The Liaison Officer will be a member of staff in Finance and Corporate Services. He or she will have prime responsibility for monitoring the working relationship between community councils and the Council, reviewing the Protocol and ensuring that consultation mechanisms are operational. In addition, he or she will have a monitoring role in relation to community council functions to ensure they are adhering to their constitutions, financial arrangements and the provisions of the Scheme. It is the responsibility of this officer to bring breaches of the provisions of the Scheme to the attention of the community council in question and to the attention of the Council should the community council continue to act in breach of the Scheme..

  1. Points of Contact:

    1. Each community council will inform the Council of the names and full contact details of their office bearers each year after the AGM. If the secretary is not the recognised contact person for the community council, the correct person should be identified.

    2. Community councils shall inform the local authority of any change in membership and circumstances, as soon as is practicable.

  1. Exchange of Information:

    1. The papers of Council meetings, with accompanying reports (excluding papers which are Not for Publication), will be made available to community councils.

    2. The Council will ensure that community councils have the opportunity to be fully informed in advance on proposals which affect their area and area of interest, clearly stating the timescale within which any reply is needed. The Council will endeavour, where possible, to ensure that adequate time is allowed for any consultation.

    3. All community councils will make the minutes of their meetings available to the Liaison Officer timeously after approval.

  1. Resourcing Arrangements:

    1. Clackmannanshire Council will make meeting space in Council premises for up to 12 properly-convened community council meetings per year available free to all community councils to allow them to carry out their statutory functions. Where no suitable Council premises are available, the Council will reimburse reasonable costs of meeting venue hire Council on the same basis. Council resourcing will also include an annual grant for administrative costs which will be apportioned on the following basis:

- £400 to community councils in areas with a population under 3000

- £600 to community councils in areas with a population of 3000 and over

    1. Resourcing arrangements will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Council.

    2. All community councils, as with other community groups, are eligible to apply for discretionary grants for specific projects which will be judged on their merit and their fit to set criteria.

    3. Community councils will maintain proper financial records and present financial reports at community council meetings and annual accounts to the AGM for approval. Approved annual accounts are to be submitted to the Council to release the annual grant.

    4. Council services will offer seminar/information sessions which will be open to all community council members to attend, and will provide relevant guidance on request and as deemed appropriate.

    5. Finance and Corporate Services will offer support in organising and managing meetings and consulting the local community following initial establishment and will offer induction for all new community councillors following elections held in an election year.

  1. Planning Matters:

    1. Community councils have a statutory role in the planning process, in relation to both development planning and planning applications. Clackmannanshire Council will make public relevant information on planning matters via the e-planning system which community councils are encouraged utilise to keep themselves informed on planning matters.

    2. Clackmannanshire Council will appoint a case officer within Community and Regulatory Services for each planning application.

    3. Community councils will appoint a contact person for planning issues and will inform Community and Regulatory Services of the name and contact details of that person.

    4. Community and Regulatory Services will ensure that prospective developers are advised that pre-application consultation must take place with Community Councils for all 'major developments' as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Developments) (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

    5. A weekly list of all planning applications received which notes the case officer and the deadline for comment will be sent to each community council. In order to assist in ensuring timeous decision-making each community council will put in place arrangements to enable them to respond within the statutory time periods. Clackmannanshire Council will, subject to the circumstances of the case, seek to accommodate requests for extensions of time where it considers this appropriate, having regard to the significance of the case and the issues raised.

    6. Where a community council submits written representations on a planning application, Community and Regulatory Services will;-

      1. acknowledge receipt of the submission

      2. consider the representation carefully and include it in the Report of Handling on the application

      3. inform the Community Council of the decision in writing, setting out details of the consideration of the application and of the Community Council's representation, and the reason for the decision.

  1. Role in the Preparation of the Local Development Plan:

    1. In recognition of the statutory role in the planning process above and of fact that planning applications are required by law to be determined in accordance with the Local Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise, Clackmannanshire Council will provide information on and invite community councils to participate at each stage of the preparation of the Local Development Plan (LDP).

    1. Community and Regulatory Services will undertake to

      1. directly involve community councils in the preparation of the proposed content of the Participation Statement;

      2. directly consult community councils at each stage and on all drafts and pre-drafts of the document;

      3. acknowledge receipt of representation on the preparation of the LDP and feedback any action taken as a result of community council representation

      4. ensure communication from community councils on the preparation of the LDP is handled by an appropriately authorised officer

    1. Community councils will undertake to

      1. notify Community & Regulatory Services of the contact person for Local Development Plan consultation (if different from the Planning contact) and notify the Service if that contact or contact details change.

      2. Take steps to inform themselves and gather the views of the community they represent on matters relating to the LDP

      3. Respond to requests to take part in events and comment at each stage of the preparation of the LDP and comment on drafts and pre-drafts within the stated timescales.

      4. Ensure communication is directed to the named contact within Community & Regulatory Services unless the specific nature of the communication requires the attention of a member of Management or Senior Management.

  1. Licensing Matters:

    1. Community councils are competent objectors to applications for premises licences and occasional licences for premises within their area.

    2. Community councils will be sent notice of any application for a premises licence in their area before each meeting of the licensing board. They will also be notified of major variation applications for licensed premises in their area.

    3. Community councils are advised to send a representative to Licensing Board meetings to speak to their representation on licence applications and are encouraged to keep themselves informed on licensing matters and up-to-date on applications for occasional licences via the Council's website.

    4. Where a community council submits written representations on an application, Community and Regulatory Services will send notice of the outcome within 7 days of a decision and, if requested, a statement of reasons within 14 days of that request.

  1. Role of the Returning Officer in Community Council Elections

    1. Clackmannanshire Council will work closely with Community Councils to help promote their regular and interim elections and to ensure local information about the process is clear and community council elections are accessible to the electorate.

    2. Staff in the council's elections office will, on the direction of the Returning Officer (Chief Executive of the Council), carry out the administrative functions of the election process. This will include: setting the timetable, receiving and verifying the validity of nominations and arranging the ballot should an election be contested . They will also schedule and organise the inaugural meetings at which the Returning Officer or depute will Chair.

  2. Role of Clackmannanshire Council Elected Members and Officers:

    1. Clackmannanshire Council Elected Members are not eligible to become Community Councillors but it is in the interests of Elected Members, their constituents and the community council that they communicate with and maintain regular contact with their local Community Council(s).

    2. Officers of the Council may attend community council meetings with the agreement of the community council where they wish to discuss a local issue or gain the community council’s view on a particular subject, or where a community council has requested their attendance to explain a proposal or issue.

  1. Role of the Community Council

    1. All community councils have a responsibility to gather and reflect the views of the Community they represent. As well as ensuring that their meetings are open and well-advertised, community councils have a responsibility to consult actively with the wider community, including other community groups within their area (e.g. through surveys or public meetings) on major issues.

    2. Accordingly, they will have in place consultative mechanisms to help form and validate their views and will devise strategies to secure greater involvement by all sectors of the community.

    3. In order to fulfil this responsibility as effective and representative bodies, community councils shall: -

  • Inform the community of the work and decisions of the community council by posting agendas and minutes of meetings in public places, such as libraries and notice boards, websites and other forms of electronic communication, and, subject to the provisions contained within the Data Protection Act 1998, provide contact details of community council members.
    <>Seek to broaden both representation and expertise by making it possible for people who can represent the diversity within the community council area and people with specific skills to contribute to the work of the community council, where relevant.
    Make particular efforts to encourage young people and other under-represented groups to attend community council meetings and to participate in community council elections to ensure equality of opportunity in the way the community council carries out its functions.
    1. In carrying out their activities community councils will at all times adhere to the law, the terms of the Council’s Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils, and the Council's Protocol for Community Councils.

  1. Governing documents

    1. In the event of any conflict, the order of precedence of the governing documents of community councils will be

  1. Scheme of Establishment
    Standing Orders
    Community Councils Protocol

9.2 Constitutions

All community councils will follow a standard model in drawing up their constitution covering:

  • the name of the Community Council;
    the purpose of the Community Council;
    the geographic area covered;
    the membership size and composition of the Community Council;
    the quorum and minimum number of meetings to be held in one year;
    the terms of office of members to be held in one year;
    date of Annual General Meeting;
    election of office bearers;
    composition, function and powers of any committees;
    finance and accounts;
    alterations to the constitution
    terms of dissolution.

The model constitution will be drafted by the Council and reviewed in consultation with the community councils, modified as required and used as the basis of the updated constitution each community council adopts .

  1. Equalities

    1. Recognition should be given to the contribution of everyone participating in the work of the community council. Community councils must comply with Equal Opportunities legislation and ensure that equality of opportunity be given to every participant to have their knowledge, opinion, skill and experience taken into account.

  1. Communication Protocol

    1. Responsibility of Clackmannanshire Council

Clackmannanshire Council recognises that community councils have a legitimate role to play in raising issues of community concern with the Council.

The Customer Charter outlines the standards of service to which Clackmannanshire Council is committed and it will be made available to all community councils.

Notwithstanding the standards laid out in the Customer Charter

  • Council officers will contact community councils using the designated contact, giving their own name and contact details
    Services will ensure that the appropriate officer responds to community council enquiries and that responses are timeous
    Service Managers will ensure their frontline staff are clear on the role community councils can play in improving the services the Council provides for the public
    Officers from Council Services will attend community council meetings and meetings of sub-committees of community council where an invitation from the community council to attend for a stated reason has been received.
    Council Officers will recognise the legitimacy of any community council sub-committee which has been formally established through appropriate delegation procedures and which follows community council protocol.
    1. Responsibility of Community Councils

Community councils should

  • Direct all enquiries on community council business through the named officer, if known.

    Direct enquiries where the name of the officer is not known to the Service Managers, or failing that through the generic contact for the Service.

    Use the Council's Contact Centre as the first port of call for enquiries where the Service responsible is not known, or to follow up an enquiry which has gone unanswered

    Give the Service time to respond to properly addressed enquiries and reminders before initiating a complaint through the Council's Complaint Procedure.

    Avoid duplicating enquiries to the same or different Council Services

    Observe their responsibility to represent the interests of the community and avoid making enquiries as a community council on behalf of individuals and which are individuals’ own personal agendas

    Respect that at times information will be sensitive or confidential and that this will limit the information that can be in the public domain

    Respond timeously to communication from Clackmannanshire Council and endeavour to respond to consultation documents within the specified timescale.=

In instances where community councils have not received a response within the minimum standards from any Service, as long as the community council has adhered to the Protocol, the following process will apply:-

    1. The community council will raise a complaint about the lack of response directly through the Council's complaints procedure

    2. The community council will then notify the Community Council Liaison Officer that they have made a complaint through the Council's Complaints Procedure.

    3. The Community Council Liaison Officer will record the details and notify the Head of Strategy & Customer Services .

    4. The Service in question will respond to the complaint directly to the community council in accordance with the Complaints Procedure

  1. Review

    1. This Protocol will be reviewed annually. The Council and community councils may at any time ask for a review to reflect changes in circumstances which affect all community councils, and to maintain good practice

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