5 Key Principles

5 Key Principles
Scottish Community Alliance

Key principles of community empowerment which should underpin the forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill

• Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is an organising principle that should inform all aspects public policy in Scotland and be at the heart of the new legislation on community empowerment.  The principle of subsidiarity requires any matter to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralised authority capable of addressing that matter effectively.

• Self-determination.  Local people should be allowed to determine for themselves how their community is defined and which local organisational structure is best suited to take forward their plans for local empowerment.

• Local people leading. Community empowerment only occurs when local people lead the process of taking power and control over resources.  Communities empower themselves through bottom-up activity.

• Community rights.  Many of the barriers to community empowerment relate to the organisational culture and entrenched attitudes found within public sector bodies.  In order to achieve the necessary culture change, the most effective catalyst is to confer communities with new, legally enforceable rights rather than seek to impose new duties on public bodies.

• Land and self-generated income.  Ownership of land and control over land use, and the capacity to generate income streams which are independent of the state, are critical in determining the degree to which a community becomes empowered.