Community Councils were set up with Local Government re-organisation in 1973. Their general purpose is defined in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and Section 22 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994 as being:
“to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authority for its area and to public authorities the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which those authorities are responsible and to take such action in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable”.
One of the greatest challenges of the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council is establishing the views of the community, which has a population around 11,500. The Community Council employs several means to share information with the community and to provide the opportunity for public feedback and comment. These are:
- Community Council website
- Community Council Facebook page
- Community Council Twitter account – this has now been set up at https://twitter.com/cbmcommunity. If on Twitter follow @cbmcommunity.
- Quarterly Community magazine ‘MBC News’
- Ten meetings open to the public during the year
- Posting of meeting agendas and minutes at the Cults library
- Occasional use of the Next Door website to seek input from local residents
- Participation in local festivals and events, including planning exhibitions
- In addition, the contact details of the Community Council Officers are made public.
Consultation – capturing a representative set of community views. The Community Council relies on the public to come forward with views on matters of importance to them, either by raising them at the monthly meetings or by contacting the Community Council directly using telephone, email or postal mail. We occasionally use simple surveys to gather views using our website and Facebook page. Is there a better way to capture a wider set of opinions that does not require significant time and effort?
- The Community Council website and Facebook page enable the quick sharing of information with local residents and those residents can respond using either email or Facebook comments/messages. These tools do require a public interest and ability to use them to make them useful. As of January 2020 there were over 1124 Followers and 1021 Likes for our Facebook page; visits to the website are unknown. Twitter usage is still limited.
- The MBC News magazine is issued quarterly (Feb, May, Aug, Nov) to 4,700 homes and it provides a useful means of providing news on things that have happened and information on longer wavelength future matters.
3 The Community Council website provides information on current events as well as details of Community Council meetings (agendas, minutes).
Officers of the Community Council occasionally give presentations to local groups e.g. Cults Over 50’s, sharing information on activity, which could have an impact on the area.
Are there other techniques we can employ which would be manageable by the volunteer members of the Community Council?
Media management – dealing with the press. The officers of the Community Council are often contacted by the local press for comments on events which have taken place or are currently happening in our area. The Community Councils Handbook 2012 provides useful advice on dealing with journalists to ensure that no comments are made which could compromise the Community Council and its members later.
Engaging Aberdeen City Council officers on the views of the Community Council. The Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council sits within the Lower Deeside electoral ward and we have three City Councillors to represent our views and those of the local electorate. The councillors elected at the 2017 local elections were; Phillip Bell, Marie Boulton, Tauqeer Malik. The City Councillors are useful contacts for hearing details on City Council plans and also for raising issues for the attention of City Council Officers. Community Council Officers also make direct contact with some City Council Officers on matters relating to the community.
Community Council Objectives
To establish a representative view of our community as possible on matters that will, or could have, an impact on the lives of those people living in the community.
To present the community views to the Aberdeen City Council and other Scottish Government groups on local matters of importance and on government policies which impact community well-being.
- To maintain all the current arrangements for consultation and communicating with the public, the media and official bodies.
- To explore further ways of finding out the views of the community on specific issues.
- To develop a template for news releases and for use in dealing with press questions.
- To establish a list of contacts in the media to support CC communications.
- To broaden use of CC Twitter account for sharing information.
- Views from the public would be welcome on the points addressed above, particularly on:
- How can we improve the gathering of public opinion?
- How can the Community Council share information and how can this be improved?
If you would like to comment please add them below or click here to open a response sheet file. This will allow you to complete and send your response by email to email@example.com or by post to CBMCC at: 188 North Deeside Road, Milltimber, AB13 0HL. All comments, however received, will be collated anonymously and acted upon as appropriate. Your identity will not be disclosed.