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People to have their say on Scotland’s public services

People across Scotland are being invited to join a conversation about community decision-making to help make public services more locally focused.

The Democracy Matters conversation will identify new legal rights for communities which would place them at the heart of decision-making. The Democracy Matters conversation is a joint venture between the Scottish Government, COSLA and the community sector and will run over the next six months.

As part of the conversation people are being invited to consider a short set of questions on shaping local democracy. Community groups can also apply for grants of up to £300 to host their own events related to the project. To find out more about the grants, please visit Voluntary Action Fund’s website: https://www.voluntaryactionfund.org.uk/funding-and-support/democracy-matters-community-engagement-fund

You can get involved by answering the questions contained in the document, Democracy Matters - Your Community.

Your Ideas. Your Future:http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/05/6780
Scottish Government has also published the following supporting materials:
·         guide explaining how decisions about Scotland's public services are made
·         guide to help you hold a conversation in your community
·         guide to facilitating a good conversation
To return your answers:
·         email: democracymatters@gov.scot or
·         send them to: freepost DEMOCRACY MATTERS (use capital letters)

You must include a completed respondent information form, available to download here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/05/6780/downloads
For those who can't attend a community event but want to join the conversation, you can get involved at Scottish Government’s ideas.gov.scot platform: https://www.ideas.gov.scot/local-governance-review/

Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: 
“The start of the Democracy Matters conversation is an important moment for community decision-making in Scotland. We believe that more decisions about public services should be taken locally, and that communities should be able to influence those decisions. We want to hear from people across Scotland about the issues they want decisions on in their neighbourhood, town or village, and the kind of arrangements that would help that happen.”

COSLA President Alison Evison said: 
“Across the country, it is widely recognised that Scotland needs local solutions to the opportunities and challenges it faces. The conversation is a vital contribution to the change that is needed across all spheres of government to make Scotland a more democratic place, and to ensure that Scotland’s public services are built around the communities they serve.” 

Scottish Community Alliance Director Angus Hardie said:
“As things stand, communities often find that the really important issues that affect them the most are decided without their involvement and in faraway places. But if democracy is working well, most of those decisions would be taken much closer to these communities and often by local people themselves. Democracy Matters is a rare opportunity for communities everywhere – especially for those groups whose voice doesn’t always get heard – to become involved and to re-imagine how democracy can be made to work for everyone.”

More information
Contact democracymatters@gov.scot
http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/05/6780
https://beta.gov.scot/policies/improving-public-services/local-governance-review/
https://www.voluntaryactionfund.org.uk/funding-and-support/democracy-matters-community-engagement-fund
https://news.gov.scot/news/communities-to-shape-democracy

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