SNP Bid to Take Local Accountability Closer to Communities

>> 24 June 2012

SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire have launched a bid to give local communities a direct route to influence the priorities of local government.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Full Council, a Motion from the SNP Group will be debated which calls for the setting-up of a Public Petitions Committee.  The idea is similar to that which has been in operation successfully at the Scottish Parliament for many years.

Commenting, SNP Group Leader Cllr Joanna Strathdee (Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford) said:

“I think this is an exciting opportunity to not only make local government more accessible to our communities but also for Aberdeenshire Council to adopt a process which, if implemented correctly, will lead to a re-engagement of communities with the council.

For many of Aberdeenshire’s residents, the Council seems to be a body which is separate from their daily lives and not relevant to them.  That is something we in the SNP would like to change.  As part of our plans to listen more closely to those who live and work in Aberdeenshire we included a commitment in our manifesto to create a new committee – a petitions committee – to provide people with the means to raise concerns directly into the decision-making process of their Council and ensure their voices are heard.”

SNP Deputy Group Leader Cllr Stephen Smith (Peterhead South & Cruden) added:

The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament has been enormously successful since 1999 and was the basis for Renfrewshire Council’s innovative step in creating a Scrutiny and Petitions Board. 

“Renfrewshire have established a clear set of rules for the running of their Scrutiny and Petitions Board and by looking at how others have implemented a petitions committee, and what they have learned from their experiences, we can create a system which works for Aberdeenshire.”

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