We met with the Chair of Edinburgh Association of Community Councils, David Salton, to find out a bit more about how community councils work, and also what you might have to do if you want to get involved. EACC is the liaison body supporting all of the individual community councils in the city.
At times like this when some of our council services are under threat, it is perhaps easy to see how the community councils which are a voluntary body, might have more influence. We also spoke to Tina Cumming who is a member of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council about the work they do.
Community councils are set up in each area to have a say on local affairs. The hierarchy is that Edinburgh Council decides on most matters which affect the city, below that there are Neighbourhood Partnerships and then there are community councils. Since 1991 there has been a single tier of unitary authorities in Scotland, replacing the old two-tier structure of Regional and District local authority bodies. The council gets all of its powers from a range of statutes, and community councils were first set up under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and their existence was continued by legislation passed in 1994. They were set up to be the local voice in the area that they represent, and all community councillors must reside in the area. They are funded by a grant from the City of Edinburgh Council.
There is more information available on the City of Edinburgh Council website.