Community involvement target missed

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Council bosses are lagging behind targets to get communities involved in taking over projects and budget setting. 

South Ayrshire Council is supposed to be “improving” community empowerment by allowing people to decide how some money is spent among other measures but a meeting heard the council had only made 33 per cent progress on the external audit target in relation to community involvement. The deadline for completing the goal is the end of this month.

Councillor Helen Moonie blasted the lack of headway at the council’s Audit and Governance Panel meeting last week, the Labour councillor pointing out the due date is March 31 and only 33 per cent of progress has been made over seven years.

Ms Moonie called for more action to speed up attempts to get communities empowered and asked for the issue to be made a ‘standing item’ on the meeting agenda.

Panel chair councillor Peter Convery said: “I don’t know why it has slipped off the radar.”

The action is rated as a medium priority by the council. 

The meeting heard officers would look into the matter and an update would be provided.

A report submitted to the panel said  it is recommended that “South Ayrshire Council improve community involvement via increased community empowerment, community takeover and participatory budgeting.

“Options are being developed as part of the council’s longer term approach to these aspects.”

It said a “number of strategies” will be presented to panels over the next few months.

The council has hit other targets in the external audit including making financial savings, carrying out priority based budgeting and others.