What are the Federation’s aims and objectives?
The Federation constitution states: “The objectives of the Federation shall be to further the aims and interests of the Community by discussion and debate between representatives of member Community Councils. Further action, arising from such discussion and debate shall be subject to the agreement of a two-thirds majority of those representatives present at the meeting called for that purpose.”
In practice, The Federation seeks a consensus view on matters of common interest, and to promote that consensus with partner organisations such as Midlothian Council, the Scottish Executive, and other public and private bodies. The support of The Federation is also extended to individual councils or groups of councils faced with local issues which are not necessarily of Midlothian-wide significance.
Does Midlothian Council really listen to the federation?
Emphatically YES. Through Community Planning and its emphasis on community engagement, a growing partnership is evolving in which the voice of the Federation is listened to.
Federation nominees sit at all levels of Midlothian Community Planning Partnership, from the Senior body, the Steering Committee through the whole network of subsidiary groups, all working to enhance quality of life for all Midlothian residents, based on a determination of how Midlothian want to see their communities develop. A panel of Federation representatives decide on awards made through Midlothian Council’s Small Projects Regeneration Fund. Such developments enhance the status of Midlothian’s community councils, presenting us with challenges as well as opportunities.
Do we really need a federation to do these things?
Experience shows that community councils share many common interests with little that divides them. To have a realistic hope of successfully promoting the best interests of their communities, there can be no more effective means than speaking loudly and clearly, with a single voice.
Sixteen community councils, all speaking at once, are hardly likely to send out a clear message. To quote a couple of well-worn catchphrases, unity is strength and those in power cannot be blamed for taking every opportunity to divide and rule.
Scottish community councils support common structures in their local areas, and they unite in the Association of Scottish Community Councils. The Association, officially consulted by the Scottish Government, reserves a place for Midlothian on its Executive. ASCC is looking to improve its effectiveness by building on the strengths of local community councils working in partnership in their respective areas.
Just as the Association aims to act as a clearing house of ideas and information for community councils throughout Scotland, so The Federation seeks to strengthen all Midlothian’s community councils by providing them with a forum for discussion and sharing of best practice. Working cooperatively, all can benefit from each other’s work and experience, thereby avoiding time-consuming duplication of effort.