On October the 14th the Lochgelly Community Council elections will take place. Anyone who wants to serve on the Community Council is too late to apply as nominations had to be received by 4pm on Thursday, September 16th.
This information was gathered from the Fife Council website from an article published back in August, which we discovered today, as we heard that elections were about to take place and that applications were already too late.
We are curious why our Lochgelly Community Council never made any public announcement concerning the elections, and we are also curious to know, how many people in the locality were aware that elections were going to take place and nominations were being sought?
We know the Community Council have been on holiday for the past 3 months with the 1st meeting back taken place on the 8th of September, no public announcements were made concerning the elections or nominations, prior too, or after the holiday.
We are also still waiting for a reply to our query we made over 3 months ago, for access to the Community Council accounts as they are a non profit public body, and for the Community Council to share the minutes of the meetings online, to make the Community Council more accessible and accountable to the local community they are elected to serve.
We do have great concerns that the Community Councillors that have a nomination/application to serve on the Community Council will be in a minority as the wider community failed to receive any public notification on the elections by our local councillors.
The ASCC (The Association of Scottish Community Councils) is the national representative and campaigning body for all the Community Councils of Scotland, and they state in their guidelines that;
You have a legal and ethical responsibility to communicate with ALL the citizens living in your community. You must do this regularly and effectively to be able to claim that you represent their views and needs, and not the personal opinions of Community Councillors.
There are two parts of this duty – seeking their views and keeping them informed of your work as their elected representatives.
By that definition alone, we feel that the Community Council has failed in their ethical and legal responsibilities in communicating with their constituents. We advise the Community Council to review the documentation provided by the ASCC on Policy and Best Practice, as we feel the Community Council is on a slippery slope, whereby they may be viewed as not representing the local community in the best interests of the local community.
We are raising this issue because (a) we feel there was no public notification with regards to nominations/applications being sought for the elections, and (b) we have made several requests to the Community Council for the minutes of the meetings to share with the local community which have went unanswered, which goes against “Good Practice Guidance for Local Authorities and Community Councils” (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/923/0087727.pdf) and the “Code of Conduct for Community Councillors” (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1124/0079327.pdf).
The Community Council is meant to serve the local community, and while we do recognise that they do some valuable work within the local community we also recognise that they can keep the public better informed of their activities, if willing.
We do not want to be critical of the Lochgelly Community Council, yet we feel that the Community Council could be doing more to keep the local community, that they were elected to serve, better informed on what is happening within Lochgelly.