Sir, With reference to your lead article, in last week’s Arran Banner, about the locality partnership this raised an interest for me as, having been chairman of the community council for several years, I was involved during that time in the pilot scheme being run by the Scottish Government, which I believe was the forerunner to the locality partnership.
At that time it was about grants to community councils for projects which they identified, but the actual distribution of the money was controlled by the Scottish Government. We were successful in our bid and £15,000 was granted for the refurbishment of the all-weather pitch at the Ormidale Sports Centre.
After reading through the article I became concerned regarding some of the comments being made as to it being ‘dysfunctional and non-representative’.
I have read the rules governing the body only to find that it is made up of the three elected NAC council members, representatives of the police service, the fire and rescue service, health and social care, two community members and the chair of the community council – plus persons who could be co-opted on for their specialist knowledge on any subject that is at that time a matter for discussion. Hardly unrepresentative. So as chairman of the community council Mr Calderwood has a reserved place on the locality partnership, but I also noted from its minutes he is vice chair of the partnership.
The governing rules stating that the chair should be one of the three NAC councillors. At this time Councillor McMaster.
It is also to be noted that Mr Calderwood has not accepted his position through his capacity as chair of the community council but as a community member, the community council then being allowed to delegate a member to fill the chairman’s place. Therefore it would appear that the community council is well represented having two members.
Under the governing rules the group must have quarterly meetings and there are dates set out in the minutes for those meetings. There are also reports from an Eco Savvy representative, as Arran had been chosen for a pilot scheme for green health and living, and reports from health and social care representatives as to what is necessary for a better standard of living for the islanders. Between those quarterly meetings several workshops were arranged throughout the island allowing the general public to attend and air their views.
This I would suggest is the island being well represented.
From my interpretation of the article it appears that Mr Calderwood wants the community council to have full control.
In my opinion and with my experience of the community council this is not a healthy way forward as the community council can be unrepresentative.
For Mr Calderwood to turn down the position offered to the chair of the community council to serve on the locality partnership and then use his position as chair of the community council to attack the workings of the group of which he is vice chair of as a community representative, I find very disturbing.
The purpose of the community council is to form a link between the various local authority departments and the community it represents. This requires a degree of respect from both and I would suggest that this article based on Mr Calderwood’s views does nothing to support a good relationship.
Yours, Campbell Laing, Pirnmill.