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Community Councils

Encouraging diversity of membership

Community councils promote inclusive communities of interest.

A community council's primary function is to ascertain and express the views of the community they seek to represent and based on these views, take appropriate action. It is important that all sections of the community are properly represented and have the opportunity to participate in the local democratic process. This includes young people.

Ever since they were established, many community councils have struggled to attract and sustain the involvement of young people. Research shows that the average age of members of community councils in Scotland is around 58 years. Lack of youth involvement has again been addressed in the Scheme, where the minimum age for membership with full voting rights is 16 years of age.  

Article 12 in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that young people, who are capable of forming their views, should have the right to express these views freely. The pdf icon Scheme for establishment of Community Councils [355kb] provides equal opportunities for young people to be involved in local democratic decisions through their community councils.

Involving young people in decision-making has been subject to research based on many different models of participation:

All these research findings and toolkits provide guidance on how to go about increasing youth involvement in the local democratic process. The council encourages community councils to make use of this information and it will also provide guidance, training and support in this area, as required.

At all times, the community council should bear in mind equalities legislation in encouraging as diverse a range of representation, as is practicable.

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