Alasdair McKinlay, who has responsibility for developing the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill. offers SURF a brief outline on the early consultation stages.

The Scottish Government is pleased to be taking forward its manifesto commitment for a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, which aims to make it easier for communities to take over underused or unused public sector assets. It also includes measures to enable communities to deal more effectively with derelict or unused property in their area.

In addition, the Government is hoping to address the Christie Commission’s recommendation that the Bill promotes significantly improved community participation in the design and delivery of public services, and action to build community capacity, recognising the particular needs of communities facing multiple social and economic challenges.


We are at the early stages of developing the scope of the Bill and will be doing so through a wide ranging engagement with stakeholders throughout Scotland. The first stage of the process, until the end of this year, will involve us speaking to a range of experts from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and with communities themselves, to explore ideas to include in the Bill. We will then carry out a formal and wide-ranging consultation next year on specific proposals.

Developing a Bill is a complex procedure. We are determined to take the time necessary to work with stakeholders and communities in undertaking the research required to develop solutions that empower our communities. There are various steps to developing a Bill and ensuring it is fit for purpose including: developing policy, consultation (both formal and informal), finalising policy, working up the provisions in the Bill, possibly more consultation and then the final drafting of the Bill. This process varies in length depending on the policy and complexity of the Bill, but it can take around 18-24 months to prepare a Bill ready for introduction to Parliament.

We will be happy to keep SURF members up to date with progress as the Bill develops.