Community Empowerment

As a council, we have a formal duty to enable our local communities to be involved in decision-making about the services we provide. You can help us shape your local services.

This duty has been set out in the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act which came into effect in 2015.  

Information about how many requests we receive and how we promote participation requests is available in the participation request annual reports. You can also view a summary of participation requests in our overview of participation requests (PDF 207KB).

Find out more about:

Participation requests

Participation requests are a mechanism for communities to have a more proactive role in having their voices heard in how local services are planned and delivered.

By making a participation request, community groups can start a dialogue with the council about their needs, opportunities and issues that are important to them. The aim is to make a positive difference to their local community.

If your request is actually a complaint about service delivery then we will deal with this through our complaints process.

If your community group would like to make a participation request there are some things you need to know:


In order to be eligible to make a request to improve an outcome, a community organisation can be, but does not have to be, a legally constituted group. It must however be community-led, meaning that those who make up the group are from the community they seek to represent. Membership must be open to the whole community and the work of the group (including any profits generated by the group or organisation) must be for the benefit of the community. Community councils are included.

The act does not specify that community bodies have to be geographically defined in order to make a participation request. This enables community organisations that are formed around a shared identity or characteristic, such as ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation, to initiate participation requests if they want to improve an outcome relating to their community of interest.

Please view Appendix 1 of our participation request guidance. You can also view more detailed information about community participation bodies on the Scottish Government website.

You can't make a participation request as an individual. However if you have an idea about how to improve an outcome you may want to take this to a local community participation group.

Asset transfer and participation request

If your community group is in the middle of an asset transfer (AT) process and you also want to make a participation request please contact the area manager who is dealing with your AT request to discuss this further. Scottish Government guidance discourages running an asset transfer process and a participation request process at the same time. It is likely that the participation request can be managed as part of the community asset transfer process.

If the participation request is not linked to the asset transfer (that is not about service delivery from the building being considered for transfer) then please contact your local area manager in the first instance to discuss informally or complete our participation request form.

Before submitting your request

If you are thinking about making a participation request, the key questions to consider are:

  • What are your objectives - what is it that you want to improve for your community
  • Who is your community
  • Do you have support for your ideas within your community
  • Do you have support for these ideas across the wider community
  • Have you spoken to the relevant public body already

When you have discussed these questions with your community group, please speak to your local area manager about your idea for a participation request.

This will help us ensure we use our existing processes appropriately. This way any participation request that is submitted is well thought-out and focused on improving community outcomes.

How to make a participation request

Before you submit your application, view our guidance on how to complete the form (PDF 382KB).

You can apply online or in paper.

Apply online

You can make a participation request by filling in an online form.

Make a participation request

Apply in paper

To apply in paper fill in our participation request form (PDF 143KB). Please send your completed form to

Feedback team
Woodhill House
Westburn Road
AB16 5GB

What happens after

We will give you a decision within 30 days of the validation date that will be confirmed in the letter acknowledging your request.

Generally a participation request will always be agreed. There may be times when a request is refused but we will always explain why.

Common good property

Certain legal processes govern the disposal or change of use of common good property.