Renfrewshire Council

How community groups can make a participation request

What a participation request is, purpose of a participation request, how to make a participation request, assessment and decision on a participation request, outcome improvement process, report on the outcome.

What a participation request is

Renfrewshire Council works with local communities to improve your public services.  Community organisations can make a Participation Request if they have an idea for improving outcomes for people (e.g. better health, lower crime, etc) by becoming involved with a service.

We will promote awareness of Participation Requests and other aspects of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 on our website and through social media.  Email or phone conversations are welcomed and encouraged.

If you have any questions or want to discuss anything about Participation Requests, please contact or phone 0141 618 7408.

Purpose of a participation request

Participation Requests are part of a range of measures under the Community Empowerment (Scotland ) Act 2015  that open up the conversation between public service authorities and community organisations about working together  to improve services and the positive difference they make to people.

The Scottish Government has issued legislation and guidance that gives a full explanation the Participation Requests process. The guidance provides helpful information and community organisations are recommended to read the guidance to inform themselves about the processes involved.

The four main ways that they can be used are:

  • Start a dialogue about things that matter to the community.
  • Have the community voice heard through contributing to decision-making processes.
  • Help contribute to a service change or improvement (through designing, delivering, monitoring or reviewing service provision).
  • Help people challenge decisions and seek support for alternatives to improve outcomes

Scottish Government Guidance provides examples of ways Participation Requests can be used.

Public service authorities should approve Participation Requests, unless there are clear and justifiable reasons for not doing so. 

You can see the annual report of Participation Requests from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 [64KB] .

How to make a participation request

Your organisation can make a Participation Request if it is a:

  • Community controlled body (has a constitution, has a defined community, is open to any community member, has a majority of members from that community, has a purpose for the benefit of that community).
  • Community body without a written constitution (providing the public service authority is satisfied it meets requirements of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015)
  • Community of interest (people sharing an interest or characteristic)
  • Community council
  • A community body or class of community bodies designated by order of Scottish Ministers.

If your organisation is in one of these categories, then it will be regarded as a community participation body and will be eligible to make a Participation Request.

In addition to Renfrewshire Council, as a local authority, your organisation can also make a Participation Request to the following public service authorities:

  • Health Board
  • Board of management of a college of further education
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • A National Park Authority
  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Regional Transport Partnership

Scottish Government Ministers can add to this list by Order.

Community participation bodies are recommended to contact the relevant authority to discuss their Participation Request before it is formally submitted, although this is not a legal requirement.

Once a community participation body has decided to submit a Participation Request, it should complete a Participation Request form [36KB] . In the form, the community participation body must:

  • Set out the outcome they want to improve and the relevant service.
  • Set out the reasons why the community body should participate in the outcome improvement process.
  • Explain the knowledge, experience or expertise that the community participation body has in relation to the outcome to be improved.
  • Explain the improvement of the relevant outcome that will result from the community participation request being implemented.

In addition to the request form, it would be helpful for a community participation body to provide some indication of the level of local support it has e.g. from a vote or community survey.

Request forms should be accompanied by a copy of the community participation body's constitution or governance arrangements.  You may be asked for further information.

If you have any difficulty with the request form, please contact Renfrewshire Council.

Assessment of a participation request

Your request will be validated initially for completeness and eligibility under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.   Once validated, the Council or other public service authority has 30 days within which to notify you of its decision, unless more than one public service body is involved, in which case the time period for a decision may be extended to up to 45 days.   If a request is complex, public service authorities and public authorities may agree an extension.

The decision by Renfrewshire Council will assess the benefits of the request in terms of economic development, regeneration, public health, social wellbeing, environmental wellbeing, reducing inequalities of outcome and any other benefits.

Agreeing to a Participation Request is an agreement for Renfrewshire Council to have a dialogue with the community participation body.

Decision on the participation request

Once a decision is made by Renfrewshire Council, a decision notice must be issued to the community participation body. A copy of the decision notice will be placed on the Renfrewshire Council website, which will set out any grounds for refusal of the request.

Outcome improvement process

If a Participation Request is approved, an outcome improvement process will then take place, involving the community participation body.  The outcome improvement process must start within 90 calendar days from the decision notice being published and the process must be maintained once underway.

Report on the outcome

Once the outcome improvement process has been completed, Renfrewshire Council, or the relevant public service authority will publish a report on the outcome of the process. The Council and each public service authority must publish by 30 June each year a report on the number of requests received, agreed to and refused in the previous year from 1 April to 31 March.