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Community

Voluntary duties

I am saddened to read, for the second time in two years, Loanhead Community Council complain in the Midlothian Advertiser that the ‘standard’ grant of £300 is insufficient for the administration of their Community Council, and that they are not able to pay the ‘honorariums’ of £100 and £400 to their chairman and secretary.

Two matters the members of Loanhead Community Council may wish to ponder on are:

Firstly, prior to last year, when Midlothian Council revised and centralised their grants streams, each community council received a different sized grant, ranging from £200 to over £2000 - grants which bore no relation to the size of the council area; its population; or even the number of members on the council, and it was not possible to reallocate these moneys because they were embedded in legal documents establishing the councils.

In consultation with our Federation, Midlothian Council now award a ‘standard’ grant of £300 to each of the 16 community councils, to cover their administration costs (stationary. postage, etc), and councils can ‘bid’ for additional moneys to cover unexpected costs or one-off projects.

Secondly, the ‘Code of Conduct’ for community councillors states quite clearly that community councillors should not use their position to gain financial or material benefit. If, like community councillors elsewhere, Loanhead Community Councillors carried out their civic duties without payment, then the grant of £300 could easily meet their administrative costs, and they would be on a par with the other 150 or so community councillors within Midlothian who carry out their role for nothing.

Ron Campbell

Vice-Chairman

Midlothian Federation of Community Councils

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