The Borders has a deep sense of identity and community spirit. The Borders Party would build on this to encourage news ways of delivering local services so that they became more accountable, better run and more responsive to local needs. We would seek to devolve powers to run local services back to local communities.
In many cases the foundations are already there. Common Good funds and other local benevolent trusts have a long history, though in recent times many have been taken over by the Council. The Borders has a growing charitable sector and a strong tradition of sporting and leisure associations. Across the Borders, new groups have sprung up to run institutions as diverse as swimming pools, pubs and heritage sites.
We want to encourage such innovation to find new ways of providing services. Instead of everything being provided by the distant Council, local trusts, groups and voluntary organisations would be encouraged to play their part. This in turn would strengthen the sense of community and neighbourliness that already exists throughout our region.
The Borders Party would
- Promote local control of services such as libraries, sport and leisure facilities, art galleries, halls, museums and parks. Innovative ways of improving and expanding services would be encouraged, attracting business and charitable support, and becoming more responsive to local priorities.
- Return control of Common Good Funds to local communities by establishing locally based boards. Made up of experienced local figures, these boards would establish oversight of Common Good Funds so that they act in the interests of local people. Scottish Borders Council would undertake to act under guidance from these bodies.
- Look for innovative ways to improve rubbish collection and waste management. We would invite service providers from around the country to propose new ways of collecting rubbish in consultation with local communities to make this service more responsive to household needs.
- Ensure that contracting-out of local services is accountable to local people so that services are effective, efficient, and responsive to local priorities.
- Seek out the most cost effective methods of road maintenance and infrastructure improvement. We would invite Borders businesses to provide management expertise and know-how to reduce costs and improve road quality.
Tell us what you think
The Borders Party is fully committed to taking the views of Borderers into account, so please contact us and let us have your thoughts on how we can best serve the Borders.