Development Trusts

What is DTAS?

Development Trust Association of Scotand, DTAS is a support organisation for development trusts.  It provides advice and support to help groups of individuals form development trusts. Its web site says this:

“Development trusts are part of Scotland’s fastest growing regeneration network. They are diverse in nature: large and small, rural and urban, mainland and island based. What development trusts all share in common however is a determination to see their community or neighbourhood flourish, through community-led activity, partnership working and enterprise.”

Why did PCDT took the course it did?

DTAS advised that given where we were and the urgency with which we needed to demonstrate progress, the best approach for us was to set up the company using their model articles of association so that these are defined. Then embark on recruiting interested members of the community as members so that they could see what they were joining. A Trust proper would be formed when the minimum numbers of members have joined together. This was achieved by March 2019.

Why did PCDT founders think a Trust was a good idea.

The founding members thought that there are four reasons:

  • See backround here
  • We knew that the Hall was at risk of closure. If D&G Council could not see any progress towards an entity as required by the agreement with PCC, then there was a risk that they may consider that after 3 years that a management lease or asset transfer to a Community group is unlikely and will then have to decide what their action will be. Given that we had been told that there is no budget from 1st January 2019 then we considered that the Village Hall was at risk.
  • Management of the hall, (even just servicing the existing service level agreement) is not a statutory function of a Community Council. Moreover, the Community Council itself is at risk and could be disestablished due to member resignations or many other reasons. The PCC does however have a role as conduit between the community and D&G council.
  • In searching for funds to support public consultation and assistance with due diligence etc, for the Hall, the Hall Group became aware of many other potential opportunities for community enterprise and ways to bring in community development to support the Village Hall and to obtain professional support for a community development plan. None of these were available to volunteers under the service level agreement.

Why can’t the Portpatrick Community Council just do all this?

The capacity of the existing PCC is severely limited. The statutory purposes of Community Councils established under the Scheme are set out in Section 51(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 as follows:

‘’In addition to any other purpose which a Community Council may pursue, the general purpose of a Community Council shall be to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area, and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which those authorities are responsible, and to take such action in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable’’.

The PCC meetings have a number of issues to deal with and the PCC meetings are an unsuitable vehicle for dealing with the complexity of piloting community ownership of a Hall or indeed developing any specific project.  The PCC can however (within its capability and resources) promote community engagement and support community ownership provided this does not conflict with its statutory purpose.