Local decision making is too focused on party politics and official diktat rather than the needs of the community, MSPs will be told today.
Professor James Mitchell, from the University of Edinburgh, will present the views of third sector bodies on strengthening local democracy at Holyrood’s Local Government Committee.
Party politics “sometimes works to the detriment of local problem solving”, according to an Edinburgh University report drawn from a third sector discussion forum. Real power “is not actually with elected politicians” but with “officials, quangos and central government, which can hinder a culture of accountability”, the forum found.
The report states: “Forum participants argued that that should not be the case, and that democracy should be understood as a broader domain that involves everyone. Some criticised the logic of party politics and representative democracy, stating that ‘the system is broken’ and ‘the trust is gone’.”