The SDA have adopted a proposal for a written Draft Constitution for Scotland.
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Extract from Draft Constitution:-
1. Poor quality Government: CurrentlyScotland has too much centralised government - by Brussels, Westminster, Holyrood and Local Authorities, yet there is a marked lack of democratic representation and accountability. The current system was set up for remote centralised control with little or no accountability to the electorate. This has resulted in poorly managed public services and quangoes where there is a significant amount of patronage, cronyism and corruption amongst senior management. In contrast, where the public sector has achieved, this has been attained through the dedication and skills of the front-line professionals in spite of the limitations being imposed by excessive administrative red tape.
Government performance is further degraded by the poor quality management capabilities of the elected representatives at Holyrood and in local government. Few elected representatives have the skills, competence or experience to provide the levels of business oversight required to adequately manage the multi-million industries they have been elected to be responsible for. One detrimental outcome has been the expansion of the consultancy culture which has generated significant abuse and misuse of taxpayers' money. This lack of in-house ability has contributed to the culture of greed and corruption which has resulted in such as the Edinburgh Tram fiasco, the over-engineered Leith Flood prevention, the majority of the £1500 million budget for the Forth Road Bridge going abroad without any offset deals for jobs in Scotland, and other similar situations across the country.
Elected representatives require to have the training necessary for them to carry out their duties competently.
2. Devolved Government: To improve democratic representation and accountability and move decision-making closer to the point of need we propose that state authority and responsibilities are shared across three distinct and highly autonomous levels of government.
b) Regional Councils,
c) Burgh (Local) Councils.
3. Fiscal stability: The use of a full parliamentary term budget will allow more efficient fiscal planning for both private and public sectors. Commercial enterprises in particular will benefit from longer periods between fiscal changes.
4. Constitutional flexibility: To promote flexibility, the Constitution - as the Fundamental Law - performs as the trunk of a treelike structure, with the branches being the enabling Acts of Parliament.
The Acts of Parliament should contain the detailed content which can, when appropriate, be amended to suit the evolving needs of society.
5. Public service contracts: The default position for all public service departments should be to use local companies for public infrastructure and service contracts. All major contracts for such as hospitals, schools, bridges, etc. should be offered for tender as projects or groups of projects of a size which can be competitively tendered for by or through Scottish local or regional based companies.
The lack of commercial or technical ability within some public departments has provided an opportunity for contractual abuse, resulting in corruption and the misuse of public money. All contracts awarded by Regional, City and Burgh Councils with a value of five hundred thousand pounds and over should be made available for public scrutiny on Council websites. All contracts awarded by Councils to be subjected to a national standard of independent auditing.
6. Local Government Devolution: In order for the electorate to feel any ownership of the political system they must see the effects of how they can influence the decision making process. This will occur only if the electorate have the means to influence the system at local level and see the results of their input. It is therefore proposed that the Burgh Councils be re-instated with clearly defined powers, funds and assets. It is proposed that the thirty-two (32) Local Authorities and their current powers be re-organised and divided between larger Regional Councils and the local Burgh (or Community) Councils. All matters of local concern should be evaluated and divided as considered best to achieve fit for purpose outcomes.
Matters to be considered include:
(i) economic development;
ii) housing, land use and planning;
iii) infrastructure (infrastructure classed as strategic is the responsibility of central government).
v) transport; the upkeep of streets, roads and public spaces;
vi) public health;
vii) the control and recycling of waste;
viii) education and training;
ix) environmental protection;
x) libraries, museum, the arts and culture;
xi) social care and services;
xii) engaging with police, public safety;
xiii) parks, garden and allotments;
xiv) recreational facilities;
xv) local public revenues;
xvi) civil defence planning and response;
xvii) any other matter of local concern.
7. Regional and Burgh Councillors: Party politics should play no part in local government. Regional and Burgh councillors should be working for and answerable only to the electorate not remote party bosses. It is therefore proposed that all Regional and Burgh Councillors should stand as Independents on a non party ticket. The precedent is already in position as the Community Council Handbook issued to Community Councillors clearly states that all Councils will act as non-political bodies in the party political sense.
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