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Sustainable Communities Act

The Sustainable Communities Act (SCA) is intended to help councils and local people manage community issues at a local level and change things for the better by making their communities more sustainable.

The SCA lets local people tell central government what they want the government to change. Anyone can make suggestions whether you are an individual or part of a group.

The Act is sometimes referred to as ‘Barrier Busting’ as it ask the government to remove a barrier which is stopping local action.

What sort of changes could be proposed through the Sustainable Communities Act?

There are some restrictions on the type of proposals that can be submitted through the Sustainable Communities Act:

  • any proposal submitted must need action from Central Government and cannot be something South Gloucestershire Council already has the power to do.
  • the Act could be used to do things like gain new powers, devolve existing powers and money from central control to local control, or to reduce centrally imposed duties
  • all proposals must improve the ‘sustainability’ of the local area
  • the Act does not provide any additional funding from central government

What are sustainable communities?

The Act covers four aspects of sustainability and your proposal needs to fall into one or more of them. These four aspects are listed below, together with examples of proposals that have been made (these examples are designed purely as illustrations – they do not mean the proposal is endorsed or supported by South Gloucestershire Council)

  1. Economic
    e.g. provision of local jobs and services through changing the regulations on charity shops
  2. Social
    e.g. tackling unemployment by transferring responsibility for adult skills, training and apprenticeships from central government to councils.
  3. Environmental
    e.g. promoting local energy and energy efficiency by removing some of the legal hurdles that councils face in establishing local energy generation schemes
  4. Participation in civic or political activity
    e.g. reducing some of the barriers to individuals standing for election

How you submit an idea

Proposals can be submitted:

  • to your local town or parish council (if the council has adopted the Sustainable Communities Act)
  • to South Gloucestershire Council at

Submitting a proposal

To submit a proposal to us, please complete the form and email to A separate form will be needed for each proposal.

Once you have submitted a proposal you will receive an acknowledgement. This may include queries about your proposal if we feel we need further information.

Your proposal will be checked for eligibility using government’s criteria for the Sustainable Communities Act explained above. We will let you know if your project is not eligible.

All eligible ideas and proposals will be considered on a regular basis by the Communities Committee. You will be entitled to attend that meeting to speak in support of your application.

The Communities Committee will submit proposals which they think will most benefit South Gloucestershire to the government for consideration.

Government has to respond to the proposal within six months saying if they will implement it or not. The Local Government Association (LGA) can resubmit any proposals that government initially rejects and government must consult and try to reach agreement with the LGA on these proposals.

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