Working with Statutory Agencies


Prior to 1974

Edinburghshire was a county constituency at Westminster from 1708 to 1801 and from 1801 to 1918. After the Representation of the People Act 1918, the area of the Edinburghshire constituency was mostly divided between the Midlothian and Peebles Northern and Peebles and Southern Midlothian constituencies. By this date, the county of Edinburgh had been renamed as the county of Midlothian.

Modern Government in Midlothian

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 abolished the counties and burghs as local government units, replacing them with regions and districts.

Lothian Regional Council formally took over responsibility in May 1975. It was split into four districts: East, Mid and West Lothian, and the City of Edinburgh. Towns such as Currie which had formerly been burghs of Midlothian, were now administered as part of Edinburgh.

The council was responsible for education, social work, water, sewerage, transport (including local buses within Edinburgh).

The two-tier system of local government was ended by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, resulting in the abolition of Lothian Regional Council, and its replacement by a unitary system of local government. The former districts of the Lothian region became the basis for the new unitary councils, that is, the Midlothian Council we know today.

Community Planning

The Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 formally introduced the concept of ‘Community Planning’, which many people currently active in their communities will recognise. Community planning is defined by the Scottish Government as ‘a process which helps public agencies to work together with the community to plan and deliver better services which make a real difference to people’s lives.’

Today’s community activists work within the well-defined structures of community planning… but what happened in the decades before?

Voluntary Sector Structures

The history of engagement with the statutory sector often reflected the statutory funding available. Midlothian was a recipient of the Scottish Office’s Urban Programme, and European funding such as RECHAR, aimed at coalfield areas. However, it was an unsuccessful funding application that kick-started formal engagement with the statutory sector. In 1998 the Urban Programme was replaced by the Social Inclusion Partnership Fund, which involved the establishment of a Social Inclusion Partnership Board. Midlothian Council submitted a bid to the Fund, but was unsuccessful.  It was decided that the voluntary sector would hold a Social Inclusion Forum, which proved invaluable at helping to coordinate activity.

Voluntary Sector Forum: The VSF offers a chance for voluntary organisations to receive feedback from the Community Planning Partnership etc. and to discuss issues of relevance to the sector. The VSF was established in 1996, merging with the SIP, and continues to meet today.


In addition to working in partnership, local activists have reserved their right to protest…

photo of protest

Protest outside Council meeting about the closure of the Bonnyrigg Centre photo (c) MVA

photo of bilston Glen anti-bypass protest site notice

Bilston Glen Anti-Bypass Protest Site notice
Photo (c) Indymedia

20 Years of the National Lottery in Midlothian

MVA is not the only organisation with an important anniversary this year!

Since 1994, National Lottery players have raised £32 billion for projects all over the UK and over 450,000 grants have been awarded.

Over the past twenty years this has been a valuable source of income for Midlothian, where we have seen 716 grants awarded with a total value of £36,562,370.

Some of the larger grants received by the voluntary sector include:

  • 1997 Scottish Mining Museum: Funding for the Lady Victoria Colliery £3,574,000;
  • 1999 Mayfield & Easthouses Youth 2000 Project: To provide and establish a community based youth facility;
  • 2000 Midlothian Young People’s Advice Service: To provide a drop in centre, outreach services and information services for young people incorporating counselling, health education £354,071;
  • 2003 Penicuik Citizens Advice Bureau: To allow the organisation to widen access to disability benefits and welfare rights information £130,000;
  • 2007 McSence: To establish the Midlothian Social Enterprise Centre £800,000;
  • 2009 Loanhead Community Learning Association: To build a new community managed facility and outdoor space £646,533;
  • 2010 Gorebridge Community Development Trust: To build a new community hub in Gorebridge, in Midlothian. £835,000;
  • 2012 Midlothian Sure Start: To develop a multi-agency early intervention programme that empowers families in Midlothian with multiple risk factors to take control of their lives. £899,081.

Representing the Voluntary Sector

Midlothian Voluntary Action is part of the Midlothian Third Sector Interface (along with Volunteer Midlothian, and SEAM (Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian), providing support to local Third Sector organisations, and helping them to have their voices heard in the local community planning structures.


The interviews that are most relevant to this section are those from:


Find out about MVA’s role and history

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