All Things Scotland: 2023 policy catch up

Welcome to All Things Scotland. LGIU Scotland’s weekly collation of everything local government in Scotland, this week we bring you the latest reports and updates to kick start your 2023 in local government.

From National Planning Framework 4, to the Scottish Government 2023/24, find out everything you need for your next week in Scottish local government.


Long-awaited, Wednesday 11th January saw the Scottish Parliament agree to the revised 4th National Planning Framework.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate and vote on approval of NPF4, the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee delivered a lengthy Christmas present in the form of a new report on the revised NPF4.

Welcoming the revisions since the original draft, the Committee warns that the ambitions of NPF4 will simply not be met due to a lack of planners and more specifically a lack of planners with the skills to meet the challenges of NPF4.

Supporting NPF-4, The Royal Town Planning Institute outlined three key considerations around how to resource the new system, how to ensure the production of a revised Delivery Programme which is fit-for-purpose and how to monitor progress and impact of NPF4. Read the full briefing here.

On the topic of towns, Dundee Council Leader John Alexander gave an in-depth interview to The Courier on the City’s waterfront regeneration. You can find the full piece here.

Report by the independent Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population analyses a range of place-based policy approaches to population challenges, setting out lessons for Scotland.

A consultation on a proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the purpose of local development plan regulations on evidence reports. The purpose of defining “Gypsies and Travellers” in regulations is to enable the Scottish Government and planning authorities to support the Gypsy and Traveller communities better.

Finally, this BBC Scotland Article explores a post-pandemic change in the High Street, where a new breed of first-time entrepreneur are now filling empty units in Towns. Read the full article here.

Scottish Government Budget 2023/2024

To understand the significance of the 2023/34 budget, this LGIU Scotland briefing explores uses Audit Scotland’s recent report to explore the difficult choices acting Finance Minister, John Swinney, faces. Read the full briefing here!

Shortly before Christmas, the Scottish Government released further information on how the Scottish Budget is funded, and the current spending plans for the year ahead.

Alongside an in-depth briefing on the budget, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre also published a short blog on the need for transparency, participation and accountability in the Scottish Budget.

Meanwhile, COSLA said it was extremely disappointed that once again Local Government and the essential services it delivers have not been prioritised by the Scottish Government in yesterday’s budget announcement.

From the Scottish Government, a new report on Local government finance circular contains the settlement for 2023-2024 and redeterminations for 2022-2023.

GDP Monthly estimate for October 2022, where onshore GDP is estimated to have grown by 0.4% in October, after falling 0.4% in September.


To understand the significance of short-term rental accommodation from an international context, check out this LGiU summary of a recent Global Executive Panel Event.

Badenoch and Strathspey was approved as a short-term control area. Approved by Ministers, Scotland’s second short-term let control area follows the Highland Council’s application and proposals which you can find here.

A new blog from Reform Scotland from the Scottish Land Revenue Group examines house prices in conjunction with the cost of living crisis. Read the full blog here.

Climate and the Environment

COP-26: One Year On – Global Local Executive Panel

Composed of Council Chief Executives from the UK, Ireland and Australia, this panel summary highlights all that has happened in the last twelve months and the ongoing implications for local government from the COP-26 discussions and resolutions.

A vast area of peat bog in the Highlands could become one of the newest UNESCO sites. This comes at the same time as a €15 million Irish government investment in peatland restoration which seeks to expand collaboration across the island of Ireland and Scotland to share agri-environment expertise. Find the full project details here!

Guidance for local authorities on the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsorship Scheme and Scotland’s responsibilities under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. Local authorities working in partnership with other statutory service providers have a critical role to play in its success.

Health and Social Care

Check out our latest Scottish Winter policy round-up which includes a summary of key newly published documents that impact local government and public services in Scotland.

The Scottish Government and COSLA have published a joint Statement of Intent setting out shared priorities for improving social care over the next year.

For more, check out this briefing from Duncan Dunlop on the reform of children social care in Scotland!

Local government insights from Ireland

At LGIU we know that places are unique; but so many of the challenges faced by local governments are shared with their colleagues across countries and across continents. To promote the sharing of local government best practice and innovation, this week we have picked two key policy briefings from Ireland that are relevant to Scottis local governments.

Local government response to an international crisis: Ukrainian refugees. Read this briefing from Clare County Council’s Director for Ukrainian Affairs, Jason Murphy, on how the Council is responding the 70 000 Ukranian refugees who have entered Ireland since March 2022.

Mixed-methods area profiling and reflections urban regeneration. This briefing paper recounts experiences of compiling a socio-economic profile of neighbourhoods that were included in an area-based urban-regeneration initiative in Tralee, County Kerry.

Stay tuned...

Next week, LGiU Scotland will bring you an in-depth analytical briefing on what the Scottish 23/24 budget means for local government. In the meantime, you can find our on-the-day response here!

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