All Things Scotland: January policy round up

Welcome to All Things Scotland!

A weekly publication, this roundup is LGIU Scotland’s chance to bring you all the latest local government reports and policy updates in Scotland, as well as a recap from LGIU Scotland.

LGIU Scotland updates

Climate action

To find out how local governments across the world are leading on climate action, check out this agenda-setting update from the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre, who has partnered with Browne Jacobson to investigate local government’s leadership on climate action.

Leading the policy agenda this week is a new report from the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee. Announcing that Scotland will not meet its ambitious target of being net zero by 2045 without a more empowered local government sector, the report outlined the importance of local democracy by highlight local governments democratic credentials, local knowledge, a capacity to lead by example and well-placed partnerships.

Termed a “watershed moment for tackling climate action”, Cllr Gail Macgregor, COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson used the report to drive home local governments need for closer collaboration with Scottish Government, a clear costed roadmap for local governments role and more funding and budget flexibility.

In other climate updates, £21 million has been awarded to Glasgow City Council through the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund to support the introduction of a new twin-stream service for the separate collection of recyclable materials.

Finally, an urgent review of the environmental impacts and management of single-use vapes has been commissioned by Scottish Government.

Housing & Planning

Local authorities play an important role in developing healthy, sustainable neighbourhoods and ensuring that there are enough high-quality homes. We have picked out a few items from our huge library of local government content to start your 2023 informed!

In a new Scottish Government housing update,  21,825 all-sector new build homes were completed in Scotland in the year to end June 2022, according to quarterly statistics on housebuilding and affordable housing supply published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

Following from last weeks announcements, further detail on the emergency measures to protect tenants rights was confirmed by  Tenants Rights’ Minister Patrick Harvie, with private rents capped and enforcement of evictions prevented in most cases.

Meet the new Council Chief Executives- updates from local government

For more on attitudes to local democracy, read this LGIU briefing that summarises the key arguments in a report commissioned from Onward and outlines its potential relevance for local government.

David Robertson is appointed as Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council with immediate effect. Previously Chief Financial Officer at the Council since 2011, find out more about David here.

Oliver Reid took the helm as Chief Executive of Orkney Islands Council. Bringing 30 years of local government experience, you can find more in this Press and Journal article here.

Kate Lackie, currently acting depute chief executive with Highland council will take up the interim Chief Executive post on 1 February 2023.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, outlined the case for the Clyde Metro in The Herald call for “bold leadership to reinforce Glasgow and the City Region as a competitive force across Europe and, indeed, the globe.”

The Improvement Service, SafeLives and Resilience Learning Partnership have launched to help embed lived experience in the design of Scottish public services.

An independent study led by the University of Aberdeen’s Social and Innovative Platform on Cultural Tourism Team has highlighted that the five-star Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre in Galashiels has improved public perception of the historic Borders town. Read how the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre is supporting Galashiels town regeneration here.


Meanwhile, to understand the ramifications of the highly anticipated, and much-debated, Scottish Government budget, this new LGIU Briefing explores how the budget has influenced funding for Councils through the Provisional Scottish Local Government Financial Settlement for 2023-24. You can read the full briefing here!

Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme is unique to Scotland and helps people on low incomes save an average of £750 a year on their council tax bill. Those eligible can also save up to 35% on their water and waste charges.

Delivered in partnership with COSLA and local authorities, regeneration projects in disadvantaged and rural communities across Scotland will receive a share of almost £27 million funding.

A motion passed at a special meeting of North Ayrshire Council asks Craig Hatton, the Chief Executive, to make a “robust” public response to the budget statement challenging, “in the strongest possible terms”, the presentation of the £550 million additional funding for local government.

Health, social care and education

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.

According to the BBC, Scotland’s education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is preparing to intervene to stop local councils cutting teacher numbers ahead of a likely disputes between Scottish local authorities and the Scottish Government.

A Scottish Government marketing campaign to support the recruitment of more adult social care workers has launched this week, to help address the high level of vacancies in the sector.

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 Scottish 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 Ukrainian refugees who have entered Ireland since March 2022.

Cork County Council: A month in the life. Find out what one of our member local authorities in Ireland gets up to in a month, and how Cork County is leading the way on climate action, housing, community and roads & transportation.

Stay tuned...

Next week, LGIU Scotland will bring you a new briefing on Health and Social care reform in Finland as well as a round up of consultations and legislation affecting public services in Scotland.

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