Focus on Scotland – the 50th anniversary of community councils

Welcome to the LGIU's Focus on Scotland!

Focus on Scotland – highlights a few key items of local government news from our members-only Daily News service and provides links to key resources to help you address the issues of today and opportunities for the future. 

Feature of the week – 50 years of community councils

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On Tuesday the 23rd of May, the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee held an evidence session about Community Councils (‘CCs’) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which established CCs in Scotland.

With the infamous Jackie Weaver, as well as the Improvement Service and Community Council’s presence in the Parliament, a round-table discussion with Committee members provided evidence of how CCs operate in practice.

Taking a look at the role of community councils in Scotland, the LGIU decided to speak to the Improvement Service about the Community Council project and recent developments. Read the full breakdown here.

Audit Scotland - Local Government in Scotland 2023

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

Amidst the gloom of a disappointing local government finance settlement and the financial constraints facing us 2023-24, it is important to remember how well Scottish councils have responded to Covid, Brexit and increasing demand pressures over the past couple of years.

A must-read report for understanding the challenges facing local government in Scotland. The report from Accounts Commission lays bare the challenges facing Scottish Councils:

“Scotland’s councils must radically change how they operate – particularly how they collaborate with partners – if they are to improve and maintain services to their communities.”

In response, COSLA President Shona Morrison praised the local government’s record on transformation and collaboration and highlighted how

“Councils are uniquely placed to be the key partner in the Scottish Government’s public service reform programme and should be further empowered to better support local service delivery.”

A full briefing from LGIU to follow soon.

Updates from LGIU Scotland

The challenge of an ageing society: how to be a dementia friendly council

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

This briefing draws upon six case studies and examples of good practice and innovation. The sixth case study highlights the need for a strategic and inclusive response across a large urban combined authority area.

Supporting resilient communities to address health and wellbeing

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

This briefing identifies key challenges for local government with respect to health and wellbeing in the face of a changing climate and looks at examples of how councils in the UK and internationally are beginning to address these challenges. It will be of interest to portfolio holders and local government staff who are developing local climate adaptation plans.

In Conversation with Councillor Katie Hagmann, COSLA Resources Spokesperson

Open to everyone 🟢 

As part of LGIU’s series on local government leadership, COSLA Resources spokesperson, Cllr Katie Hagmann, tells us about the challenges facing local government finance and workforces and how COSLA is delivering for the local government sector in 2023.

Who moves?

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  • East Renfrewshire Council has appointed Steven Quinn as its new Chief Executive
  • Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council is set to retire after nearly 40 years in local government
  • In Fife Council, Ken Gourlay is set to replace Steve Grimmond as Chief Executive in July.
  • Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) has appointed its first Chief Executive, Calum MacPherson.
  • Deputy Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council, Katie Kelly, is set to retire this month
  • Following a party AGM, Aberdeenshire Council leader Mark Findlater is set to leave, with Gillian Owen taking over as leader.
  • And in Aberdeen City Council, Alex Nicoll, with Christian Allard, set as co-leader.

Updates from the islands

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

Museums are one of our most trusted public institutions. But are their futures in peril? This Global Local looks at the role of local museums in reflecting the history of the community as well as how they’re supporting communities to skill up and thrive.

With  £4.1 million released in the latest round of funding from the Islands Programme for projects to boost economic activity and tourism, we also saw Comhairle nan Eilean Siar publish the Uist Repopulation Action Plan, and the ferry fiasco continues with the Corran car ferry now out of action for 6 weeks.

But in brighter news, Orkney Islands Council-run Scapa Flow Museum has been selected as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, the world’s largest museum prize.

Stay tuned...

In the coming weeks, LGIU Scotland will bring you in-depth policy briefings on…

  • The National Care Service, the problem to be fixed
  • Deposit and return – learnings for Scotland & Ireland
  • Green & free ports – the economic jigsaw for LG to complete
  • 20-minute neighbourhoods when you live in rural areas