Conference imageA debate on the place of Scottish Local Government in a post referendum Scotland – featuring Alistair Darling and Nicola Sturgeon will be one of the keynote events at the COSLA and Improvement Service Annual Conference which takes place in St Andrew's, Fife next month (7-8 March).

Entilted “Today’s Reality…Tomorrow’s Vision” the Conference will closely examine how Scottish Local Government will deal with the twin challenges of creating a real and meaningful future vision for Scottish Local Government that will allow it to remain at the forefront of Scottish Civic life whatever the outcome of the referendum vote in 2014 whilst at the same time dealing with the harsh realities and the challenges facing it just now in terms of increased demand and diminishing resources.

The 2013 event, which has Land Engineering as its main sponsor, will also look at the pre-referendum centralisation/decentralisation debate and the issue of Constitutional Protection for Scottish local government as well as forensically examining what part Community Planning can play in delivering tomorrow’s vision of a better deal for Scotland’s communities.

Conference will also be given a keynote presentation from the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Margaret Curran and hear from Lord David Freud as to how we support the most vulnerable in society in relation to the changes that will be brought about by Welfare Reform.

The 2013 event will be opened by COSLA President, Councillor David O’Neill and John Swinney MSP on the morning of Thursday 7th March. 

In addition to the keynote speeches, the Conference provides numerous opportunities for delegates to discuss major political and policy issues as well as an unrivalled chance to have their own views heard during the two days.

The Conference will also be a celebration of excellence in the shape of the Annual COSLA Excellence Awards Ceremony which once again takes place on the Thursday evening.

Commenting ahead of his first Annual Conference as President, Councillor O’Neill said:

"The theme of this year’s conference  Today’s Reality…Tomorrow’s Vision – was chosen to reflect two priorities that are driving the work and considerations of both COSLA and the Improvement Service.  

“No-one is in any doubt about the harsh realities of the present circumstances for local government and the remainder of the public sector.  The financial outlook is grim but our responsibilities to provide quality services for the most vulnerable sections of our community continue to grow.  These are driven by the positive process of greater community expectation alongside the demographic changes that are now firmly shaping the nature of our communities.

“One of the first tasks I undertook when I became I President was to get out, meet and listen to the membership of COSLA.  What I heard during these visits was that our membership wanted our Annual Conference to be more political, not party political but to use the event to hear from and engage with politicians from Holyrood, Westminster and Europe.  This Conference programme certainly meets that demand and I am delighted with the calibre of speaker that we have been able to attract to what promises to be an interesting and lively couple of days."


A full Conference Programme is available to download here.  Any media wishing to attend all or any part of the Conference should contact David Kennedy on 0131 474 9205, Mobile 07788 452710 or e-mail

Article published: 
Sun, 24/02/2013 - 01:00