COSLA operates several Special Interest Groups on behalf of its membership as part of its Governance procedures. Our network of Special Interest Groups take forward specific policy work and focus on key issues in detail.
This Special Interest Group was established in 2022 to build on the work of the previous Special Interest Group in the last Local Government term and reflect the COSLA priority to strengthen local democracy.
The purpose of this Barriers to Elected Office Special Interest Group is to:
- Consider evidence from elected members and key partners and identify actions to address barriers to elected office groups currently underrepresented amongst councillors. This includes barriers to retention, as well as those that exist to standing as a candidate and being elected.
- Provide leadership on these issues including through identifying and influencing changes in policy and practice to increase remove barriers to participation for underrepresented groups and make the Councillor role as inclusive as possible.
- Support wider COSLA efforts to strengthen local democracy.
Established in October 2023, the Innovating, Developing and Transforming Special Interest Group will enable and facilitate constructive dialogue, collaboration, and coordination between political leaders and key stakeholders on work areas that are strategically significant to Local Government and could ultimately impact the way in which we support and serve our communities.
It will ensure that the work of COSLA (on behalf of Local Government) focuses on the three underpinning COSLA Plan themes of Innovating, Developing and Transforming.
The Innovating, Developing and Transforming Special Interest Group will:
- Provide oversight and monitor progress on these strategically important work areas
- Provide a forum for political discussion; and
- Take decisions on what is required to be considered by COSLA Leaders and other governance structures, as required.
The Housing Special Interest Group was set up to explore a a wide range of strategic housing challenges facing Local Government across the country.
The purpose of the Housing Special Interest Group is to:
- Act as an internal reference group on Housing to 2040 and all other housing issues stemming from this;
- Obtain specialist housing views on national policy issues to inform relevant COSLA political positions to be agreed through Leaders when and where appropriate;
- Inform the development of responses to the Housing Bill and other relevant Bills; and
- Inform COSLA’s political engagement with the Scottish and UK Govts on housing issues.
This Special Interest Group will pursue a strategic approach focused on promoting physical activity and sport across local and national governments, as well as the third and independent sectors. It will underline the various benefits, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as the positive impact of volunteering in sport on individuals and communities.
The purpose of the Sport and Physical Activity Special Interest Group is to:
- Explore what can be done to promote social and health value of activity in a CPP context - and also emphasise that the contribution of charity / lottery and health board support is useful and significant. This could draw on the Social Value work of Sheffield Hallam University and 4Global.
- Emphasise the broader economic, social and environmental benefits of participation and volunteering in sport
- To promote the wider links with employability, particularly within young people, and the size and scale of that market.
- Work to secure long-term sustainable provision for physical activity and sport, including indoor and outdoor facilities and community spaces.
- Explore the Verity House Agreement for other inter-governmental ideas that could emerge.
- Build on the work of the ‘Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland’ between COSLA, with Public Health Scotland, the NHS, the Scottish Government and other stakeholders.