COSLA Mini Conference 2024

A meeting of COSLA Convention takes place on Friday 22nd March, 2024. Ahead of the COSLA Convention a mini COSLA Conference will take place at COSLA's Verity House.

This exciting half day event taking place on the morning of Friday 22nd March, will not only hear from our Presidential Team and Spokespersons but external speakers including John Carnochan, talking about Partnership and Leadership at the Heart of Change; Talat Yaqoob and Anna Ritchie Allan, Co-Chairs, National Advisory Council on Women and Girls as well as George Tarvit, Director of the Sustainable Scotland Network.

The main purpose of this Mini Conference is:

  • to highlight the work and role of the Spokespersons; and
  • a Marketplace to highlight the work of the COSLA Teams.

Council Leaders made a decision that we would focus on in person meetings around Convention and Conference so, in line with that decision, the mini-conference will be based round in-person delegates and is obviously provided at no charge to our member councils.

We hope that you take the opportunity to come and speak with the teams during the marketplace/break sessions – as officers, we are really keen to speak to you and tell you a bit about the work we do on your behalf in all policy areas and with all key public sector partners.

Download the programme here.


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Meet Our Teams

Our teams are the engine room for COSLA's work.

Meet Our Guest Speakers

Four excellent guest speakers are lined up to join us at the Mini COSLA Conference.

John Carnochan OBE QPM FFPH LLD | Former Superindentent of Strathclyde Police

John Carnochan is the former Detective Chief Superindendent of Strathclyde Police. In 2023, he took home the  Holyrood Public Service Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime dedication to making Scotland a safer place. Among the career accomplishments recognised by the award were the 2005 launch of the Violence Reduction Unit, an initiative to tackle dangerous behaviours that has been replicated in several cities across the UK, including London.

In 2007, John was also awarded the Queen's Police Medal and made an Officer of the order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's 2013 Birthday Honours.

John has been featured in the media numerous times discussion his work and strategies to reduce violent crime, including in Holyrood Magazine, the BBC, The Herald, and podcast appearances.

Talat Yaqoob | Co-Chair | National Advisory Council on Women

Talat Yaqoob FRSE is a consultant and campaigner. She has worked in the third sector for over 14 years, across a number of issues including women in STEM, violence against women, mental health and equality in education.

Her work includes social research, policy analysis and influencing, and public participation. She is the co-founder of Women 50:50, the national campaign for women's fair representation in politics and founder of Pass the Mic, the national project on women of colour's participation in Scottish media.

Anna Ritchie Allan | Co-Chair | National Advisory Council on Women

Anna Ritchie Allan is Executive Director of Close the Gap, Scotland's policy advocacy organisation working on women's labour market equality. She participates in a range of national strategic working groups related to women and work, and has extensive experience of influencing employment practice within organisations.

Her background in research, labour rights and violence against women. She has significant governance experience in the violence against women sector, and is the chair of the board of Scottish Women's Aid.

George Tarvit | Director | Sustainable Scotland Network

George Tarvit joined Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) in May 2018 to lead on the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN). Before joining ECCI George managed the SSN and a range of sustainability and climate change initiatives at Keep Scotland Beautiful. He has experience of climate change policy, carbon accounting, public sector climate change reporting, managing events and communications, and working with a wide range of organisations to support the public sector action on climate change and sustainable development. Prior to leading SSN George worked for Oxfam as Trade Campaign Manager, before taking up pot as Oxfam Scotland's Parliamentary Liaison Officer. George has a degree in Community Studies.

Meet the COSLA Political Team

We'll also hear from COSLA's President, Vice President and Spokespeople.

Councillor Shona Morrison | President | COSLA

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Councillor Steven Heddle | Vice President | COSLA

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Councillor Maureen Chalmers | Community Wellbeing Spokesperson | COSLA

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Councillor Gail Macgregor | Environment and Economy Spokesperson | COSLA

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Councillor Katie Hagmann | Resources Councillor Spokesperson |  COSLA

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Councillor Paul Kelly | Health and Social Care Spokesperson | COSLA

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Councillor Tony Buchanan | Children and Young People Spokesperson |  COSLA

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Meet the COSLA Senior Management Team

Jane O'Donnell | Chief Executive

COSLA's staff is led by its Chief Executive, Jane O'Donnell.

James  Fowlie | Director of  Place Policy

James is our Director of Place Policy,  leading the work of our teams covering Environment & the Economy, Communities, the Business Gateway National Unit, Trading Standards Scotland and our work in Europe.

Nicola Dickie  | Director of People Policy

Nicola is our Director of People Policy,  leading the work of our teams covering Children and Young People; Migration, Population & Diversity (MDP), Health & Social Care and Digital Media / myjobscotland.

Sarah Watters | Director of Membership and Resources

Sarah is our Director of Membership and Resources, leading the work of our teams covering Media & Communications, Events, Member Services, Corporate Policy, Local Government Finance, Employers Team, and internal Finance and HR.