COSLA President to Open COSLA Conference with Keynote Address
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“Is Scotland living well locally?” is the question that will be the subject of spirited debate and forensic examination when COSLA’s first in person Annual Conference since 2019 takes place in Crieff next month (Thurs 28 and Fri 29 Sept.)

The COSLA Annual Conference is one of the keynote political events of the year and will once again this year bring together a range of experts – from Scotland, the UK and Europe, and across a range of sectors - all focused on examining what more Scottish Local Government and its partners can do to achieve better outcomes for our local communities.

COSLA President Councillor Shona Morrison will open the event on the Thursday morning (28 September) with her keynote Presidential Address, highlighting to delegates that as a legitimate sphere of government in Scotland it is right and proper that Scottish Local Government has a real and meaningful partnership with Scottish Government in the form of the recently signed Verity House Agreement.

Commenting ahead of the Conference Councillor Morrison said: “Local Government in Scotland plays a vital role, delivering essential services like education, social care, and transport, supporting the most vulnerable in our communities, growing local economies, helping us all to ‘Live Well Locally’.

“While councils and partners continue to work incredibly hard for our communities, we all know that there is still more to do – to tackle child poverty, to support a just transition to net zero, and to ensure public services are sustainable into the future – and the Verity House Agreement is a vehicle that allows us to deliver on these commitments.

“By working together constructively across spheres of government and by bringing in our vital partners across the public, charity and private sectors into these vital conversations – we will all be better placed to find and develop better solutions to the complex problems people are facing in our communities.”

To examine the question ”Is Scotland Living Well Locally?” this year’s conference will focus on:

  • How we work with our partners across Scotland and the UK.
  • Our relationship with Governments and Parliaments.
  • Learning from others, how Local Government can improve the way it connects with individuals, communities and businesses.
  • How Local Government and partners can build on experiences during COVID to put person - centred services at the heart of public service reform.
  • How Local Government Leaders can lead effectively during times of significant change and constrained resources.
  • Learning from our Local Government partners.
  • Examining what the data is telling us, and how it can be used to inform the future of public services.

Joining the COSLA President in Crieff will be Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf.  There will also be an address by Debora Keyambe, Rector, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit and Professor James Mitchell
Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh will look at our relationship with Governments and Parliaments.

Conference delegates will also hear from Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde/ScotCen Social Research on the ‘political mood’ at the moment.

There will be an in-conversation style debate on Political Leadership with Professor James Mitchell in Conversation with Kezia Dugdale, Director, John Smith Centre (School of Social & Political Sciences) and Aileen Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Women’s Football.  As well as a Question Time Style debate featuring the Scottish Political Party Leaders.

The COSLA Conference will also, once again, be a celebration of the real difference local government makes in terms of innovation and service delivery in the shape of the Annual COSLA Excellence Awards Ceremony which takes place on the Thursday night.