Elected Members Briefing - 8th April

An archive of all our Bulletins can be found here.

Key Messages

Almost all pupils will return to school full-time when the Easter holidays end, with strict 2m distancing between secondary school pupils to be removed.

The latest figures of the Scottish Welfare Fund, the Self-Isolation Support Grant and Discretionary Housing Payments have been released.

Institute for Fiscal Studies Report
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a report which explores how Scottish Government spending has changed in recent years as well as the use of devolved tax, borrowing and reserve powers. The report also highlights the impact of COVID-19 consequential funding and the impact on core funding.

The report highlights concern around the use of temporary COVID-19 funding for policies beyond 2022, and the impact on future Budgets.

Read the full report on the Institute for Fiscal Studies website

Local Government has continued to support local communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and additional funding has been welcomed. However, COSLA continues to call for longer term certainty in relation to funding that puts Councils on a sustainable footing so that now, more than ever, our role in recovery and renewal can be maximised.

Illegal money lending
Tackling illegal money lending is challenging because of the secrecy and shame which surrounds it. The Improvement Service has evaluated three projects funded by the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit, part of the Trading Standards Scotland team at COSLA.

These projects were funded through the Illegal Money Lending Prevention Programme.  Each of the projects sought to tackle illegal money ending by using different approaches. These included: raising awareness through staff training; establishing reporting mechanisms; improving financial capability, and increasing household incomes – particularly for those who are most vulnerable. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, all three projects successfully delivered activities that contributed towards reducing the risk of using illegal money lenders.

The evaluation reports are available here.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the work of the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit or to discuss anything raised in the evaluation report please contact John Pollock on 0131 474 9248 or john.pollock@cosla.gov.uk

Connecting people and places - Rangering in Scotland
NatureScot published ‘Connecting people and places – a policy statement on rangering in Scotland’ last month. The document – which was endorsed by COSLA - sets out a 2030 vision for countryside rangering in Scotland.

The document defines the role of rangering and provides an outline of the key benefits provided for people, places, land managers and employers.

It recognises that the context in which countryside rangers operate has evolved considerably since the first services were established, but highlights their continued relevance, given their focus on: connecting people in nature; reducing the adverse impacts of climate change on the natural and historic environment; and preserving our natural heritage.

The statement can be accessed here.

I’m Not Giving In
The Scottish Government has launched the ‘I’m Not Giving In’ campaign to encourage compliance with current restrictions as we ease out of lockdown.

Key messages include:

* The guidance in Scotland is to stay local.  Travel within your Local Authority is allowed.
* In mainland Scotland, four adults from two households can socialise outdoors. Or four from four households if you’re aged 12-17.
* To stop the spread, we all need to stick to the guidelines.

More information is available here.

The myjosbcotland team has continued to provide value for all Councils and their customers throughout the pandemic and has created a series of graphics and compiled information about the service over the past 15 months. You can see the full PDF here.

Support supplied by the myjobscotland Team

The cost of the myjobscotland service to Councils worked out at only £12 per job in 2020 from the point of choosing to advertise a position, the advertisements themselves, the talent management system and of course the collective experience of our unparalleled support team.

Public Health Scotland
Public Health Scotland (PHS) marked its one-year anniversary on Wednesday, April 1.

While a national Health Board, PHS is jointly accountable to both COSLA and the Scottish Government in recognition of the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing public health priorities.

The organisation opened against the backdrop of an unprecedented public health emergency, and has played a significant part in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working in collaboration with NHS Boards, the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and many others to tackle the virus, improve and protect health, and reduce health inequalities.

You can read more here.

Trading Standards Scotland
Trading Standards Scotland is the national team for trading standards in Scotland and is part of COSLA.

In the latest edition of their Scam Share Bulletin they outline scams which have been reported by consumers across Scotland, including those related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There is some very useful information for local communities, covering issues such as the new Pfizer vaccine survey scam and delivery scams.

Fact Friday

COSLA has been running a ‘Fact Friday’ social media campaign to highlight the varied range of services provided by Local Government in Scotland.

A series of animated graphics have been produced and will be shared each Friday via our Twitter and Facebook accounts.


The Local Government workforce and partners across sectors are working hard to support our communities.

We continue to highlight this across our social media channels using #CouncilsCan - retweets and follows would be greatly appreciated.

Our Twitter and Facebook channels, Khub and website will be regularly updated.

If you or your officers require any clarity from COSLA officers on policy matters, please contact the team in the usual way. If you are not sure who to direct your email to, please contact COSLA member support.

Thank you all for your efforts during this challenging time.

Other Useful Links
* The current number of COVID-19 cases and the risk level can be found on the Scottish Government website
* NHS Inform’s webpage continues to be the source of up-to-date public health information
* All Scottish Government COVID-19 related guidance
* Help and support for those experiencing domestic abuse is available; and the helpline number is 0800 027 1234.