Elected Members Briefing - 27th July

An archive of all our Bulletins can be found here.

Key Messages
Changes are being made to self-isolation rules for close contacts of COVID cases to allow essential staff in critical roles to return to work to maintain lifeline services and critical national infrastructure.

The new Child Disability Payment has opened for applications from people living in three pilot areas - Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and Western Isles.

programme to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency will receive an extra £9 million of funding this year to support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and help fuel poor households save money on their heating bills.

Frontline services for women and girls affected by gender-based violence will receive £5 million to deal with additional pressures that have occurred during the pandemic.

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland has set out how it will help meet the global goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Find Business Support website has details of support and guidance for businesses affected by the pandemic.

Routes to Testing
Testing for COVID-19 is available to everyone in Scotland.

With symptoms
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should get a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test as soon as possible. PCR test kits can be ordered online or appointments can be booked at walk-in or drive-through test sites.

Without symptoms
Those with no symptoms who do not have access to a testing programme in their workplace or place of education:

* can collect or order packs of LFD (lateral flow device) tests to do at home. Find collection sites here or order online. Tests can also be ordered by calling 119. Anyone under 18 should ask an adult to collect or order a test kit for them.
* may be able to access local walk-in community testing sites.

Get Jagged in July
People aged 18 or over in Scotland are being urged to ‘get jagged in July’ with either their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or second, if eight weeks have passed.

With university terms starting in mid-September, students are also being urged to have both doses of the vaccine before arriving on campus.

People can register online at nhsinform.scot/vaccineregistration to get an appointment by text or email, or they can attend one of the drop-in clinics in their area without an appointment. Find dates, times and locations at nhsinform.scot/vaccinedropinclinics.

Vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, is our best way out of this pandemic and getting back the things we’ve all missed.

Find more information at nhsinform.scot or call the COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.

A video featuring Paula McMahon, a nurse vaccinator at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who was the first nurse in Scotland to get her COVID-19 vaccine, has been released. Paula shares some important facts about the vaccine and encourages anyone with questions to ask their vaccinator.

UK Community Ownership Fund - Webinar

COSLA Officers joined representatives from across Scotland’s Councils and community groups on a UK Government webinar to discuss the Community Ownership Fund. The webinar allowed officers and community members to ask questions in relation to the fund, as well as develop a deeper understanding about the application process. Slides and Q&A from the webinar will be available on the UK Government website (link below).

The webinar provided an insight into the type of community and third sector-based projects that the fund is intended to support. At least £12.3m will be available to communities in Scotland over the 4 years of the fund. Whilst local authorities are excluded from bidding for the scheme, it was recognised that Councils will play a crucial role in enabling and supporting successful community asset ownership projects.  An update will be provided to COSLA Leaders in August.

·  The Community Ownership Fund is now open for applications. Round 1 closes 13 August, however there are future rounds through to 2025.

Settlement & Distribution Group
The Settlement and Distribution Group (SDG) met last week to consider a range of funding for Local Government – these included the remaining commitments following the Scottish Government’s First 100 days plan. Leaders will consider the SDG’s recommendation next Friday on money for additional teaching and pupil support staff, as well as initial funding for play parks in local communities.

Staying Together and Connected
COSLA’s Children and Young People Spokesperson, Councillor Stephen McCabe, has welcomed new rules to protect sibling relationships for children in care.

Part 13 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 mean Local Authorities have a duty to ensure siblings are supported to stay together, where appropriate. Where it is not appropriate for brothers and sisters to live together, steps should be taken to help them stay in regular touch with each other and to nurture their relationships.

The new rules also mean changes in Children’s Hearings procedures. Brothers and sisters will have new rights to appropriately participate – with support including advocacy services – in Children’s Hearings where contact with their siblings is being considered.

Guidance was published on Monday to help social workers and other practitioners to implement the legislation. The guidance was developed in consultation with children, young people and families with care experience.

Adult Social Care and Trauma
The Improvement Service has been running a series of Deep Dive events on Adult Social Care and Trauma over the past months. There was strong engagement from Elected Members in these. The Deep Dive Learning report, video and slides are now available along with a summary document highlighting key learning and messages from across the series of events. The link also leads to further resources on trauma informed approaches developed for Elected Members. Topic considered include Children and Families, Violence Against Women and Girls, Justice, Housing and Homelessness and Adult Social Care.

NSPLG launches a new Youth Advisory Group
Applications from young people who would like to create change welcome

The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) is to launch a new Youth Advisory Group made up of young people (16–26) who have experience of suicide, self-harm or poor mental health. The group will help advise and support the delivery of Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

More information can be found on the NSPLG website and Jenny, the delivery lead of this work, can be contacted on Jenny@cosla.gov.uk.

EU Settlement Scheme
Wednesday, June 30, was the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). From Thursday, July 1, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family member are now required to obtain a valid UK immigration status to be in the UK, either through the EUSS, if they were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 or are joining a family member, or through a valid visa. In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreement, there remains scope for a person eligible for the status under the EUSS to make a late application to the scheme where there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

We would like to make councils aware that they can still access the COSLA/IOM service to assist them in supporting some of the most vulnerable EEA citizens to make late EUSS applications.  Funding for this service has been extended until September 2021.  However, it has become increasingly clear to us that support will need to continue beyond September, and we are lobbying both the UKG and SG to extend funding for the COSLA/IOM service.

Why You? campaign
COSLA has been working on an exciting new campaign with the Barriers to Elected Office Special Interest Group ahead of next year’s Local Government elections.

The Why You? campaign aims to encourage people to consider standing for office, as well as highlighting the work of the SIG.

It will launch on Wednesday (Why You? Wednesday), August 4 – more information in next week’s Briefing.

Trading Standards Scotland
Trading Standards Scotland has published the latest in their series of Scam Share Spotlight PDFs, each of which shines a spotlight on a particular scam that is frequently reported by Scottish consumers.

PDFs are published fortnightly and can be viewed online or downloaded and printed off for those who are not online.

The latest PDF looks at prize draw scams - Scottish consumers regularly report fake competitions, prize draws, voucher giveaways or surveys on social media or in emails, which appear to be linked to well-known companies.

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.