An archive of all our Bulletins can be found here.
A national service dedicated to supporting young people with very complex social, emotional and behavioural needs has received £280,000 of Scottish Government funding.
Scotland's Test and Protect contact tracing staff are to prioritise phone calls to high risk cases to ensure the system delivers maximum benefit as COVID-19 case numbers increase.
An additional £380 million is being allocated to Health Boards to help with costs arising from the pandemic.
All mainland health boards will offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics as the programme nears completion of first doses for all adults in Scotland.
Christie Commission Anniversary
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Christie Commission report.
The report on the future delivery of public services by the Commission, chaired by the late Dr Campbell Christie, was released on June 29, 2011.
To mark the anniversary, an op-ed piece from COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison, appeared in The Scotsman. This was also followed by a news article.
In addition, a series of thought pieces penned by COSLA’s Spokespeople can be found in a new dedicated section of our website, alongside case studies of Christie in action.
Funding for Local Government
At its meeting on Friday, June 25, Leaders agreed the distributions for a range of funding including for an increase to school clothing grants and for a Nature Restoration Fund. Distributions were also agreed for the removal of fees for instrumental music tuition and curricular charges for one year only (2021/22) subject to a commitment from the Scottish Government to work in partnership to develop and fund a sustainable instrumental music tuition service for the longer-term. Councillor McCabe has written to Ms Somerville on the matter. Leaders also agreed that funding for the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare (from 600 to 1140 hours) should move to a formula basis from 2022/23 onwards and officers hope to bring the actual funding quantum to Leaders in August for consideration.
COVID-19 Barnett Consequentials
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has regularly tracked COVID-19 Barnett Consequentials received by the Scottish Government. In a recent blog post, SPICe provided an update on the picture as we move into the 2021/22 Financial Year.
The blog post summarises the allocation decisions taken by the Scottish Government so far, and the planned use of Barnett Consequentials (including £1.1b carried forward from 2020/21). The blog post concludes by discussing the emergence from the Pandemic and how it is increasingly difficult to separate exactly what is and is not Covid-19 spend.
COSLA’s Local Government Finance Officers meet regularly with the SPICe Team and Audit Scotland colleagues to discuss the financial challenges that Local Government faces in Scotland, and to facilitate early discussions on forthcoming work and reports that pertain to Local Government Finance. The group is due to meet again in August.
Flood Risk Management Capital Funding
Leaders agreed a set of recommendations on Flood Risk Management (FRM) Capital Funding in order to address a significant likely overspend on the Programme. Leaders agreed that projects which are not legally committed by local authorities should be paused, whilst an oversight group convenes to review the status of FRM schemes without delay.
It is recognised that this is a matter of real concern and anxiety for Councils wishing to take forward projects which have substantial community backing and expectations on protecting and enhancing local environments across Scotland. With Leaders’ agreement COSLA’s Resources and Environment & Economy Spokespersons have therefore written to Mairi McAllan MSP, Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform to seek a discussion at the earliest opportunity, on the issue of resourcing Flood Risk Management into the future.
School Clothing Grant
Eligible families can apply for a grant of at least £120 to help with the costs of school uniforms from the start of the next academic year in August.
The Scottish Government and local authority leaders reached an agreement to increase the national school clothing grant to a minimum of £120 per eligible primary school pupil and £150 per eligible secondary school pupil.
COSLA’s Children and Young People Spokesperson, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said: “Councils and schools are working to tackle the costs of the school day, ensuring that all children are able to fully participate in their education.
“Working with the Scottish Government, we are pleased that the national minimum school clothing grant has been increased and that families can get extra support as we continue on the road to recovery from the pandemic.”
Read more here.
Police Scotland Consultation - Body Worn Videos (BWV)
Police Scotland recently asked for public views on armed police officers using Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras across Scotland. Almost 9,000 people took part in that survey and the majority thought the use of BWV would increase trust and confidence in the police and make them feel safer. This positive response means that Police Scotland intend to proceed with plans to equip armed police officers with BWV this year.
Police Scotland are now considering whether the use of BWV should be widened to all frontline police officers and staff in other roles across Scotland. Ensuring they get this right for everyone; they have launched a survey and are encouraging individuals and organisations to join the conversation to help inform how Police Scotland uses this technology in the future.
Access the survey here. The survey closes on August 20.
Adapt and Thrive
The Adapt and Thrive strand of the Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme closes to new applications at 9am on Monday, July 19.
As the country begins to open up after lockdown, Adapt and Thrive has played an important role in helping the third sector move to recovery. From September 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, it has made 713 awards totalling £23.4m as well as providing business support to 642 organisations.
If you are interested in applying for grant funding (or are in the process of filling in an application form), make sure you complete your entry online before the deadline – 9am on Monday, July 19.
Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund
The Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund has reopened for applications with refreshed criteria.
The Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund is a £1 million Scottish Government fund administered by Corra Foundation. Over £600,000 has been distributed in phase one (February – May 2021). The next phase, which opened on 1 July, will support groups to access the remaining funds.
The purpose of the Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund is to provide small grants to community and voluntary groups across Scotland who are delivering activities that connect and support people within their local community.
The Fund aims to reach groups who:
* Have strong local relationships with people in the community
* Are already supporting people in their communities to reconnect and improve wellbeing
* Have an annual income of less than £50,000
Groups who are currently in receipt of Scottish Government funding eg. Community Recovery Fund or Adapt and Thrive are not eligible to apply.
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 bank scams, which are some of the most frequently reported scams in Scotland. View the PDF here.
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.