Elected Members Briefing - 15th June

An archive of all our Bulletins can be found here.

Key Messages
Information on the COVID-19 vaccine – and an appointment checker – can be found here.

International students are to be included in the national COVID-19 vaccinationprogramme.

Students experiencing hardship over summer as a result of COVID-19 can apply for financial support if they are struggling to meet accommodation and other costs.

Those aged 16 or 17 who care for someone due to old age, physical or mental illness, disability or an addiction, may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit https://nhsinform.scot/carersregister or call 0800 030 8013.

Routes to Testing
Testing for COVID-19 is available to everyone in Scotland. Find detailed information about the various routes to testing in Scotland here.

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. Find details of testing sites here.

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 LDF (lateral flow device) tests to do at home. Find collection sites here  (https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html) 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. Find details of community testing sites here.

Finance: Settlement & Distribution Group
The Settlement and Distribution Group (SDG) will meet this week to consider a range of funding for Local Government – including commitments following the Scottish Government’s First Steps 100 days plan. For instance, funding for children and young people, as well as initial funding for play parks in local communities. Further considerations at the SDG includes funding for access to Counsellors in Schools and Early Learning and Childcare funding. COSLA Leaders will consider the recommendations of the Settlement and Distribution Group at their next meeting.

Councillor remuneration: short survey for elected members
As part of COSLA’s ongoing work to tackle barriers to elected office, we are asking councillors across Scotland to complete a 5-10 minute anonymous survey about their average weekly workload.  This will provide us with an evidence base on councillor remuneration and potential financial barriers to becoming an elected member. The findings of the survey will be used to inform the ongoing work of COSLA’s Barriers to Elected Office Special Interest Group.

The survey can be accessed here and closes at midday on Monday, July 5. 

If you have any questions about the councillor remuneration survey or the wider work of the Barriers to Elected Office Special Interest Group, please do not hesitate to contact Alexis Camble, Policy & Participation Officer (alexis@cosla.gov.uk).

Get into Summer
Children and young people most impacted by COVID will be supported by £20 million to create opportunities to socialise, play and reconnect this summer.

Councils will receive £15 million and up to £5 million has been allocated to a coalition of 18 national partners to further strengthen and build on existing summer provision in addition to what is usually on offer. 

The support provided by councils will specifically target those aged up to 25 from low income households who may otherwise struggle to access such experiences during the holidays.
COSLA’s Children & Young People Spokesperson, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said: “Over the past year children and young people have shown such resilience as the pandemic has limited many of the activities and support usually open to them.

“We are pleased that this additional funding will allow local authorities to build on their own regular summer programmes for children and young people and boost opportunities for those who have faced the greatest challenges due to COVID-19.

“Councils will provide a range of activities depending on local needs and guided by what children and young people themselves say will make a difference.”
Read more here.

Euros 2020
With the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship now underway, football fans are being encouraged to stick to the COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government to enjoy the competition safely.

You should:

- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
- download the Protect Scotland app

More information is available here.

The Right to Adequate Housing
COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Councillor Kelly Parry, commented on the release of a new report on ‘The Right to Adequate Housing’ last week.
The report was commissioned by the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) and written by Gillian Young.
You can read the report here.

Workplace Parking Licensing
Transport Scotland is consulting on measures which will allow local authorities to take forward discretionary workplace parking licensing (WPL) schemes, a new power provided under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

The consultation seeks views on the development of regulations and guidance that must be in place before local authorities can choose to set up a WPL scheme. A WPL would see employers pay an annual levy to the council for every parking space they provide for employees, with the revenue raised supporting the local transport strategy, for example to encourage walking, cycling and public transport.

Local authorities who are considering WPL will have to undertake their own consultation and impact assessments before deciding whether to implement such a scheme and how it should be designed and operate in their area.

COSLA’s Environment and Economy Spokesperson, Councillor Steven Heddle, said: “COSLA supports the principle of discretionary local taxation. The Workplace Parking Licensing as a discretionary power for local authorities can support wider transport and climate change strategies. COSLA welcomes the publication of the consultation on the WPL scheme regulations and guidance and we hope that responses will provide useful input on the development of key elements of the regulatory framework.”

Read more here.

Carers' Week
COSLA’s Health & Social Care Spokesperson, Councillor Stuart Currie, thanked carers across Scotland for their invaluable contribution during Carers Week, which ran from June 7 to 13.

End of EU Settled Status scheme approaches
With less than 30 days to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) deadline, Scottish Government has relaunched the Stay in Scotland campaign.

EU Citizens living in Scotland, who have not yet applied, are being urged to apply now to avoid missing the deadline of 30 June, so they can carry on living, working and studying in Scotland. Irish citizens and people with indefinite leave to remain do not have to apply.

package of support to help EU citizens stay in Scotland is available, which includes a number of factsheets produced with JustRight Scotland explaining EU citizens’ rights in Scotland. The factsheets provide information on EU citizens’ rights to vote, work and access healthcare, education, housing and benefits.

The campaign is being run until 30th June on radio, digital, social, and press. Digital and printable assets for stakeholders providing information and signposting to available support are available: Access the Toolkit to Support EU Citizens via gov.scot 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 ScamShare 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 doorstep scams and holiday scams.


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.