Elected Members Briefing - 18th May

An archive of all our Bulletins can be found here.

Key Messages

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has now delivered first doses of the vaccine to more than three million people in Scotland  –  66.6% of the adult population.

COVID Levels
Most of mainland Scotland and some islands have now moved into COVID Level 2. Other islands are at Level 1, while Moray and Glasgow remain at Level 3.

More information can be found here.

Measures such as wearing a face covering, avoiding crowded places and staying 2m away from other people should still be followed.

It remains important to self-isolate and get tested if you experience COVID symptoms.
Free, fast and regular testing for those who are asymptomatic is now available.

Click for more information or to order tests.

SPICe Briefing
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has published a briefing for the new Members of the Scottish Parliament. The briefing is available to view on the Scottish Parliament website. This briefing explores issues which are likely to be relevant for the next session of the Scottish Parliament, including:

* COVID-19 - The road to recovery.
* The climate and ecological emergency and green recovery.
* The devolution settlement post EU exit and UK relations.

The briefing also touches on the Local Governance Review, Community Empowerment, Town Centres and exploring a new human rights framework for Scotland.

COSLA’s Local Government Finance Officers meet regularly with SPICe 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.

EU Settlement Scheme – Councillor Session
The EU Settlement Scheme closes on June 30 – only 44 days away. It is essential for eligible EU/EEA citizens to apply to be able to continue living and working in the UK. COSLA and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have been working in partnership to support councils identify potentially vulnerable citizens who need to apply, particularly looked after children and care leavers, and support them through their applications. This support has included awareness raising sessions for front line Local Authority staff, such as social workers and housing officers, as well as IOM support through referring complex cases to them.

COSLA and the IOM are offering a similar online awareness raising session for elected members on May, 24, 12-1pm. We are encouraging a strong turnout to ensure councillors are prepared to support people in their communities in this final push before the deadline. An email invitation has been sent out to all councillors on May 17.

For more information, please contact Cameron Heenan

Smart Partnership with Young Scot and COSLA
Transport and Travel Seminar – Wednesday, June 16

This seminar will focus on how Local Authorities are using the Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) and Young Scot’s services to support inclusive place-based growth, increase wellbeing and reduce child and young person poverty.  It will also showcase the work of Local Authorities – highlighting the impact of their work in using Young Scot NEC and Young Scot’s services to support local young people.

This event is aimed at elected members, education, youth work and children services representatives, and key partners from across Scotland. The purpose of the events is to look at how local partners have delivered food, transport and youth engagement services and how they have managed to adapt those services and entitlements during COVID-19.

In advance of each session, attendees will be provided with case-studies and resources on how local partners have adapted and implemented various #YSAttain models of delivery across Scotland. There will also be an opportunity to hear from young people themselves, as well as to share your own experience of working on these topics, and for you to ask any questions you might have.

The event will take place online on Microsoft Teams and you can find out more information including booking details here.

The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland
COSLA, Public Health Scotland and sportscotland have worked collaboratively to produce a paper highlighting the positive contribution of physical activity across COSLA’s policy areas, the National Performance Framework and Scotland’s public health priorities.

The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland draws on evidence to illustrate the direct and indirect benefits that contribute towards multiple outcomes and priorities simply by enabling people to be more physically active.

COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Councillor Kelly Parry, said:

“I’m delighted to formally launch The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland document.  This collaborative piece of work between COSLA, Public Health Scotland and sportscotland clearly demonstrates the impact that physical activity can have to our health and wellbeing and across multiple policy outcomes. The Community Wellbeing Board believe that physical activity has an important part to play to take us individually and societally through and beyond the recovery from the pandemic.   I’m positive this document will help enable conversations and highlight the importance of physical activity to Scotland’s people and communities.”

The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland can be read in full here.

Health and Social Care Board
On Friday, May 14, the Health and Social Care Board met with a presentation from Prof. Anne Hendry on Compassionate Communities and to discuss items on the Active Learning Programme, the Board’s Workplan, Mental Health Standards for Secondary Care, EU Settlement Scheme, Future Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Review of Adult Social Care.

Public Health Scotland – Health Inequalities Learning Hub
Public Health Scotland have launched the Health Inequalities Learning Hub.
The Hub is a free, flexible resource for anyone that would like to increase their knowledge of health inequalities in Scotland.

Learners can access the resource on the Virtual Learning Environment here.

Councillor roundtable event
Supporting women of colour to stand for local elected office

Following the exciting news about the first women of colour elected to the Scottish Parliament, there is a huge opportunity for next year’s local elections to follow this lead and increase the number of women of colour elected as Councillors.

Elect Her (formerly The Parliament Project) is running a series of workshops from late May onwards aimed at supporting Women of Colour to explore their next political steps and consider standing in the 2022 local elections.

As part of our Barriers to Elected Office work, COSLA is hosting an online Councillor roundtable session with Elect Her on Thursday, May 20 13:00-13:45.  This event is aimed at Councillors who want to find out more about the upcoming workshops and how they can promote and support this work within their local communities.

Please register via EventBrite.

Scottish Welfare Fund
Scottish Welfare Fund funding for 2021/22 has returned to pre-pandemic levels but with an understanding that Local Authorities have significant underspends from 2020/21 to use for awards in the current year.  The funding has only been allocated for the first sixth months of the year so that other options for distribution can be rapidly explored for the rest of the year to ensure that there is sufficient funding available to all local authorities.  If any changes on allocation are proposed they will require to go through full COSLA governance for agreement.

It is now agreed that there will be a full review of Scottish Welfare Fund that will include its administrative resource.  COSLA is working with Scottish Government on its timing, scope and how it will be conducted, and will ensure that local authorities inform those discussions.

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 online shopping fake reviews.

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.