COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor is writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, as well as the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth following their recent appointments within Government. Councillor Macgregor will highlight the need to ensure Councils are properly funded, ensuring investment in essential services and in local economies during recovery from the Pandemic.
Equally, all COSLA's Spokespeople have written to their relevant Cabinet contacts covering a range of issues.
In addition, COSLA's Presidential Team, Councillor Alison Evison and Councillor Graham Houston, are seeking an introductory meeting with the Scottish Government's Local Government Team. Councillor Evison is also seeking a meeting with the First Minister over the pay settlement.
Scottish Economy Data
The Fraser of Allander Institute has published an article that explores recent data on the Scottish economy. The article also discusses the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on public finances and the legacy of the recent crisis.
· Latest data on the Scottish economy – 17th May 2021 | FAI (fraserofallander.org)
Scottish Parliament Information Centre Constituency Dashboard
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) have published a new dashboard which provides a deeper analysis of metrics between different constituencies and regions. Types of data available from the dashboard includes the Labour Market, Population, Health, Housing and Benefits. The dashboard is available from the SPICe website.
EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
We are entering the final weeks before the EUSS deadline (June 30, 2021). It is crucial that EEA citizens living in the UK apply to the scheme to maintain their right to live in the UK, and to continue accessing the services and benefits they are entitled to. We are committed to ensuring that EEA citizens in our communities know about the scheme, recognise who should apply, and, if they require it, are supported to apply. This support is particularly important for vulnerable EEA citizens.
On Monday, COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison, chaired an EUSS information session for our elected members. We were delighted to welcome 64 Councillors from 24 councils to the event. We recognised their commitment to making sure as many people as possible apply to the EUSS before the deadline and their concerns for those who may miss deadline. It was acknowledged that this is our final push, and the importance of getting the word out – by using our comms, social media, newsletters, community meetings, public meetings, and any other means we have to get this message out to as many as possible.
More information is available via the following links -
* Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
* EU Settlement Scheme: local authorities toolkit
* EU Settlement Scheme: looked-after children and care leavers guidance
* EU Settlement Scheme: looked-after children and care leavers survey 2020 to 2021
* EU Settlement Scheme statistics
Barriers to Elected Office
An opinion piece by COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison, entitled ‘Diversity is key to living in a true democracy’ featured in Monday’s Herald.
Councillor Evison noted that just 29% of Councillors and 16% of Council leaders are female and spoke of the work being done ahead of next year’s Local Government elections to increase diversity. She also highlighted the work of COSLA’s Barriers to Elected Office group.
Pandemic Proofing Education
In December 2020 the Scottish Government’s International Council of Education Advisers highlighted that pandemics will become more likely in the years ahead and that we should take steps to ‘pandemic-proof’ schools.
Last week, the COSLA Children and Young People Board considered the issues, with the key themes being adapting our assessment processes for national qualifications, reviewing the curriculum, greater use of outdoor and digital learning and sustainable funding for councils to meet additional costs. Work is ongoing with partners, including the Scottish Government, through the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group to consider a national response.
On Friday, May 21 COSLA’s Children and Young People Board heard from The Daily Mile Founder, Elaine Wyllie; The Daily Mile Programme Manager (Scotland), Fiona Paterson and pupils from St Conval’s Primary School in Glasgow about The Daily Mile and the positive impacts it can have to children and young people across Scotland. The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances. The Daily Mile is a social physical activity delivered in the school setting with children running or jogging – at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends for 15 minutes.
The Daily Mile has been a feature in schools for several years and a renewed commitment has been made by the Scottish Government to roll out this initiative. The Scottish Government fund The Daily Mile Programme Manager for Scotland to drive and deliver on the ambition of Scotland becoming the first Daily Mile Nation. To support this, a new strategy has been developed which is based on a collaborative approach which involves partnerships and organisations with existing programmes.
The strategy has two objectives:
- To increase the number of primary and nursery aged children participating in The Daily Mile - Children Fit For Life programme
- To increase the number of young people (11 years +) and adults participating in The Daily Mile - Fit For Life programme
Underpinning the objectives there will be a focus on developing strong, sustainable partnerships that can provide increased opportunities for participation. This is vital to achieve the ambition of Scotland becoming the first Daily Mile Nation and to ensure sustainability. This strategy supports a range of policy areas including the National Performance Framework, Active Scotland Outcomes Framework and Public Health Scotland’s priorities.
For more information visit www.thedailymile.co.uk or contact Fiona Paterson, Programme Manager at email@example.com
National Appropriate Adult Co-ordinator
The new page highlighting the work of the National Appropriate Adult Co-ordinator went live on the COSLA website this week.
COSLA has hosted the National Appropriate Adult Co-ordinator since September 2020. This was a result of an agreement to work with the Scottish Government to implement the new statutory Appropriate Adult services.
For more information, email Jo Savege, National Appropriate Adult Co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trading Standards Scotland
Trading Standards Scotland has published the fifth in their series of Scam Share Spotlight PDFs , each of which will shine 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 one of the most frequently reported phone scams in Scotland - the misleading sale of insurance or warranties for white goods and appliances.
Business Gateway’s National Webinar programme is continuing at pace and proving very popular with businesses across Scotland. New topics including customer service and health & wellbeing are now covered alongside all the existing ones including writing a business plan and marketing on a budget. All of the national webinars util the end of June are now live and available for booking here.
The National Unit is also hosting two panel webinars next month - one exploring cyber security and one looking at the challenges & opportunities for rural businesses. Both have an impressive line-up of panellists and more information on these will be shared, along with the details on how to book a space, in the next few weeks.
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.