Friday, August 31, 2012

COSLA Leaders Meeting

COSLA Leaders Meeting this morning ... public papers can be seen via this link; and the overall Agenda here.

Likely to be most debate around the issue of 'Health and Social Care Integration' - our own Council debates our submission to the Scottish Government consultation (on this issue) next Tuesday at our Policy and Strategy Committee.

The general papers for that meeting can be found here with the specific 'Health and Social Care' report being here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Green Investment Bank

Mentioned last year that it was good to see strong support for the successful location of the Green Investment Bank here in Edinburgh ...

... well, very pleased to be able to confirm yesterday that the Council will be providing a temporary home for the Bank prior to it finding a permanent base in the Capital: details here.

And just a reminder that Lord Smith, Chair of the UK Green Investment Bank, will be speaking at the launch of the Council's new Economic Strategy in a few weeks time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Edinburgh visitors

No, not the one in the middle ;-)

Series of enjoyable (and very well attended) meetings with Harriet Harman and Margaret Curran, who were both in Edinburgh earlier today ...

... was very heartening to hear that those Edinburgh results, back in May, had been so warmly received by colleagues up-and-down the whole country :-)

Also good to hear such lively, and interesting, debate being generated by all those present today.

Sir Chris Hoy awarded Freedom of Edinburgh

Sir Chris Hoy with his gold medal after the Keirin at London 2012Sir Chris Hoy awarded Freedom of Edinburgh

Published Thursday 23 August 2012
Proposals to hold a civic reception and other celebrations, such an open-top bus parade, for all Olympians and Paralympians with an Edinburgh connection were also approved - details of which will be announced once arrangements are finalised.

Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Donald Wilson, said: "I am delighted that councillors today unanimously supported the motion to grant Sir Chris Hoy the Freedom of the City. It is the most prestigious honour we can bestow.

"Sir Chris is an outstanding ambassador for Edinburgh and an inspirational role model for our city's young people, proving that hard work, dedication and sheer determination can help turn natural talent into world-beating success.

"I have written to Sir Chris advising him of Council's decision and very much hope he accepts this honour and that, in due course, we can welcome him to Edinburgh for what will undoubtedly be a wonderful occasion."

Council today also recognised the contribution of all of the volunteers, coaches, officials, friends and families who have all played a part in the success of Team GB - and committed to ensuring that those associated with Edinburgh be part of the celebrations.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Council’s New Economic Strategy 2012-17

The Council's New Economic Strategy for 2012-17 is being formally launched next month at a conference in the new Assembly Rooms - some details here, and text pasted below ...

... I'm looking forward to this event:

Investing in Jobs: Edinburgh's Call to Action

Conference to Launch the Council’s New Economic Strategy 2012-17

Wednesday 12 September 2012, 8:15-12:00 (registration and breakfast from 07:45)
Music Hall, Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street


The City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Business Forum are jointly hosting a conference to launch the Council's new economic strategy and agree how the city will tackle its biggest economic challenges.
The priority for the next few years is clear: all economic development activity will be targeted towards one goal: the creation and retention of sustainable jobs. The conference will explore the programmes that will deliver this outcome.
It will also examine the importance of city regions in driving Scotland's economy forward, and how partnership working is critical for programmes to be delivered effectively.


  • Registration/breakfast
Session 1: Sharing the Vision
  • Introduction from compère: Robert Carr
  • Welcome: Cllr Andrew Burns: Leader, the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Nicola Sturgeon MSP: Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy
  • Sue Bruce: Chief Executive, the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Film: Edinburgh's Strategy for Jobs
  • Panel discussion/Q&A with speakers chaired by Dr Lesley Sawers, Chief Executive, SCDI
  • Hugh Rutherford: Chair, Edinburgh Business Forum
  • Coffee break
Session 2: Realising the Vision

Who Should Attend?

Anyone with an interest in the city's economy. Businesses and investors, academics, public sector organisations, third sector organisations, national and local politicians, heritage organisations, residents and the media will all find this relevant.


Registration for the conference is free of charge.

How to book

To secure your space at the conference, send an email with your contact details to or phone 0131 221 2972.


There are a range of sponsorship options still available for the conference. If interested in finding out more, please contact David Hanna at or 0131 529 3161.

Governance Review paperwork

I've had a few queries in connection to the Governance Review proposals, which are at the Full Council Meeting this Thursday for noting ...

... the full set of Reports can be accessed from CPOL (here) and final decisions will be made at the 20th September Council Meeting, after another month of consultation.

There a short piece up on the Council's NewsCentre - here - text also pasted below:

Councillors to consider proposals for more open decision-making

Published Monday 20 August 2012

A report for this Thursday's Council's meeting will set out various options for improving how the Council makes decisions and involves the public.

Council Leader, Cllr Andrew Burns, said:

"People in Edinburgh told us clearly that they wanted better opportunities to influence Council decisions and to see that the quality of our processes were open to greater scrutiny. We have listened and responded, and officers have made good progress on proposals for new ways of working. The options currently on the table reflect comments from coalition and opposition groups and, although there may still be some differences of opinion, this underlines our commitment to a genuine co-operative approach. This principle will continue to guide the final decision on a new committee system that will help make the right decisions about the services we provide to the public.

"The Council needs strong leadership and a stable environment to face the challenges we have in Edinburgh and to ensure the city and its people continue to prosper. Of course, our priority is - and will remain - providing good quality services for the people in Edinburgh but we also need to show that our processes for making decisions about these services are open, accountable and fair. A revised governance system for running the council will help to repair our relationship with residents and rebuild trust."

The report to Council summarises the progress made to date in developing a new system of governance. The main elements are:
  • A changed committee system to improve decision-making, the scrutiny of what the Council does and opportunities for the public to have their say, including a petitions committee.
  • Arrangements for reporting progress against the coalition's pledges contained in its 'contract with the capital.
Subject to the Council meeting on Thursday 23 August, a final set of proposals for agreement by all councillors will be presented to the Council meeting in September.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday afternoon in Salsburgh

Afternoon over in Salsburgh for an all-too-brief visit to my folks ...

... guess what, sun was shining in Edinburgh when we left and it was belting down with rain in the village :-(

Anyhow, a good afternoon had by all, and my parent's TV-package meant I got to see a rare
bit of Premiership Football!

Did manage to get to the Allotment (in the sunshine!) earlier this morning and got the
remainder of the post-summer, clear-up completed.

More potatoes cropped; half-a-bed ... as you can see :-)


Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 2012 Leader's Report

This coming Thursday is Full Council day, and my monthly Leader's Report should be up on CPOL soon ... meantime, here's the text below:

Good Progress

Since my last report in June I feel the Capital Coalition has made good progress in a number of areas and that we have significantly changed the way things are done by showing we are prepared to listen and respond to stakeholders and the public. I hope you will agree, but if not, or if you want to bring something to my attention, please email me.
This has been a significantly upbeat month with our Deputy Leader Councillor Steve Cardownie quick off the mark to show how we intend to complement the celebrations of Olympic achievements in Glasgow by granting Sir Chris Hoy the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh at the Council meeting this month. A civic reception and other celebrations will also follow to honour Sir Chris and his Olympic team-mates, coaches, volunteers, officials, friends and family associated with Edinburgh who all contributed to the success.

I couldn’t allow this report to go out without a mention of the hugely successful Edinburgh International Culture Summit in the city this month. Delegations from more than 30 countries visited our world leading festival city to undertake a range of discussions which will enable them to make connections that will benefit our festivals and the city economy for years to come.


Steady as she goes

I’m aware tram works still look unsightly and things are still difficult, but we are making steady progress on the construction programme and the first trams are due to be ready for passengers in the Summer of 2014.

The project is in its peak construction phase with some 1000 people working on what is Scotland’s second largest infrastructure project. (After the Forth replacement crossing.)

While I am determined, along with the Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds to ensure delivery of the project, we are also committed to listen to the concerns of those affected so we can minimise the effects of the construction programme on their lives. For example, we have been able to change traffic management arrangements and diversion routes in the Broughton Street/Albany Street and Abercrombie Place areas after taking on board the concerns of local residents and traders.

We have also erected more directional signs in the city centre and east end area to help people more easily find their way to local shops, businesses and city centre landmarks.

In the east end/Broughton Street area currently affected by diversions we have been able to take action to lessen the effect of the works.

On Leith Walk, we continue to meet with members of the local community to make sure that the £5.5 million improvement programme meets their expectations and we will work with them to reduce disruption as far as possible.


Firm action – new service

Firm action has been taken against those few individuals who mismanaged property repairs with a number of suspensions and dismissals.

Options to create a brand new service are being presented for public consultation. Rather than, as tends to happen at present, the Council being the first port of call to manage home owner’s repairs, the new service will expand provision of advice and information whilst placing on the owners the primary responsibility for managing their property repairs or maintenance.

I’m aware that this will not be universally popular but it will mean home owners will be more in control of their own home maintenance and the Council will only be used when attempts at self-management have failed as in cities elsewhere in the country. The emergency service, which responds where there is a risk to public health or safety, is likely to be retained.

Your comments on these options are most welcome as part of the consultation:
· property factoring
· sample inspections of listed buildings
· reintroduction of the Edinburgh Stair Partnership
· use of a statutory tenement management scheme.

If staff working in these service areas have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to speak to your line manager.


Reduce Reuse Recycle – bin collections are changing

We are making changes to the recycling and waste collection service to make it simpler and help us increase the amount we recycle in each home.

From 10 September, garden waste, household waste and food waste collections will now take place on the same day. Food bins will continue to be collected weekly and brown (garden) and green (household) bins will alternate each week.

Residents affected by the changes have already received information by mail and new calendars will be sent closer to the time. We need to reduce waste to landfill for environmental reasons as well as the cost and with everybody’s help that will mean more to invest in improving local services.

Thank you to the teams across the council who are working hard to make these improvements to our service.


Young people deserve better

If you haven’t already heard, the Edinburgh Guarantee is a vision that all sectors of the city will work together to ensure that every school leaver in Edinburgh will have a positive destination such as employment, apprenticeship, internship or job focused education.

The Council is leading and we have provided 50 apprenticeships and 80 training places so far with more to come. We have been heartened by the response across all sectors of the city which has enabled us to match 464 young people into a positive destination. We need to do more so keep the ideas and offers coming. If your service has ideas, please e-mail the Edinburgh Guarantee team.


Be in the picture

Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Allotment Update

Managed to get a few hours down at the Allotment late this afternoon ... was quite a bit of work to do, having been away for a fortnight.

But - all is now in decent order and some of the flower-beds are looking really stunning ;-)

Also managed to crop some potatoes; more broad beans; spinach and raspberries. Not bad.

Site will still need some more attention next weekend to get it up to scratch!

Back home now to watch the Olympic Closing Ceremony ...

... then back to work tomorrow ;-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back in Edinburgh

Back in Edinburgh this evening, after a fabulous 2-weeks down in Sussex/Kent ... with 4-days spent in London at the Olympics :-)

Now, as close friends and family know well, I'm not a huge sports-fan by nature; but I do have to say that we were completely swept away by the truly wonderful atmosphere around all the London events we had tickets for.

Managed to get to the main Olympic Park (for Hockey and the Orbit!); Earls Court (for Volleyball); and Wembley (twice - for Men's and Women's Football) - each venue was very slickly managed, and the crowds really were as fervent as they appeared in all the TV and press reports ...

... difficult to pick out a favourite moment - it was all outstanding - but the USA V Japan Women's Football Final, at Wembley, with over 80,000 of a crowd was something really special. It was a pretty passionate match, with both American and Japanese supporters in abundance, and the contest certainly matched (and surpassed, I'd say) many male football games that I've seen for skill and determination.

Now got a day to recover (tomorrow), then back to work first-thing on Monday. Have had a really great 2-weeks away, but am looking forward to getting back to the day-job now ;-)