Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013/14 Budget proposals in full

As indicated yesterday, we're publishing today - a week prior to actual Budget Day - the full and final draft of our revised budget proposals for 2013/14.

And as also mentioned yesterday, you can still access our initial draft proposals here - with the associated, detailed figures here - and a report on the feedback we received from the public here.

I'll now simply replicate the main text of our final draft motion for 2013/14 below, but it can also be accessed here, with the associated paperwork available here.

I think the motion below speaks for itself ... and it will now be debated at the Budget Day Council Meeting, 10am on Thursday 7th February, to be webcast here.

Motion by the Capital Coalition

REVENUE BUDGET 2013- 2014;

City of Edinburgh Council
07 February 2013

1.         Introduction

1.1       In May 2012, the Capital Coalition agreed a new Contract with the Capital, a fresh start for Edinburgh, seeking to create a Council that listens to, and works with, local people in a co-operative, fair, accountable and responsible manner.  As part of this contract, the Coalition agreed six key commitments as detailed in section 2 of this motion.  These budget proposals, and the manner in which they have been developed, reinforce the Coalition’s intent to deliver on its commitments.
1.2         As part of the budget setting process the Capital Coalition has, for the first time, given residents and stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the Council's draft budget, months ahead of it being agreed.  A first draft budget was published in November 2012 and has been consulted upon with a wide range of individuals and groups including the business community, parents, community organisations, trade unions and the voluntary sector.

1.3       A full report on the consultation process was considered at a meeting of the Finance and Budget Policy Development and Review Sub-Committee on 23 January 2013.  As a direct result of the consultation, changes have been made to the proposals in a number of areas including:

·          employability  - helping to support young people into work
·          grants to the voluntary sector –  providing the services you want
·          revised parking charges – supporting the business community
·          looking at how we improve our public realm

1.4       This budget has been developed within the challenging context of:

·          savings of £95 million over the next five years of which £3.8 million falls due during financial year 2013/14
·          pressures over the next five years relating to Welfare Reform and an increasing elderly population
·          a reduction in the money local government gets from the Government
·          a background of economic austerity and growing demand for services
·          a commitment to freeze Council Tax

1.5       The Capital Coalition has responded to this challenge by adopting a priority based budget planning approach designed to assure delivery of the Coalition’s commitments through focussing on outcomes, detecting problems earlier and helping people more quickly.

1.6       The Coalition also acknowledges a welcome additional £3.5 million of capital funding received from the Scottish Government for the coming financial year.

2.         Coalition Commitments

Council accordingly agrees: 

Ensuring every child has the best start in life

2.1       investment of £558k in 2013/14 for the recruitment and retention of more Council foster carers to reduce use of residential care with a planned further investment over the following four years of £8.267m

2.2       investment of £725k in 2013/14 to support children with additional support needs, with a planned further investment over the following four years of £7.057m

2.3       completion of the Wave 3 school replacement programme with a funding commitment over the next five years of  £7 million towards the replacement of St John’s RC Primary School, £6.382 million for a replacement St Crispin’s Special School;

2.4       allocation of £618,000 in capital for 2017/18 to fund early stage design works for a new secondary school in Craigmillar

2.5       an additional allocation of £10.5 million for new capital projects in the Children and Families estate

Reducing poverty, inequality and deprivation

2.6       to encourage the roll-out of the Living Wage to all service providers working with/on behalf of the Council following its introduction for Council staff earlier this year

2.7       investment of £1.2 million of grant funding to third sector organisations, reversing the saving previously approved for the 2013/14 budget

2.8       a review of the grants to third parties process during 2013/14, conducted in partnership with third sector stakeholders, to ensure financial stability for organisations and value for money for the Council

Providing for Edinburgh’s economic growth and prosperity

2.9       continued support for youth employment by maintaining funding of £1 million for the Edinburgh Guarantee for a further year

2.10    the reinstatement of £800,000 in grant funding to employability services in the city for a further year

2.11    continuing investment in festivals and events to maintain Edinburgh’s leading position

2.12    development of a strategy, to be finalised before Christmas 2013, to help maximise the economic potential of the city centre following the conclusion of tram line construction in 2014

2.13    development of a Strategic Investment Fund of £7.5 million and instructs the Chief Executive to report to Council on 22 August 2013 on how this will be established

Strengthening and supporting our communities and keeping them safe

2.14    devolution of £120,000 to neighbourhood areas for targeted clean-ups

2.15    employment of an additional 12 Environmental Wardens to help keep our streets clean and neighbourhoods safer

Ensuring Edinburgh and its residents are well cared for

2.16    capital investment of £4 million for construction of a 60-bed care home in the north of the city

2.17    additional investment of £2 million to provide care for an increasing number of older people to support them in their own homes

2.18    additional investment of £2.9 million to meet the needs of people with physical and learning disabilities

2.19    investment of £500,000 to support carers

2.20    agrees an increase of 5.9% in Council housing rent in accordance with the rent strategy agreed with tenants in the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan

Maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Edinburgh

2.21    investment of an additional £12 million in the city’s roads and pavements with a commitment to begin to remedy the particular issues in rural west Edinburgh

2.22    employment of additional inspectors to ensure utility companies repair roads to an appropriate standard

2.23    additional income of £325,000  from increased parking capacity

2.24    commitment of 6% of the transport revenue and capital budgets for creation and maintenance of cycle infrastructure

2.25    allocation of an additional £2 million in capital for pitches, pavilions, parks and new sports infrastructure

2.26    to strengthen the Council's drive toward greater reductions in carbon emissions sustainable working and energy efficiency

2.27    to commit up to £60,000 to begin an options assessment and stakeholder analysis on the future of Meadowbank Sports Centre

2.28    to commit £20,000 to pilot alternative opening hours for city centre museums and galleries during peak periods.

3.         Proposed Savings

3.1       Key corporate savings include:

·          strengthening the Council’s procurement practices to save £9 million in 2013/14
·          reviewing IT provision resulting in savings of £7.5 million by 2017/18
·          implementing internal improvement plans for Corporate and Transactional Services, Environmental Services and Integrated Facilities Management generating savings of £10 million in 2013/14.

4.         Future Budget Development

4.1      Council further agrees:      

·          to continue development of the priority based planning framework to ensure that expenditure achieves key outcomes of the Council efficiently and effectively
·          to strengthen internal financial scrutiny, accountability and governance
·          to continue the move toward increased involvement of individuals and organisations in the budget process including reaching out to people who would not normally engage with the Council in developing its budget
·          that continuous consultation will be an integral part of budget development from February 2013
·          to aim for publication of the draft 2014/15 Council Budget by the end of September 2013, thus ensuring all public consultation can be concluded by the end of 2013
·          establishment of a new Property Conservation service by April 2013, in light of public comments, which is fit for Scotland’s historic capital city
·          delivery of the tram project within the approved revised budget, ensuring the start of operational services by summer 2014
·          to examine options for using co-operative and trust models in the delivery of services.

5.         Risks and Challenges

5.1       Council notes that the Council faces significant risks and challenges as set out in the accompanying Revenue Budget 2013-14 - Risks and Reserves Report, particularly in the areas of:

·          welfare reform
·          major capital projects
·          property conservation
·          changes in population.

5.2    Council will also continue to assess the risks, challenges and opportunities arising from the integration of Health and Social Care.

6.         Recommendations

Council notes:

·          the reports by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the revenue budget framework
·          the report by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the potential equality and rights risks associated with the revenue budget framework
·           the reports by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the overall position on capital resources for the period 2013 to 2018
·          the consultation undertaken in setting the 2013/14 budget and the intention to further engage in subsequent years, especially in light of the review of funding the third sector, meeting sustainability targets and meeting future challenges.

            Council approves:

·          the revenue budget set out in the reports, subject to the adjustments (or amendments) set out in Annex 1 to this motion
·          the 2013 to 2018 capital budget as set out in the report by the Director of Corporate Governance, subject to the adjustments (or amendments) set out in Annex 3 to this motion
·          A band D Council Tax of £1,169
·          the Council Tax and Rating resolution as set out in Annex 2 to this motion;
·          the schedule of charges for Council services as set out in Annex 4 to this motion
·          the prudential indicators as set out in Annex 5
·          the recommendations contained in the report by the Director of Services for Communities to increase rents by 5.9% and to approve the outline 5 year HRA capital programme for 2013 to 2018.


Moved by

Alasdair Rankin

Seconded by

Bill Cook

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Budget Day approaching

I reported on the impending local budget in my last post, mentioning the fact that we'd published our draft proposals several months prior to actual Budget Day - which this year is on Thursday 7th February ...

... well, further in line with our commitment to try and make this whole process more open, transparent and meaningful; it is also our intention (as the Capital Coalition) to publish a full and final draft of our revised budget proposals (including our final draft motion) tomorrow (Thursday 31st), a full week prior to the actual Budget Day.

I'll thus put up links to the relevant files, in a subsequent blog post, at 10am tomorrow morning.

You can obviously still read about our initial draft proposals here - with the associated, detailed figures here - and a report on the feedback we received from the public can now be accessed here.

And once our revised proposals are published tomorrow, I'd still welcome any further feedback prior to Thursday 7th February.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 2013 Leader's Report

January Leader's Report now available online - for this Thursday's Council Meeting - you can access it on CPOL here and/or watch me speak to it, on Thursday, here ...

... and the full text (with various links) follows below:

 January/February 2013


Making gains in public satisfaction – shaping up 

Satisfaction with the Council delivering good value for money has almost doubled in the last year. According to a major independent survey carried out amongst 5,000 city residents, satisfaction rates have gone from around 30% to 60%. Acknowledging that we started from a fairly low point, I believe that confidence is increasing as people see the Capital Coalition putting our 50 pledges into action and are delivering what we said we would. 
You can see the way we measure our performance against our targets using acknowledged business management methods and this is scrutinised both by the opposition parties and external agencies. 

As I’ve said before, I’d like to think we will be judged on our record of delivering our pledges and of honestly reconnecting and repairing our relationship with the public.



Money, money, money


I have been working hard with my colleagues, Councillor Alasdair Rankin and Councillor Bill Cook, looking at how we spend money and how we make sure the public and stakeholders can give us their views. 

For the first time the Council’s draft budget was published months in advance so we could start a series of consultation meetings and carry out a survey to gauge what people thought of the proposals. Many of you chose to tell us how we could use money more efficiently and in general said you support the general thrust of detecting problems earlier and helping people more quickly to prevent future problems. We have listened and amended the proposals to take account of your views. 

Around a billion pounds each year is spent on roads, schools, care homes and a myriad of other services such as street cleaning, employment initiatives and community safety. It is important we have sound financial management and restore confidence in the way the city is managed. It is a major exercise to prioritise what is important and we feel that the opposition political groups should also have their say if we are to reach the best possible decisions. That is why we are publishing the second draft budget and will look for suggestions that we can all reach agreement on. 

We intend to publish the next draft budget even earlier to ensure more time is available for you to feedback your views.



Schools commitments 


Our pledge to rebuild Portobello High School has been a serious challenge for the Capital Coalition but Councillor Steve Cardownie, the Deputy Leader and I are 100% committed to making this happen. It is a complex situation surrounding the chosen site but we are determined to press ahead and provide what is best for children in the east of the city. 

In the budget motion for debate on 7 February I am also clear about making a commitment to building a new school in Craigmillar and want to ensure that money is earmarked now for 2017 onwards. This will go some way towards building confidence around the regeneration of that area in the future.



Leith works


It has been a frustrating time for residents and traders in Leith who have put up with disruption from tram works for a period of time. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with essential utilities work on Constitution Street and Leith Walk getting under way from 18 February and be completed by the end of April 2013.

This marks the start of a comprehensive programme of work to improve the standard of the roads, pavements and environment of this area of the city, something local residents and businesses have long called for. Following the utilities works contractors will begin to resurface the road and replace the pavements along the entire length of Leith Walk and Constitution Street. This will be done in sections so that we can minimise disruption to residents and businesses.

To help plan further alterations to the streetscape, we recently concluded a major consultation exercise which sought the public’s views on the preliminary design drawn up by the Council’s transport planning team. The views received are currently being considered to inform a final design for the streets and they will be incorporated into the report on the Leith Programme due to go to the Council's Transport and Environment Committee on 19 March 2013. 

Even though the consultation has officially ended, we’re always keen to hear residents’ views and answer any questions about the project in general. You can find a collection of some of the questions we’ve already handled on the Council’s web pages.



Tram update


Everyone involved is pushing hard to maintain the good progress made last year. The project remains in line with the revised budget and timeframe (up and running by summer 2014) and systems testing continues on the stretch of track between the airport and the Gogar depot. By the time the process is complete around 800 individual tests will have been carried out.

There was a major drive ahead of the Christmas shopping period to improve people’s ability to move in and around the city centre - all developed in consultation with business owners and other stakeholders. This included the re-opening of Princes Street to traffic ahead of schedule and improved access for shoppers and buses around the worksites. 

I’m determined to push ahead with a refreshed strategy to support the economic growth of the city centre particularly to take advantage of when the trams are up and running. As we move through the year the situation in the city centre will progressively improve and we'll continue to work with local businesses and residents until the disruption comes to an end.

Keep an eye on the Council's tram picture gallery for the January picture update.



In the picture


This is the time of year when residents can enjoy the city without it being too crowded. Look into what is on and take advantage of some of the cultural activities on our doorstep. There are also a number of great artists performing at the Usher Hall over the coming months including Nicola Benedetti and Stereophonics. 

When you want to promote our city to customers, clients or just plain boast to friends, our latest city accolades and achievements are always a good starting point. 

Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. If you wish to unsubscribe please email us.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Haggis, STV and trains

1st Burns Supper of the season on Friday (Burns!) night - organised by Edinburgh Southern CLP ... good evening had by all, and even the vegetarian haggis was edible ;-)

Straight onto the Caledonian Sleeper, for a Saturday morning meeting in London with the Electoral Reform Society ... and now back in a comparatively snow-free Edinburgh: there's LOTS of it across most of England!

Train journeys fine - if not slightly delayed; but wholly understandable given the weather conditions.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January Council papers now online

January's Full Council Meeting is next Thursday (31st) and the papers/reports are now all online - main agenda here, and individual reports here ...

... almost certain that most (significant) debate will be around the Leith Waterworld report at item 8.7 on the agenda - full report here.

As is now usual, the meeting will be webcast - details here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Publication of STV voting preferences (from May 2012)


Returning Officers across Scotland have today published the preference voting information from the May 2012 local government elections.

This is now required by law, thanks to the Scottish Local Government Elections Amendment (No. 2) Order 2012.

This Order required the publication by Returning Officers of information about the patterns of preferences marked on the ballot papers in Local Government elections.

The data for Edinburgh is now available to download from the elections area of the Council website, with a separate spreadsheet for each Ward: just follow this link for the explanatory information.

Ward 9 - Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart - data (as an EXCEL Spreadsheet) is here ...

... but, be warned, several hours required if you really want to analyse all of this ;-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee

First 2013 meeting of the Council's 'Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee' next Tuesday (22nd) and the reports are now all available on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL), here ... with the main agenda here.

For anyone really interested, loads of detailed information on Council Performance contained within the report at item 7.5 on the agenda - full report PDF can be found here ;-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Birthday/shopping weekend

Spent Saturday afternoon/early evening in sunny Salsburgh, celebrating my Dad's 85th Birthday ... quite something really, all-things considered :-)

... and Sunday morning made my annual shopping trip (I kid you not!) to buy a few clothes with my various Christmas-vouchers.

Back to budget-setting mania, from first-thing tomorrow ... only 3-weeks now, from this Thursday, until the 7th February and local Budget Day; it will - of course - be the first of this new Council-term.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tollcross Community Council

Tollcross Community Council later this evening - and I can actually make it along!

First time I'll have been for a few months, given others pressures, but looking forward to a debate on the Council's draft Budget proposals ...

... formal deadline for comments might have passed, but still several weeks before we actually set the 2013/14 Budget (on Thursday 7th February), so important to continue a dialogue with as many folk as possible.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Where are we now?

I've been somewhat mesmerised by David Bowie's new single today.

If you've missed it, I'd rather highly recommend a listen ...

... you can see the video here and the full lyrics are here.

Transported me right back to 1980 and my obsessive love of Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps); that first track on side 2, still sends me into a bit of a spin: 'Teenage Wildlife':

Well, how come you only want tomorrow
With its promise
of something hard to do
A real life adventure
worth more than pieces of gold
Blue skies above
and sun on your arms
strength in your stride
And hope in those squeaky clean eyes

 And today, at 66, he comes out with:

Where are we now?
Where are we now?
The moment you know
You know, you know

I think Bowie's always known - right from those teenage years - that everything matters, because there's nothing else:
Everything matters
Each detail
Sharp and sweet
Infusing our soul

Then later, home
In every way possible
To everything that matters
Love while you can

March just can't come soon enough; and with it
the release of that full album :-)

Satisfaction with Council in Edinburgh increases by a third

I've just received the top-line results from this year's Annual Residents' Survey and there are some very interesting movements in the figures from last year ...

... now, I know all too well that one swallow doesn't make a summer, and that maintaining this pace of change will be challenging (to say the least!) but massive thanks should go to all Council Staff who are the real-people behind these undoubted improvements in performance and perception.

Here's the relevant News Release:


Satisfaction with Council in Edinburgh increases by a third

Satisfaction with how the Council is managing the city and providing value for money has increased by nearly a third in the last year. Residents in Edinburgh are also happier with how the Council is managing their money with satisfaction levels increasing by 21 per cent.

These are some of the initial findings of a major survey of over 5000 residents across the city carried out from September to November last year.  

Council Leader Andrew Burns said: "I welcome this increase in satisfaction from our residents in the way we are managing the city. There is work going on to find out more about the reasons behind this, but early indications seem to point to an increase in confidence.  However, there is no room for complacency, and I Iook forward to the full results in February which will give us a clearer picture of where to concentrate our efforts to make further improvements."

"Although the majority of the results are very positive, I am not surprised that there has been a 10% dip in satisfaction with our waste collection service, probably mainly due to the scale of recent services changes which were being carried out at the same time the survey was conducted. I’m confident this will improve as our recycling rates increase and the changes bed in.

"Cllr Steve Cardownie, Deputy Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "These results are very good news for our local services. It is really important people feel safe and positive about the community they live in.  Satisfaction with how local neighbourhood areas are run is very high at 85%. We need to look closely at all of the results now to find out which areas of the city are in most need of greater attention. This information will also help us make decisions about where we concentrate resources"

1. Improvements on 2011 (statistically significant)

City Level

% satisfied with:
Increase on 2011
Delivering good value for money
The way the Council is managing the city*
Displaying sound financial management
Putting customers first
Edinburgh as a place to live
Car parking

*Reasons for dissatisfaction include trams (17% - reduced from 37% in 2011), mismanagement and poor use of funds (5% - reduced from 17%) and roads/pavements (4%). Anecdotal evidence from fieldworkers was that respondents were more positive about the trams and progress being made.


% satisfied with:
Increase on 2011
Parks or other green spaces
Neighbourhood management*
Sport and leisure facilities
Feeling of safety after dark
Maintenance of pavements
Neighbourhoods as a place to live
Maintenance of roads

Note: satisfaction with nursery, primary and secondary schools, libraries to be calculated.

Positive satisfaction with the way community safety and anti-social behaviour issues are dealt with:

  • Violent crime - 33% satisfied; 57% say it is not an issue
  • Vandalism and graffiti – 42% satisfied; 48% say it is not an issue
  • Antisocial behaviour – 41% satisfied; 46% say it is not an issue
  • Dog fouling – 33% satisfied; 32% say it is not an issue
  • Street drinking a problem – 6% yes; 82% no

Priorities for improving quality of life in neighbourhood

76% say no complaints/council doing a good job

15% – road improvements
10% - clean up area
3% - activities for children and young people

Areas for attention

  • Ability to have a say - 28% disagree; 38% unsure
  • Rubbish collection - satisfaction has been consistently high (>80%) since 2007, highest in 2011 at 87%. This has reduced to 78% in 2012.