Friday, February 27, 2015

Unlocking our wealth: Report of Commission on Community Resilience, Jobs and Growth

A couple of days ago, I mentioned the imminent publication of the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) Policy Commission report on "Community Resilience, Jobs and Enterprise" ...

... well, the full report - and the accompanying evidence document - are now both publicly available, via those  (highlighted) direct links and/or from here.

And as page 9 of the main report makes clear; some 5-million citizens are now served by the 22 councils that make up the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network ...

... and this heavily evidence-based report shows just how a cooperative approach, based on firm partnership with business and individuals, could help more workless people into jobs, at lower cost, increase small business growth to create thousands of jobs, and significantly increase private sector investment in employment and skills.

The report pledges the commitment of Cooperative Councils to implement significant new deals with citizens and business to unlock the wealth of our communities, and it calls on government to give local Councils the power to make it happen.

I do hope central Government, in both Holyrood and Westminster, are listening?

shows how a cooperative approach, based on firm partnership with business and individuals, could help more workless people into jobs, at lower cost, increase small business growth to create thousands of jobs, and significantly increase private sector investment in employment and skills. - See more at:

Growing a Food Justice Movement in Scotland

Important conference event in Glasgow tomorrow - sadly, I can't be there personally - but, in partnership with the 'Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland' and 'The Centre for Human Ecology' ...

... Faith in Community Scotland is hosting a conference on responses to food poverty in Scotland; and how we can potentially move beyond emergency food aid to just and sustainable food systems.

You can find some more details on the conference here; including a flyer for the event here.

To coincide with the conference, myself and my Glasgow opposite-number - Gordon Matheson - have agreed a joint statement/commitment on food poverty, which I'll copy below:


Joint Statement on Food Poverty
by the Leaders of Edinburgh and Glasgow City Councils

Glasgow and Edinburgh are committed to eradicating poverty in our cities in all its forms.

Today, most of those living in poverty are in employment, a consequence of reduced wages and a proliferation of exploitative zero hours contracts. Many are unable to find work at all. Changes to the benefit system, including an increased use of sanctions, delays in processing and low benefit levels are fundamental causes of growing poverty.
One consequence of this is food poverty. The combination of low paid or insufficient work, benefit cuts, rising food and fuel costs and the ‘Poverty Premium’ -  which sees the poorest in our communities pay more for everyday necessities such as food, fuel and credit – has rendered tens of thousands unable to eat properly.

The recent report “Food, Fuel and Finance: tackling the poverty premium”, made a series of recommendations for action at city, Scottish and UK levels and we endorse its findings. Furthermore, we welcome the work of the Glasgow-based Poverty Leadership Panel and reaffirm our commitment to delivering its objectives.
Many people have given food and time to food banks.  This generosity reflects the good will and compassion our cities are famous for. However, food banks are a crisis response to an immediate problem, not a sustainable solution to food poverty.  In particular the expansion of the food bank system using ‘waste’ food from the supermarket system, proposed by a recent All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom, is deeply flawed.

Experience elsewhere has shown that when food banks become too well established they undermine the fundamental rights enshrined in our welfare system. If we become too reliant upon them we risk a return to charity welfare – this must not happen.
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have thriving community food sectors, including food cooperatives, community shops, healthy eating groups and projects, growing projects and community gardens. Both cities are part of the Sustainable Food Cities network, with Edible Edinburgh and the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership working across sectors in their respective cities. We believe that community food sectors have a role to play in tackling food poverty and making access to nutritious, sustainable food a reality for all.

We pledge to work with all relevant stakeholders – and crucially, this includes those people with first hand experience of poverty -  to ensure that all citizens have access to sustainable, nutritious food as a matter of course, not as a result of charity.

We believe:
·         Access to food is a basic human right.
·         Insufficient food is a symptom of poverty.
·         Food banks are a crisis response and will not solve the problem of food poverty.
·         Food waste is not an effective or socially just solution to food poverty.

We will:
·         Continue to work alongside those with lived experience of poverty to identify solutions.
·         Encourage the Scottish and UK governments to work in partnership with local government, communities and the third sector to tackle food poverty and develop a plan to tackle its causes.
·         Endorse the recommendations of the Church Action on Poverty report Food, Fuel, Finance and the findings of Glasgow’s Poverty Leadership Panel.

Councillor Gordon Matheson CBE                 Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of Glasgow City Council                      Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saughton Park restoration project - Public Consultation

I've mentioned the Saughton Park Restoration Project before ... and pleased to report that a new round of public consultation is about to start next week.

All the background details, and plans, are available via the Council's website - here (and links therein) ... and I'm assuming that the new consultation details will be available via that link very soon!

... and, if further interested, there's more general information on the Edinburgh Outdoors site - here - and you can get involved via this link  :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We need more control of our own destiny

Regular readers will recall that last year I was elected as Chair of the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) ... and tomorrow, down in London, CCIN are set to launch a Policy Commission report on "Community Resilience, Jobs and Enterprise".

Sadly, I can't make it down to London this week - but have penned a short piece, to coincide with the launch of the report. I'll copy the piece below, and the Policy Commission report should be available via this link from tomorrow

Cooperate to Innovate: Report launch of policy commission on community resilience, jobs and enterprise - See more at:

Cooperate to Innovate: Report launch of policy commission on community resilience, jobs and enterprise - See more at:
We need more control of our own destiny

I reckon the assertion that local government had been unnecessarily stripped of powers, and that its funding mechanisms are broken, would still have been slightly controversial amongst some quarters if stated several years ago. But now, here in early 2015, I doubt if anyone seriously contests the fact that there’s a significant structural problem with how councils across the United Kingdom are empowered and financed?

And, as a Council Leader, a Ward Councillor, and a member of my local community, I do understand the scale of the challenges that we are all facing locally. Many communities are disengaged from local democracy; councils can seem like distant bureaucracies; and, as organisations, we as councils are struggling to manage significant funding reductions just as local people are putting more and more demand on local services.

If councils are going to survive in this context, and if communities are going to thrive, then we all need to start doing things differently. We need to work together, in genuine and equal partnership with local people, to make the most of the strengths that lie in our communities. Most importantly, we must drive real innovation, with local people at its core, if we are to face the challenges ahead of us.

This is exactly why the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network exists. And, as the current Chair of the Network, I firmly believe that the co-operative principles of empowerment, equal partnership, and collective action offer a positive route not simply to survive through tough times, but to enable local communities to thrive, supported by relevant and meaningful local public services.

Three key points are clear to me. Firstly, for local devolution to be successful, there has to be a fundamentally new relationship between Councils and citizens. Secondly, as part of this there needs to be a different form of local leadership, where elected members and others are willing to ‘let go’ and become less risk averse. And thirdly, we need to create appropriate platforms for devolution that align with the key needs, relationships and resources of local areas.

But even if all of these actions are undertaken, and I believe many local Councils the length and breadth of the United Kingdom have indeed embraced this agenda, the outcomes from this innovative new approach to local service delivery will be severely muted if Local Government is not re-empowered with meaningful economic-policy and funding levers.

If we’re serious about providing the basis for a radically new approach to local service delivery, which subsequently leads to the creation of thriving local economies, then we must surely give our local Councils the tools in the toolbox to make this happen?

That’s why I’m so excited about the imminent launch – on Thursday 26th February - of the findings of a policy commission on community resilience, jobs and enterprise; undertaken by the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network.

In the context of an ailing centralised system (best exemplified by the Work Programme), the Commission has examined cooperative approaches to tackling labour market exclusion and building fairer and more enterprising local economies. The findings complement the current debate on devolution to city regions.

The Commission report calls for a series of cooperative ‘deals’ with citizens, business and central Government to build an economy and a system of employment, skills and enterprise that is underpinned by social partnership, gives localities real power and unlocks the potential and creativity of citizens.

It’s a real prospectus for giving local Councils the powers they need, which would actually ensure that the welcome new approaches to local service delivery subsequently lead to the creation of thriving local economies.

In a nutshell, local Councils would be given the economic-policy levers to make a real local difference.

And, in recent weeks and months, we’ve also seen the publication of two equally important studies; both of which have charted a path for the further devolution of financial freedoms to local Councils.

In Scotland, the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy has laid out radical new proposals to re-empower Scottish democracy; and in England, the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance has outlined a programme for reform that would lay the foundations for a local government funding system which would be stable for the long term, stimulate economic growth and enable local people to invest in their own local priorities.

In a nutshell, these two sets of proposals (from both sides of the border) would ensure local Councils were given the funding levers to make a real local difference.

If the next UK-Government, of whatever colour, had the political will to implement this double-devolution of economic-policy powers, and funding powers, straight to local Councils; then I am certain we would see a complete transformation of local democracy and local economies ... for the better.

It really is time to give town halls more control of their own destiny, and as discussed above I believe the blueprints to deliver that transformation are all in existence.

What are we waiting for?

Councillor Andrew Burns

Chair of the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network
Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This is Edinburgh

It's the first anniversary of the "This is Edinburgh" campaign, whose aim was to increase footfall and spending within the Capital City ...

... you can read a lot more about it all here.

And here's a short 'behind-the-scenes' video, which explains how it all began  ;-)
Get Involved
This is Edinburgh is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. To find out how your business can benefit from this new marketing initiative, download the This is Edinburgh Toolkit and get involved today.


- See more at:
is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:
is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:

is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:
is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:
is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:

is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:
Get Involved
This is Edinburgh is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. To find out how your business can benefit from this new marketing initiative, download the This is Edinburgh Toolkit and get involved today.


- See more at:
is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. - See more at:

Get Involved
This is Edinburgh is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. To find out how your business can benefit from this new marketing initiative, download the This is Edinburgh Toolkit and get involved today.


- See more at:
Get Involved
This is Edinburgh is an exciting new campaign aimed at increasing footfall and spending within the capital. To find out how your business can benefit from this new marketing initiative, download the This is Edinburgh Toolkit and get involved today.


- See more at:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee

February's "Corporate Policy and Strategy" Committee is on Tuesday 24th ...

... and all the papers/reports are now in the public domain: the main Agenda can be found here ---

--- the individual reports are all on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL) linked from here.

Couple of environment/energy-related reports that may well attract some attention and debate this month:

Just click on either of the above links for access (as a PDF) to the specific report ...

... and, of course, all the Policy and Strategy Committee meetings are now being webcast live - and thereafter archived!

All available via here --- it's TV; but like you've never seen before :-))

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Allotment in the sunshine ...

First visit to our Allotment, down at Saughton, for quite a few weeks ... and all looking relatively tidy, after a few hours work.

Felt like a lovely, spring afternoon in Edinburgh - and everything has the sense of being about to burst into growing-action!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Edinburgh voted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world

Great that readers of popular travel guidebooks, Rough Guides, have recognised Edinburgh for its striking architecture and landscape ...

... you can see Edinburgh's ranking via here; and the Council has a short News-blog up about the ranking here; and I'll re-produce the text below:


Edinburgh voted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world

Edinburgh's Council Leader has welcomed news that the capital has been voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Readers of popular travel guidebooks Rough Guides recognised Edinburgh for its striking architecture and landscape.

Councillor Andrew Burns, Council Leader, said: “It’s fantastic to see Edinburgh’s beauty recognised, and by the public too, adding to a long list of travel accolades over recent years. The capital’s charm is all part of its appeal, making it one of the best places to visit, work, live and study in the world. From the striking architecture of the Old and New Town to the city’s awe-inspiring castle, Edinburgh, quite rightly a Unesco World Heritage site, is amongst the world’s most spectacular cities.”

Rough Guides said: "It's famed for its excellent annual festival, but there is more to Edinburgh than great comedy and arts – and according to our readers, it’s beauty. Head east of the city and make the short walk up Arthur’s Seat, an 823ft-high dormant volcano, to take in views of Scotland’s capital and you won’t need to question why it’s been voted the 4th most beautiful city in the world."


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Council continues to protect frontline services

Council Budget for 2015/16 now passed - all the Meeting-Reports are still available via this link; and the agreed Capital Coalition Motion via this link.

I'll re-produce immediately below, the relevant News Release:


Council continues to protect frontline services

Protecting investment in frontline services in Edinburgh for young, old and vulnerable residents was a priority at the Council budget meeting today.
Major investment in roads and pavements, investing in school infrastructure and working towards the redevelopment of Meadowbank Sports Centre and Stadiumwere other key priority areas.

Cllr Alasdair Rankin, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: "Given the financial challenges all local authorities are facing over the next few years, we want to invest in the areas that are essential to Edinburgh and so it is important that the public continue to tell us what is important to them.

“This year we published the draft budget in October and 3,525 people gave us their views – five times the number of responses compared to last year. We also used a new online planner to give respondents the opportunity to express what they feel the Council’s priorities should be. The planner allowed us to show where we will incur costs in 2017/18, to demonstrate the impacts of increasing or decreasing spending in all of our services. This was extremely popular and 1,719 of those people took Edinburgh’s Budget Challenge.

Cllr Bill Cook, Vice-Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: "We used the feedback received during the consultation process to help us make many key decisions such as maintaining funding for homelessness services, not increasing allotment charges and putting an extra £5m towards improving roads and pavements.”

The eight successive year’s Council Tax freeze maintains Edinburgh's band D rate as the lowest of Scotland's four major cities.

The council tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2015/16 will be:
A: £779.33
B: £909.22
C: £1,039.11
D: £1,169.00
E: £1,428.78
F: £1,688.56
G: £1,948.33
H: £2,338.00

Total budget
The total revenue budget is £949m for 2015/16. Council Tax funds 25% of this with 75%coming from Government grants and business rates. The total capital budget (including the HRA) is £245m.

Key budget provisions

Ensuring every child in Edinburgh has the best start in life
- Allocated an additional £5m of capital to support rising school rolls
- More than £4m invested in Early Years Change Fund for services for the very youngest children

Ensuring Edinburgh, and its residents, are well cared-for
- Maintaining funding for commissioned homelessness services

Providing for Edinburgh's economic growth and prosperity
- Maintaining £1m to continue supporting the Edinburgh Guarantee, helping improve job opportunities for young people
- Support the Strategic Investment Fund with an additional £4.5m

Strengthening and supporting our communities and keeping them safe
- Continuing to invest in community policing
- Allocating an additional£100,000 to each neighbourhood to allow local people to have an even greater say in how their area can be improved

Investing in roads, pavements and cycling infrastructure
- An additional £5m investment in roads and pavements taking the total to £20m
- Commit 8% of the transport revenue and capital budgets for creation and maintenance of cycle infrastructure

Becoming more efficient
- Delivery of procurement transformational efficiencies
- Implementing the Better Outcomes Leaner Delivery (BOLD) programme
- Reducing the head count of the organisation by developing existing staff, revising roles and responsibilities and implementing structural change in the organisation through the ’Organise to deliver’ programme
- Maximising income
- Maximising savings through the rationalisation of the Council’s property estate
- Reducing carbon footprint and generating income through strategic energy projects



Friday, February 06, 2015

2015/16 Budget proposals

As indicated yesterday, we're publishing this morning - a week prior to actual Budget Day - the full and final draft of our revised budget proposals for 2015/16.

You can read about the record-levels of public feedback, which we received to the consultation on our draft proposals, in this earlier blog-post and the links therein.

The actual Reports for the Budget debate are now all available here, along with the Coalition Motion including all the background figures - here!

And I'll now simply replicate the 'main text' of our final draft motion for 2015/16 below.

I think the motion speaks for itself ... and it will now be debated at the Budget Day Council Meeting, 10am on Thursday 12th February, to be webcast here.



Report Title: - Revenue Budget 2015/16, Capital Investment Framework 2015/20, Housing Revenue Account 2015/16 and Financial Strategy 2015/18


There is little doubt that these are extremely challenging times for Councils and their partners with growing service demand and reducing resources.  Due to changes in grant distribution to Councils, Edinburgh’s grant allocation in 2015/16 is £13 million lower than in the current year, despite additional demography funding of £10m included within the budget.  It is clear that we, as a Council, need to focus on what the people of Edinburgh want us to deliver and with this in mind have embarked on the widest consultation on financial matters that has ever been undertaken.  We asked and people responded in their thousands:

        1,719 responses to the online planner; 
        129 submitted budget leaflets;
        782 telephone calls, emails and letters;
        457 social media comments;
        31 group activities with stakeholders and staff;
        Plus an additional 289 signatories to submitted petitions;
        30 articles in print and broadcast media.

And we listened…..

As a direct result of this year’s consultation we have now agreed to amend our budget proposals by:

·           Maintaining funding for commissioned homelessness services;
·           Continuing to collect winter garden waste;
·           Working with Edinburgh Leisure to ensure sports facilities remain open;
·           Limiting the rent increase for 2015/16 to inflation – the lowest rent increase for over a decade;
·           Reviewing Licence costs to ensure that local communities are not deterred from holding events;
·           Not increasing allotment charges in line with the proposals which were put out to consultation, however there will be talks with allotment holders and FEDEGA over the coming months to discuss ways of increasing income and reducing costs across the Council’s estate.  The Council will begin these negotiations from 31 March 2015;
·           Agreeing to implement savings of £300,000 for 2015/16 as part of a review of the closure of public toilets.  There will be ongoing discussions with Lothian Buses and potential partners around the development of a community toilet scheme whereby sports facilities and businesses will open their toilets up to members of the public;
·           Reviewing taxicards.  In an effort to improve equalities and mobility for people who rely on this service we will review the operation of the taxicard service.  The proposal is to implement a charge of £20 over 3 years to cover administration charges.   The benefits of this revised scheme will be to offer unrestricted travel with a 20-25% discount on fares to cardholders;
·           Developing an energy services company (ESCO) in order to mitigate the impacts of fuel poverty, improve efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions.  We will therefore, seek to secure £150,000 of Government/Scottish Enterprise funding, matched by £150,000 from the Council, to support the project in 2015/16;
·           Using the additional dividend of £2m from Lothian Buses to increase investment in roads and pavement repairs and to devolve more of this function to a local neighbourhood level;
·           Reducing the savings required from Children and Families Third Party Grants by £614,000 to ensure continued support for vulnerable children;
·           Ensuring that the proposed reductions in community learning development service budget will not result in the closure of any community centre.  However, community centre management committees are encouraged to explore new ways of working and to share resources to help maintain the present level of services provided by individual centres.

In spite of the financial pressures the Coalition has continued, as highlighted in our Contract with the Capital in 2012, its work to promote Edinburgh as a vibrant international city whilst protecting spending on key front line services, particularly those needed by Edinburgh’s younger, older and more vulnerable residents.  We will, as a Coalition, continue to work with communities and neighbourhoods by providing funding to empower them to prioritise works.  By allocating an additional £100,000 to each neighbourhood local people will have an even greater say in how their area can be improved.

Performance across the Council is improving, however it is getting harder to provide services with the budgets we have.  This is one of the reasons why we need transformational change.  Over the next three years we will review every service the Council provides to ensure that it is what people need.  Stresses are however, beginning to show.  Even now Health and Social Care are currently reviewing their position as they face a £4.7m budget overspend in 2014/15, while all other areas of the Council endeavour to provide fit for purpose infrastructure and respond to continuously increasing demands for services.  The Coalition is clear that Directors have a responsibility to remain within budget and with this in mind, will reinforce robust monitoring systems through the Finance and Resources Committee which will provide an early warning system for identifying any budget pressures and the opportunity to recommend subsequent actions.

For the Council, staff is its greatest resource and we will continue to work with all employees and their representatives to support them through this period of transformation and change.  We are committed to paying our employees the Living Wage with an increase to £7.85 per hour payable from 1 April 2015.  In developing this further we will undertake a pilot project in 2015, amending our procurement processes to firmly encourage companies, contracted to deliver services on our behalf, to pay their workforce a minimum of the living wage.

Despite the difficult financial background awards have been won.  Employees have been recognised for their commitment and hard work and initiatives such as the Edinburgh Guarantee continue to support the city’s hunger for skilled staff by supporting young people into work and of course, Edinburgh continues to hold its own as one of the must visit destinations on the planet.

With incremental savings required of £22 million in 2015/16, £30 million in 2016/17 and £15 million in 2017/18 we need to radically review the way in which the Council operates.  In order to do this we will reshape the Council, as set out in the ‘Organise to Deliver’ report approved by Council on 11 December 2014, to offer greater flexibility to our citizens and visitors.  We will make getting in touch with the Council easier, providing services where they are needed and working with colleagues in the third sector to ensure the best possible outcomes within a framework of best value.

As part of the change programme the following 4 projects will be delivered from April 2015:

1.         Business and Customer Services;
2.         Localities;
3.         Channel Shift/Digital and
4.         Payments to Third Sector.

Number 5 (Workforce) will be reported to Finance and Resources Committee in March 2015 and 6 (Property) shortly thereafter.  Progress will be reported, by the Director of Corporate Governance, through the Finance and Resources Committee on a monthly basis from March 2015, with updates to Policy and Strategy Committee every three months.

Whilst initial savings will accrue from 2015/16, significant returns will be seen from 2016/17 onward.  Indicatively the level of savings attributable to each workstream by 2016/17 is as follows:

·                Business and Customer Services
£5 million
·                Localities
£10 million
·                Channel shift/Digital
£1 million
·                Third Sector
£7 million
·                Workforce
March 2015
·                Property
To be finalised

There is considerable pressure on the Council to deliver the financial savings set out in each of the workstreams whilst continuing to provide high quality front-line services.

Capital budget

The Capital Coalition values the development of the city’s infrastructure and to meet that pledge has instructed capital works to the value of over £400 million (2015-2020) to be initiated to improve the lives of its citizens.  In 2015, the focus of these additional resources will be a
£13.3 million investment on school infrastructure, property, roads and pavements and the continuing work into the redevelopment of Meadowbank sports centre.

Capital Position:

  • Better Outcomes Leaner  Delivery (BOLD)  Channel Shift Infrastructure

  • Local Development Plan investment

  • Rising school rolls

  • Carriageway and footways

  • Property

At the same time, the capital programme monitoring process has been improved and now 98% of all projects are delivered on time and on budget.

The following projects have been approved for the period 2015/20:

·               New High Schools at Portobello, Boroughmuir and James Gillespie’s;
·               New St John’s Primary School and St Crispin’s Special School;
·               An extension to the gym hall at Liberton High School;
·               New gym halls at Blackhall, Cramond and East Craigs Primary Schools;
·               Water of Leith Flood Prevention Phase 2;
·               Creation of a heritage centre in Leith by purchasing Custom House through the Common Good Fund;
·               Roads and pavements improvements;
·               Development of Central Library;
·               6th New Care Home;
·               Autism Day and Respite Centre;
·               Millerhill Zero Waste Plant;
·               National Housing Trust Phase 3 to deliver 400 new affordable homes;
·               Investment of over £40m in the Children and Families estate over the next 5 years including an additional £5m for rising school rolls;
·               Feasibility work into redevelopment of Meadowbank sports centre and
·               Feasibility study into the extension of the tram line to Leith and Newhaven.  

We also have a commitment to:
  • A new high school at South Queensferry and
  • A new high school in Craigmillar as a catalyst for regeneration of the area.

The Council, working with the Scottish Government, has secured approval for a £850m investment in the St James Quarter which will lead to the redevelopment of that area of the city creating a new commercial centre with additional retail, hotels, office and residential space.


The saving for 2015/16 is £23.1 million and the focus for delivery will be through:

·           Continuous delivery of procurement savings

·           Transformational change

·           Reduction in carbon emissions and reducing fuel poverty through the Council ESCO
42% by 2020

·           Support to third sector

·           Maximising income

·           Workforce management

·           Property rationalisation and disposal strategy

·           Efficiency measures

·           Other measures

£23.1 million

Risks and Challenges

The Council continues to face significant risks and challenges which are clearly defined in the Council’s Budget 2015/16 – Risks and Reserves Report No 4.2c and include:

·            Health and Social Care Integration;
·            Rising school rolls;
·            An ageing population with more complex needs;
·            Barriers to generating income;
·            An ageing infrastructure including school buildings, care homes and sports facilities;
·            Uncertainty over future financial settlements;
·            Achievement of Transformation Programme and estimated budget savings;
·            Pay and price inflation and
·            Austerity measures imposed from Westminster government.

Future budget development

Council further agrees to:

·               Deliver savings of £67 million over the next three years by realigning the organisation and working with partner agencies to deliver the highest quality integrated services;
·               Restructure the organisation, within the framework of the Coalition’s pledges and the Organise to Deliver report agreed by Council, to ensure greater efficiency, agility and effectiveness across all services;
·               Work with Council companies to maximise returns received;
·               Review the Council’s property portfolio to release maximum benefit and bring forward a capital receipt on the sale of Atria in 2015/16;
·               Support the Strategic Investment Fund with £4.5 million;
·               Continue to support the redevelopment of Meadowbank sports centre by undertaking feasibility work and seeking to secure a funding package making best use of public and private sector support;
·               Reinforce the workstreams, agreed by the Finance and Resources Committee in November 2014, as the spine for  transformational change in 2015 and beyond;
·               Work with the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian to deliver better patient outcomes and more efficient services through the integration of Health and Social Care;
·               Reduce carbon emissions by the Scottish Government target of 42% by 2020;
·               Continuously review the implementation of the new Shared Repairs Service to ensure quality standards and financial prudence allowing citizens to assume responsibility for their own property but offering support when necessary;
·               Develop further our work with partner organisations to achieve a more cohesive approach to budgeting and to develop the role of the Checkpoint group to support this process;

·               Continue to work to reach out to those who find interaction with the Council difficult and to develop a model, involving partners, the third sector and the Scottish Government, for a more participatory budgeting approach in future years;
·               Work with the Scottish Government on effective empowerment of communities in the delivery of Council and partner services;   
·               Support community policing through the Service Level Agreement with Police Scotland at current levels but in negotiation with the organisation, seek to reduce our financial commitment from 2016/17 onwards;
·               Working with the Green Investment Bank and others to provide revenue neutral funding in cash terms for projects including the replacement of street lighting following the successful contract with SALIX completed this financial year;
·               Commit capital funding of £3m plus £2m of additional Lothian Buses dividend to improve the city’s roads and pavements infrastructure;
·               Allocate an additional £5m of capital to support rising school rolls;
·               Reinstate Christmas trees and lights for local communities;
·               Maximise savings across the council from the introduction of a robust management controlled purchase order system and where possible use this funding to offset transformational costs;
·               Work with Health and Social Care to ensure that the challenges which the department faces from demography and increasing needs are managed within the level of allocated resources identified in the framework of the 2015/16 revenue budget;
·               Allocate £2.9m from the ICT efficiency fund to meet BOLD implementation costs and
·               Commit £2m from Spend to Save Fund to meet upfront capital costs relating to the Channel Shift business case.


Council notes:

·               The report by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the Revenue and Capital Budget Framework 2015/18;
·               The report by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the potential equality and rights and carbon risks associated with the Revenue Budget Framework and the mitigating actions to be progressed.  Where significant mitigation measures are required, or further work needs to be undertaken to meet equalities and rights requirements, the results should be reported back to the appropriate Committee;
·               The appendix to the report by the Director of Corporate Governance detailing the consultation undertaken on the 2015/16 revenue budget and the continuing commitment to further increase engagement and communication in setting future budgets;
·               The review of the role of third sector funding and the mechanism agreed to continue to improve work in that area;
·               The work undertaken to restructure the organisation as laid out in the report to the Council detailing the Organise to Deliver programme and its implementation and
·               The delivery of the six strategic workstreams by the Director of Corporate Governance, highlighted in the report to the Finance and Resources Committee in November 2014, will result in a more efficient and effective organisation allowing both the continuing delivery of services where they are most needed and the fulfilment of the Capital Coalition’s pledges made to the people of Edinburgh in 2012.

Council therefore approves:

  • The Revenue Budget 2015/16 set out in the reports, subject to the adjustments in Annex 1 to this motion;
  • A band ‘D’ Council Tax of £1,169 for 2015/16;
  • The Council Tax and Rating resolution set out in annex 2 to this motion;
  • The 2015/20 Capital Investment Programme as set out in the report by the Director of Corporate Governance subject to the additions set out in Annex 3 to this motion;
  • The Charging Policy and schedule of charges for Council services as set out in Annex 4 to this motion;
  • The prudential indicators as set out in Annex 5 to this motion and
  • The recommendation by the Acting Director of Services for Communities for a rent increase of 2% in 2015/16 and the outline 5 year Housing Revenue Account Capital programme for 2015/20.

Moved by
[Councillor] Alasdair Rankin
Seconded by
 [Councillor]Bill Cook