Governance Risk and Best Value
The September committee considered a report from its auditors, Scott Moncrieff, for the year 2018/19. This report is easily one of the most important documents considered by Councillors this year. The report makes clear that it takes into account the revised Settlement received by the Council from the Scottish Government for 2019/20.
The auditors reported that:-
- The cuts for the current year 2019/20 have to be revised up from £28m to £41m.
- The cuts to be made from 2019/20 to 2022/23 have to be revised up from £106m to £138m.
- It also warned that if the Settlement level remained at that received for 2019/20 then the figure of £138m to 2022/23 should be revised up even further to £150m. This is more than the 10% of the budget.
The report contained further bad news. It outlined that the Joint Integrated Board budget cuts for 2019/20 of £11.941m still had a gap to reach of £7.15m. On top of this it also had unfunded spending commitments of £7.15m. This is despite a range of funds totalling £19.7m from Council and the Scottish Government being needed in 2018/19 to enable the spend commitment to be met.
This chronic underfunding of Joint Integrated Boards is not unique to Edinburgh with Audit Scotland pointing out this has to be tackled all over Scotland.
Without full and fair funding for Edinburgh we will see more cuts to our communities. Without any change this means a real fight to ensure that those at the sharp end in our city are protected. This is why in Full Council I continue to press for the Leader and Deputy Leader to meet with the Finance Minister to make the case for full and fair funding. Deputising for the Council Leader, who was on adoption leave, the Deputy Leader, Councillor Cammy Day, said that he would send a letter requesting a meeting the following day. The letter has been written. We now wait for the Finance Minister’s reply.
Edinburgh Shoreline Project
This exciting initiative had a display panel for public viewing in reception at City Chambers.
It asks the city to look at the potential in its 29 mile long shoreline. With partners including the Royal Botanic Gardens this encourages us to reassess this neglected part of the city.
Leith Links – the Home of Golf
In a campaign that I have worked with since first being elected it was great to see the Leith Rules Golf Society achieve their aim of a statue on the Links where the first rules of Golf were written by Doctor John Rattray.
This has taken a lot of work by all involved and is a welcome addition to the attractions on the Links which have been enhanced with the upgrade in play and exercise equipment this Summer. There is still work to do though.
Leith Creative held a workshop in Leith Primary on 28th September asking the questions:-
- “What’s good?”
- “What’s bad?”
- “What needs to change?”
This will inform the discussion at the Community Conference being held at Norton Park Conference Centre on 26/27th October. The event is hosted in conjunction with Leith Trust. If you’re interested joining the discussion then follow the link below and register via Eventbrite.
It was good to get a tour of the ‘still-getting-built’ Duncan Place. This will be an exciting addition to Leith when it opens in January 2020 and is the result of hard work by a dedicated bunch of volunteers who fought to keep it open for the community.
Council officers have gone the extra mile to help make this happen and it was good to hear acknowledgment of that work from the volunteers on our tour. The refurbishment keeps alive the tradition of community learning on this campus which goes back to when Leith was a burgh in its own right.