Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Jenny Wilkinson, Clerk to the Council  Tel: 01835 825004 Email:

No. Item




Apologies had been received from Councillor S. Aitchison (SBC), Ms Karen Hamilton (NHS Borders), Mr Tony Jakimciw (Borders College), Superintendent Angus McInnes (Police Scotland), and Ms Elaine Morrison (Scottish Enterprise).


Minute pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Consider Minute of previous meeting of the Community Planning Strategic Board held on 13 June 2019.  (Attached)


Copies of the Minute of Meeting of 13 June 2019 had been circulated.


AGREED to approve the Minute.



Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 63 KB



It was noted that all outstanding items on the Action Tracker were on the agenda for the meeting.



Men's Shed

Presentation by the Men’s shed Development Officer on the work of Men’s Sheds across the Scottish Borders.


4.1       Ross Hall, Scottish Borders Men’s Shed Development Officer, along with Johnny Johnston and Wilson George from Eyemouth and Hawick Men’s Sheds respectively, joined the meeting.  Mr Hall gave a presentation on the Men’s Sheds in the Scottish Borders, each of which were different but all fulfilled their aim to reduce social isolation – particularly for men – with every shed having hugely talented skilled tradesmen.   Sheds were run by the ‘shedders’ themselves, and there was a wide range of local organisations able to provide further information, advice and guidance about getting involved.  General information could also be obtained from the Scottish Men’s Shed Association or from Ross Hall  There were over 500 ‘shedders’ in the Borders with the numbers growing each week, and there were currently sheds in Coldstream, Duns, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Lauder, Peebles and Selkirk.     


4.2       Johnny Johnston then spoke of his involvement with the development of the Eyemouth Men’s Shed which had initially started in the old British Legion before moving to the premises of the Eyemouth and District Disabled Association (TEDDA) and were currently looking for their own premises which could then be shared with other clubs.  The main thrust was men from all walks of life – farmers, joiners, fishermen, engineers - sitting round a table sharing their experiences; with links also being made with the Head Teacher to get young people to come and join in the discussions.  Not all the shedders were from Eyemouth but came from a 15-mile radius.   It was possible to see the difference made to those men suffering from depression or who had disabilities, which had a wider impact on immediate family members as well, just by having a conversation and sharing.  Wilson George then gave details of Hawick Men’s Shed and its work with social service referrals as well as the long term unemployed, providing support to the community. 


4.3       The Chairman commented on the scale of the Men’s Shed movement in the Borders and its success, in particular on the emotional side as well as the practical side.  It was difficult to quantify the success of the sheds, as it was not simply about numbers but also about the difference made to the wider family e.g. if someone with dementia is attending a shed, the family knows the person is in a safe environment.  Some attendees did require support or the presence of a carer.  The only thing that was frustrating was the ability to tackle loneliness, with some people in their house alone with no contact with others and to try to get them involved.  Men’s Sheds did reduce social isolation and brought people together who would not normally speak to each other.  There was a no-alcohol policy so this was somewhere for adults to go in a safe environment and talk to people and leave feeling happier.  It encompassed all walks of life and occupations and was all about sitting down with a cup of tea and conversations going  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Community Plan Annual Performance Report pdf icon PDF 480 KB

Consider example format and detail for Quality of Life. (attached)


With reference to paragraph 9 of the Minute of 13 June 2019, copies of the proposed format for the Annual Performance Report were circulated, which was a mock up combining historic and live data from the Quality of Life theme.  If this style was agreed, it would be used to monitor the progress of the actions in the Community Plan.   Jenni Craig, SBC Service Director Customer & Communities, advised that the theme leads were working with the SBC Community & Partnerships team to identify a number of key measures and targets, pulling together the actions for each theme within the Community Plan, with the aim of bringing this back to the next meeting of the Strategic Board in November 2019.  With regard to the mock-up of Quality of Life data, feedback was requested on the format and style, which used infographics and greater detail within an appendix.  The Annual Performance Report was aimed at the public, showing how the partners were performing against the actions in the Community Plan.  A return would be made to the Scottish Government on an annual basis.  Members commented:

·         A need to be careful with the use of percentages without accompanying context e.g. knife crime increases by 50% when it goes from 2 to 3 incidents, so where numbers were low it could be better to stick to numbers rather than percentages.

·         Consideration would be given to the inclusion of a RAG status and/or trends, although timescales may vary on each action e.g. quarterly, annually.

·         The format was heading in the right direction, with enough detail to get a reasonably informed view of a snapshot in time.

·         All measures and targets should be locked down by the next meeting.

·         Consideration would be given to superimposing the Scottish rate on graphs to give a national context.

·         Consideration would be given to include the details beside or underneath graphs rather than later in the document.

All these points would be taken into account for the final document.


AGREED to use the format circulated at the meeting for the Annual Performance Report, subject to the above points.



Child Poverty Action Plan pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Governance update attached.


With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 13 June 2019, copies of a briefing paper by Allyson McCollam, Associate Director of Public Health, had been circulated.  The Strategic Board had previously agreed that a multi-agency Working Group should be established to oversee the further development and implementation of the Child Poverty Action Plan, with membership drawn from across the Community Planning Partnership from those that had a remit for the relevant strategic areas.  The Working Group would report to the Children and Young People’s Leadership Group (CYPLG) six monthly and provide an annual update to the CPP Strategic Board in advance of submitting the required annual report to the Scottish Government, with the next one due in June 2020.  Terms of reference for the Working Group would be developed for approval by the CYPLG, and the Working Group would focus initially on reviewing the first Action Plan to identify key strategic priorities and potential areas for collaborative action.  National scrutiny of local action plans would be provided through the Poverty and Inequalities Commission which would be reviewing a sample of local action plans, with feedback expected later in 2019.  Engagement with the Third Sector was also planned in advance of the first meeting of the Working Group on 24 September, in order to raise awareness of the Action Plan.  There was a need to demonstrate that the priorities being developed were being done so in consultation with those affected.  It was also recognised that this was a long term plan.  With regard to the definition of child poverty, 4 different definitions had been used.




(a)     to note the progress since June 2019 towards establishing the Child Poverty Working Group;


(b)     to approve in principle the governance arrangements for the Child Poverty Action Plan; and


(c)     to receive an update on progress with quantification and prioritisation of actions within the Child Poverty Action Plan at the next meeting of the Strategic Board.


Economy, Skills and Learning Update


7.1       With reference to paragraph 7.1 of the Minute of 7 March 2019, an update on the work of the Economy, Skills and Learning Group was circulated at the meeting.  Angela Cox, Principal of Borders College gave highlights from the paper.  The South of Scotland Enterprise Agency was due to come in to operation on 1 April 2020, and it had recently been announced that Professor Russel Griggs, who had been chairing the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP), would be the first Chair of the Agency.  SBC Officers had been working on future governance arrangements between Scottish Government, the Agency, the 2 Councils and partners in the South of Scotland which was likely to involve the establishment of a South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership.  This Partnership would oversee the development and implementation of a joint South of Scotland Regional Economic Development Strategy, which would link to the Scottish Borders Economic Action Plan.  A South of Scotland Convention would also be established to provide an opportunity for direct political dialogue between the Councils and Scottish Government Ministers’ and its agencies. 


7.2       With regard to work by SOSEP, the South of Scotland Regional Skills Investment Plan had been launched on 20 June 2019, and this had been followed by a workshop at Borders College.  Skills Development Scotland was working with various partners to ensure the various actions in the Plan were implemented.  SOSEP had also undertaken 28 consultation events across the South of Scotland which included dedicated business and thematic sessions.  One key priority action identified from these events was the need for an integrated approach to transportation and work was taking place to consider how this may be taken forward.  Work, led by the Council, on Brexit preparations was ongoing, with efforts to engage businesses focussed on the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal at the end of October 2019. 


7.3       The Heads of Terms Agreement for the Borderlands Inclusive Deal had been signed by the 5 Borderlands Councils and the Scottish and UK Governments on 1 July 2019.  The two governments were contributing £350m to the Deal.  A Borderlands Inclusive Deal conference was being planned for 7 October 2019 in Northumberland to provide information to partners about the Deal.  The full Deal was expected to be signed in 2020.  Work had also continued to progress the Central Borders Innovation Park project at Tweedbank as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.  SBC had led on the Workforce Mobility Project as part of the Integrated Regional Employability and Skills Programme, with the full business case for this project approved by SOSEP in June 2019.


Note:  Councillor Mountford left the meeting.



Health and Wellbeing Update pdf icon PDF 151 KB


8.1       With reference to paragraph 7.2 of the Minute of 7 March 2019, copies of an update report on Out Health, Care and Wellbeing had been circulated.  Tim Patterson, Director of Public Health, gave highlights of the work undertaken since the last update, focussing on the diabetes prevention partnership and weight management; physical activity and the work undertaken with Live Borders; the healthy workplace programme; diversity week; and drugs deaths.  Copies of the Scottish Borders Diversity Week programme for 23 to 29 September 2019 were circulated at the meeting along with details of the NHS Borders Wellbeing Service which offered support to people who wished to improve their lives in any of the following areas:  mental health and wellbeing; being more active; eating more healthily; and quitting smoking.  With regard to priorities for work going forward, this may need to be the subject of debate at the next Strategic Board meeting to identify the areas where the Board had more influence and which areas to monitor. 


8.2       Mrs Hume, Third Sector representative, commented on the University of the Third Age (U3A), set up across the Borders, which took account of physical and mental wellbeing.  There followed a discussion on the most appropriate data to include which would link actions and activities back to the outcomes.  Jenni Craig confirmed that this work was underway with all the theme leads and at the next meeting of the Strategic Board this should be available.  Some of the problems stemmed from the availability of up to date data e.g. Scottish health survey was carried out every 3 years. Members commented on the need for simpler data; home consumption of alcohol and the reduction in licensed premises.   



Quality of Life Update pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Highlight report attached.


With reference to paragraph 7.3 of the Minute of 7 March 2019, copies of the update report on Our Quality of Life had been circulated.  Stuart Easingwood, SBC Chief Social Work and Public Protection Officer & Interim Service Director Children & Young People, gave highlights of the work over the previous months.  Anti-social behaviour monitoring had increased and the number of early interventions had decreased; although there tended to be a seasonal trend, this slight worsening would continue to be monitored; more mediation in communities rather than escalation was the preferred route.  In response to a question, Inspector Jacqi McGuigan, Police Scotland, confirmed that Group 1 offences related to non-sexual violent crime e.g. murder, extortion offences, etc. 


Place Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

(a)     Highlight report (attached).


(b)     Presentation on Green Homes Initiative.


10.1     With reference to paragraph 7.4 of the Minute of 7 March 2019, copies of an update on Our Place had been circulated.  The Affordable Warmth & Home Energy Efficiency Strategy had now been approved following extensive partnership working and consultation.  The Scottish Borders Home Energy Forum was now focussed on delivery and also responding to emerging national fuel poverty strategy and legislation.  Collaborative working was underway between SBC, RSLs, Changeworks and The Energy Savings Trust on a number of projects and funding bids.  Pre-manufacture (including modular) housing group was progressing with affordable housing schemes using modern methods of construction which were proposed across the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway.  Work was underway with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre to utilise their support and advice.  Extra care projects were progressing in Gala and Duns.  The Rapid Re-Housing Final Plan 20189-24 had been approved by SBC in March 2019 for final submission to Scottish Government – this had been developed in partnership with the Borders Housing Alliance and H&SCI Strategic Planning Group, with implementation from April 2019.  Feedback had been received from Scottish Government on the Plan and follow up action was being planned.  Some challenges and delay with securing planning consent was impacting on housing supply, but the delivery of the expanded programme was progressing well with future projects and priorities being identified.  It was hoped to use the output from the current Wheelchair Accessible Homes Study to inform future investments.  Discussions were ongoing with Aberlour and SBHA on potential future provision for a Borders based project for children with learning disabilities, and between Eildon Housing and Cornerstone with respect to a new LD service. 


10.2     Nile Istephan, Eildon Housing Chief Executive, gave a presentation on the Green Homes initiative, which related to key activities in the Action Plan.  Fuel poverty and sustainability issues came together in housing stock.  New homes, when built, would have as high standards as possible e.g. zero carbon efficient, but most houses already existed so required a different approach.  The RSLs were currently building more new homes in the Borders than any other provider, with 750 in the pipeline along with extra care housing.  In some cases, RSLs purchased homes from private developers.  The house building programme could also trigger economic benefits through use of a local workforce and supply chain.  Eildon Housing’s green programme comprised 4 different schemes, with completions expected by March 2021:  Passivhous (10 homes); Energiesprong with battery technology (13 homes); Off-site volumetric 12 homes) (12 homes); and traditional time frame and air source heat pumps as the control scheme.  The programme had end to end performance monitoring from the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit built in, with analysis carried out from concept and build, to lived-in.  These new type of heating systems required tenants to use them differently as they usually had a constant level of heat, rather than turning systems on/off when in/out.  Tenants for these houses would be identified according to housing needs but they would be advised that due  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Any Other Business


Marjorie Hume, Third Sector, made a plea for all papers for future meetings to be submitted by the due deadline so they could be issued in advance of meetings to ensure there was sufficient time for members to read them.  Mrs Hume also referred to the Lord-Lieutenants’ Volunteering Event which was due to take place at Springwood Hall, Kelso on 25 September 2019 and was advertised on various websites.



Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Strategic Board is scheduled for Thursday 21 November 2019 at 2.00pm.


The date of the next meeting of the Strategic Board was confirmed as Thursday 21 November 2019 at 2.00 p.m.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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