Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

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

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No. Item


Minute. pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Minute of Meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee held on 10 December 2020 to be approved and signed by the Chairman. (Copy attached.)


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the Meeting held on 10 December 2020.



APPROVED for signature by the Chairman.



Councillor Harry Scott declared an interest in the following item of business and left the meeting during the discussion.




Petitions pdf icon PDF 516 KB

Additional documents:


2.1       Petitions Procedure

            There had been circulated copies of an extract from the Audit and Scrutiny Committee Petitions procedure and the Chairman asked for this to be noted.  The Chairman welcomed to the meeting lead petitioner Dr Stuart Gordon.


2.2       Petition – Save Scott Park - Galashiels

            There had been circulated copies of a petition entitled “Save Scott Park – Galashiels”, which had received the required 10 signatories.  There had also been circulated a petition with over 700 signatures, although not all those signing were from the Scottish Borders.  There had also been circulated copies of a briefing note by the Service Director Assets and Infrastructure in response to the petition. The reason for the petition, as stated within the submission circulated, was that from a presentation given by Scottish Borders Council to local residents, it was clear that the Council was currently developing its preferred option for the new Galashiels Academy and, if given planning consent, the proposal would place the new campus within Scott Park.  The Clerk confirmed that this was a valid petition for consideration by the Committee.


2.3     The Chairman invited the petitioner to present the petition.  Dr Gordon introduced himself and gave a summary of his background.  He explained that he was a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years’ experience. He was now a consultant and been involved in a series of high profile projects which included work for the Scottish Government.  Dr Gordon referred back to the petition statement, which maintained that the design team had selected a preferred site for the new development before any public consultation had taken place.  Although the petitioners agreed that the construction of a new school and associated sporting and community facilities would be of great benefit to Galashiels, the group strongly opposed locating the campus within the park.  It was stated that Scott Park was one of the few remaining open spaces in the town which provided a safe and natural environment that was used widely by families and for a range of social events and sporting activities.  The petitioners insisted that the Council should develop an alternative option to their proposed plan that would make use of the existing 7 hectare site to accommodate the new campus building and pitches.  Council policies included reference to Key Greenspace and Scott Park was identified as such.  The policy offered protection to these spaces and the petitioners asked that the Council respect this policy and endeavour to deliver a new campus within the existing school grounds that would sit alongside and in harmony with the park.  The statement concluded by emphasising that the petition was being presented to save one of the best open spaces in Galashiels.


2.4       Dr Gordon had noted that ground investigation works had been undertaken in Scott Park in October of last year and he and his group had made efforts, in October and November 2020, to raise objections to development within the park with the Service Director Assets & Infrastructure.  A petition had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Child Poverty pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Consider report by Service Director Customer & Communities on actions the Council is taking to tackle Child Poverty. (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:


3.1       There had been circulated copies of a joint report by the Service Director, Customer & Communities and Service Director, Young People Engagement & Inclusion providing an overview of the evaluation of the actions that Scottish Borders Council and Partners were taking to tackle Child Poverty in the Scottish Borders.  The report was presented by Ms Jenni Craig, Service Director, Customer & Communities and summarised in a slide presentation.  Also in attendance was Ms Janice Robertson, Strategic Planning & Policy Manager.  Ms Craig explained that The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 required Local Authorities and Health Boards to jointly prepare a Local Child Poverty Action Plan, Report and an Annual Progress report.  A Report, Action Plan and Annual Progress Report for both 2018/19 and 2019/20 had been agreed by the Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board, submitted to Scottish Government and published on the Council’s website.  A current Report and Action Plan for 2020/21 had also been agreed and published with an Annual Progress Report to follow in April 2021.  The Child Poverty Planning Group (CPPG) managed the implementation of the Plans and was accountable to the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership (CPP). Membership of the CPPG, a strategic group of senior multi-agency partners, was shown in Appendix 1 to the report. The remit of the CPPG was to plan, undertake and monitor actions and to report to CPP and Scottish Government. Plans were prepared within themes and outlined the activity taking place, which partners were involved, which poverty driver the action sought to improve, intended beneficiaries/target groups and how the impact would be assessed.


3.2       Ms Craig went on to provide the highlights from the reports and referred to the Child Poverty Action Plan attached as Appendix 2 to the report. The 2018/19 report, the first produced under the Act, detailed activities including modern apprentice opportunities; targeted support and intervention to close the poverty related attainment gap; active promotion of free school meals, clothing grants and educational maintenance allowances;  Early Years Pathway Project; and Housing Plans to assist homeless. Highlights of the 2019/20 report included apprenticeships and training opportunities in partnership; Inspire Learning programme – access to own Ipad for all students from P4; and continuing successful Early Years Project.  The current report, due by June 2021, contained planned actions on a Money Worries App to signpost to services; Connecting Scotland bids to enable the more vulnerable to get online; continued work on the poverty related attainment gap; families in crisis access to emergency funds; and affordable housing developments.  A recommendation that was highlighted for local action, in a Poverty and Inequality Commission review of the 2018/19 Action Reports, was ‘to review how data and evidence is used to measure progress and ensure effective evaluation and monitoring methods were in place’.  The approach to this recommendation was outlined in the report. Action Plans were organised into themes and indications given of which partners were involved in each action and which poverty driver the action was designed to address. The Action Plan also set out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.



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