Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Conference Room, Duns Primary School, Duns

Contact: Eileen Graham Tel: 01835 826585  Email:  egraham@scotborders.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Fullarton, welcomed everyone to the meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership and thanked the Community Councils, Partners and local organisations for their attendance, and outlined the programme for the evening.

 

2.

Feedback from Meeting on 6 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 342 KB

Copy Minute from meeting on 6 September 2018.  (Copy attached).

Minutes:

The Minute of the meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership held on 6 September 2018 had been circulated along with a summary of the discussion attached as an appendix to the Minute.  Councillor Fullarton gave some highlights from the feedback received at that meeting.

 

3.

Theme: Council Budget - Engagement with Communities 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Presentation by Chief Financial Officer followed by a facilitated discussion.

Minutes:

3.1       The Chairman welcomed David Robertson, SBC Chief Financial Officer, who gave a presentation on the Scottish Borders Council Budget for 2019/2024.   The 5 year plan 2013/14 to 2017/18 had delivered permanent recurrent savings of over £35m and further in year savings of £8.8m.  The existing planned savings in 2019/20 included contract efficiencies, energy efficiency measures, procurement savings and service reviews e.g. day services, waste and teacher allocations.  The easy reductions had already been made and future savings would rely on greater use of technology to reduce costs and redesign services.  The Council could not continue to deliver everything they did now in the same way and might need to reduce the scope and scale of service delivery.  2019/20 was the second year of the 5 year plan agreed in 2018/19 which required savings of £32m to balance the books.  The Council had planned for reductions over the longer term, invested in transformation, and avoided the need for the levels of cuts seen elsewhere but there was lots still to do with greater challenges ahead.  The Council had to remain financially sustainable and over the next 5 years it was estimated that £21m would need to be saved from the current forecasted spend of £1.3 billion.  Meeting this challenge was not about making cuts but about investments for the future delivery of services and required forward thinking, innovative and focus on delivering an ambitious change programme.  The Council also had a 10 year capital allocation of £294m. There were a number of challenges facing the Council.  There was less money to fund public services and income was not keeping pace with real increases in prices and meanwhile demands on services were growing – e.g. increasing numbers of older people - with the population over the age of 75 in the Borders at a higher percentage than in the rest of Scotland.  The infrastructure of the region required significant investment.  There were still significant pockets of deprivation across the region and hidden poverty in communities and the Council needed to increase opportunity and reduce inequality for all in the Borders.  Mr Robertson outlined where the Council’s funding came from and how it was allocated across Council services in terms of both capital and revenue.  In order to modernise, the Council needed to make significant savings in what the Council bought; invest in new digital technology to reduce costs; ensure that assets were used as efficiently as possible; ensure that the Council had a capable, motivated workforce that adopted new ways of working and that was flexible enough to deliver savings when and where they were required 7 days a week, 365 days a year; invest in prevention strategies; grow the economy of the Borders; and support all people to live well.  Over the next five years the Council planned to implement the following:-

·           Design and deliver as many Council services online as possible to maximise the use of digital technology and build the digital skills of Borders communities and staff;

·           Develop  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Localities Bid Fund Assessment Panel

Consider the following decision by Council:-

 

that membership of the assessment panel be proposed by each Area Partnership, up to a maximum of 2 members per locality, with a view to improving gender balance.  The membership of the assessment panel to be 10 plus the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods & Locality Services, with a quorum of 6”.

Minutes:

The Chairman referred to the following Council decision in respect of the assessment panel for bids to the Localities Bid Fund (LBF):-

that membership of the assessment panel be proposed for each Area Partnership, up to a maximum of two members per locality with a view to improving gender balance.  The membership of the assessment panel to be 10, plus the Executive member for Neighbourhoods & Locality Services, with a quorum of 6”.  As Councillor Fullarton had already been appointed to the Panel previously, Councillor Hamilton, seconded by Councillor Rowley, proposed that Councillor Laing be appointed to the Assessment Panel.  This was unanimously agreed. 

 

DECISION

AGREED to appoint Councillor Laing to the Localities Bid Fund – Assessment Panel.

 

5.

Localities Bid Fund - Update on Current Funding Round

Minutes:

Ms Smith, SBC Communities and Partnership Manager, gave an update on the Localities Bid Fund (LBF).  She advised that the second round of LBF had been launched on 1 July 2018 with a total of £296k available for eligible projects.  However, in October the LBF Assessment Panel had agreed that there were not enough sustainable bids to go forward to the public vote in all five areas.  It had been therefore proposed that the criteria would be revised, and with that approved at Council on 29 November, the Localities Bid Fund would be re-launched in January 2019, and the Assessment Panel would assess bids received against the criteria with the intention of public voting being carried out in April 2019.  The groups who had already submitted applications for the second round had been contacted and would be notified about the revised criteria and offered support to re-apply.  The Chairman explained that any monies would be carried forward to April 2019 and the pilot would be re-evaluated. 

6.

Centenary Fields Initiative pdf icon PDF 463 KB

Report by Service Director Assets & Infrastructure. (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Service Director Assets and Infrastructure which set out the aims of the Centenary Fields initiative to commemorate World War 1 and recommended the nomination as a Centenary Field of Duns Park.  The report explained that Centenary Fields (CF) was a partnership programme led by Fields in Trust and the Royal British Legion to commemorate World War 1 through protecting green spaces.  It had been launched by HRS The Earl of Strathearn in 2014 and would close in 2018.  CF aimed to protect at least one site (containing WW1 war memorial(s)) and was aimed at creating a long lasting legacy of WW1, protection, promoting green space for recreation, increasing physical activity, promoting social cohesion and improving the environment.  Upon a successful application to Fields in Trust for Centenary Fields status, sites were subject to a Minute of Agreement, similar to those which were in place on all King George V Playing Fields.  This would safeguard the sites for recreational used as protected green space.  The report advised that following a regional appraisal and in consultation with communities and Fields In Trust, three sites had been identified in the Scottish Borders as potentially appropriate – Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick; Lower Green at West Linton; and Duns Park.  Upon designation a commemorative plaque would be installed.  The site name would not change and there were no funds associated with CF status.  Designation as a Centenary Field would not only protect the historic and conservation value of these sites, but would also strengthen the case to attract external funding.  The management of these sites would be retained by the local authority.  Duns Park was situated in the south of the town and was home to two wartime commemorative structures - Duns War Memorial and Polish War Memorial - and was also home to a memorial bronze bust of Duns Scotus.  It formed the main civic greenspace in the town, with mature planting, informal recreation areas, a play park and tennis court and it was proposed to nominate the civic park area as a Centenary Field.

 

DECISION

AGREED the nomination of Duns Park for Fields in Trust Centenary Field status

7.

Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 7 February 2019 - time and venue to be discussed.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership was scheduled for Thursday 7 February 2018.  It was suggested that the venue for the next meeting could be Eyemouth High School. The Chairman thanked all those who had attended the meeting for their participation and input.

 

 

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Scottish Borders Council

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