Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Via MS Teams

Contact: Louise McGeoch Tel 01835 825005  email  lmcgeoch@scotborders.gov.uk

Link: live stream of meeting

Items
No. Item

1.

Convener's Remarks.

Minutes:

The Convener congratulated the following:-

 

(a)     Laura Patricia Alcock-Ferguson who was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s 2021 New Year’s Honours List for her work as. Founding Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness;

 

(b)     Julie Forrest who, with her colleague Stewart Anderson, had won the mixed pairs World Indoor Bowls Championships title; and

 

(c)     Fiona Henderson who had received the thirty year Girl Guide long service award.

 

DECISION

AGREED that congratulations be passed to those concerned.

 

2.

Minute pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Consider Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 17 December 2020 for approval and signing by the Convener.  (Copy attached.)

 

Minutes:

The Minute of the Meeting held on 17 December 2021 was considered. 

 

DECISION

AGREED that the Minute be approved and signed by the Convener.

 

3.

Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Consider Minutes of the following Committees:-

 

(a)     Major Contracts Governance                             3 November 2020

(b)     Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer

          Communities Board                                           6 November 2020

(c)     Eildon Area Partnership                                     12 November 2020

(d)     Teviot & Liddesdale Area Partnership               17 November 2020   

(e)     Community Planning Strategic Board                19 November 2020

(f)      Civic Government Licensing                              20 November 2020

(g)     Pension Fund (Special)                                      26 November 2020

(h)     Berwickshire Area Partnership                           3 December 2020

(i)      Sustainable Development Committee               4 December 2020

(j)      Planning & Building Standards                          7 December 2020

(k)     Hawick Common Good Fund                             8 December 2020

(l)      Selkirk Common Good Fund                              9 December 2020

(m)    Jedburgh Common Good Fund                         9 December 2020

(n)     Audit & Scrutiny                                                 10 December 2020

(o)     Innerleithen Common Good Fund                     10 December 2020

(p)     Pension Fund                                                     11 December 2020

(q)     Pension Board                                                    11 December 2020

(r)      Local Review Body                                            14 December 2020

(s)     William Hill Trust                                                15 December 2020

(t)      Lauder Common Good Fund                             15 December 2020

(u)     Jedburgh Common Good Fund                         15 December 2020

(v)     Berwickshire Area Partnership (Special)           18 December 2020

(w)    Planning & Building Standards                          11 January     2021

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing the public Committee Minutes.)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the following Committees had been circulated:-

 

(a)     Major Contracts Governance                                           3 November 2020

(b)     Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board     6 November 2020

(c)     Eildon Area Partnership                                                   12 November 2020

(d)     Teviot & Liddesdale Area Partnership                             17 November 2020 

(e)     Community Planning Strategic Board                              19 November 2020

(f)      Civic Government Licensing                                            20 November 2020

(g)     Pension Fund (Special)                                                    26 November 2020

(h)     Berwickshire Area Partnership                                         3 December 2020

(i)      Sustainable Development Committee                             4 December 2020

(j)      Planning & Building Standards                                         7 December 2020

(k)     Hawick Common Good Fund                                           8 December 2020

(l)      Selkirk Common Good Fund                                            9 December 2020

(m)    Jedburgh Common Good Fund                                        9 December 2020

(n)     Audit & Scrutiny                                                                10 December 2020

(o)     Innerleithen Common Good Fund                                    10 December 2020

(p)     Pension Fund                                                                   11 December 2020

(q)     Pension Board                                                                  11 December 2020

(r)      Local Review Body                                                           14 December 2020

(s)     William Hill Trust                                                               15 December 2020

(t)      Lauder Common Good Fund                                           15 December 2020

(u)     Jedburgh Common Good Fund                                        15 December 2020

(v)     Berwickshire Area Partnership (Special)                         18 December 2020

(w)    Planning & Building Standards                                         11 January 2021

           

DECISION

APPROVED the Minutes listed above subject to paragraph 4 below.

 

 

4.

Committee Recommendation pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Consider recommendation from the Audit & Scrutiny Committee held on 10 December 2020.  (Copy Minute extract and supporting report attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1    With reference to paragraph 4 of the Minute of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee held on 10 December 2020, there had been circulated copies of a Minute Extract seeking approval of recommendations to change the current Police Community Action Teams governance arrangements:

 

(a)     that the tasking of the Police Community Action Teams remained with the CAT  Member/Officer Oversight Group;

(b)     that the performance monitoring of the Police Community Action Teams be moved from the CAT Member/Officer Oversight Group to the Executive Committee, with reporting on a quarterly basis; and

(c)     the Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board and the CAT Member/Officer Oversight Group meet informally, in private, on an annual basis, to discuss the work of the Police Community Action Teams.  

 

The Committee had also recommended that a workshop be held for members of the Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board to explain the process of tasking for the Police Community Action Teams.

 

4.2     Councillor H Scott, seconded by Councillor McAteer, moved as an amendment that the above recommendations be replaced by the following:

 

          (i)      that the operational tasking of the Police Community Action Teams remains with the Community Action Team Member/Officer Strategic Oversight Group;

          (ii)      that the Executive Committee monitors the governance and performance of the Community Action Team Member/Officer Strategic Oversight Group, and the Police Community Action Teams, by quarterly reporting by the Oversight Group to the Executive Committee; and

          (iii)     that a workshop be held for members of the Police, Fire & Rescue, and Safer Communities Board to explain the process of tasking for the Police Community Action Teams.”

         

          Councillor Scott spoke in support of his amendment and explained that he wished to improve the accountability of the Community Action Teams.  Members discussed the recommendations and Councillor Bell, seconded by Councillor Fullarton, moved approval of the Audit and Scrutiny Recommendations.  Councillor H. Scott asked that the vote be taken by roll call and this was unanimously approved.

 

          Roll Call Vote

 

Motion by Councillor Bell

Amendment by Councillor H. Scott

Councillor Aitchison

Councillor Cochrane

Councillor A. Anderson

Councillor Marshall

Councillor H. Anderson

Councillor McAteer

Councillor Bell

Councillor Paterson

Councillor Brown

Councillor H. Scott

Councillor Chapman

 

Councillor Edgar

 

Councillor Fullarton

 

Councillor Greenwell

 

Councillor C. Hamilton

 

Councillor S. Hamilton

 

Councillor Haslam

 

Councillor Jardine

 

Councillor Laing

 

Councillor Miers

 

Councillor Moffat

 

Councillor Mountford

 

Councillor Parker

 

Councillor Ramage

 

Councillor Richards

 

Councillor Robson

 

Councillor Rowley

 

Councillor S. Scott

 

Councillor Small

 

Councillor Tatler

 

Councillor Thornton-Nicol

 

Councillor Turnbull

 

Councillor Weatherston

 

 

The Motion was carried by 28 votes to 5.

 

DECISION

DECIDED to approve the recommendations of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee as detailed in paragraph 4.1 above.

 

5.

Union Connectivity Review - Call For Evidence pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Consider report by Executive Director (Corporate Improvement & Economy).  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director, Corporate Improvement and Economy, seeking approval of the response, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, to the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review and the submission of the response by 29 January 2021.  The report explained that the review was being led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE and was focused on gathering information and views from across the United Kingdom on the status of cross border strategic infrastructure and its ability to maximise local economic potential, improve quality of life and help deliver aspirations for net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  The proposed response set out in Appendix 1 had been drafted, building on responses from Scottish Borders Council individually and with partners to recent Scottish Government consultations in relation to the National Transport Strategy, the reports of the Infrastructure Commission and Strategic Transport Projects Review 2, and was designed to be consistent with Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Deal.  The response therefore strongly reflected the aspiration to extend the Borders Railway, improve key trunk roads and invest in public transport connection to the north of England.  As of 1 January 2021, the UK was no longer part of the Trans-European Transport Network and the review requested parties to consider ‘if’ and ‘how’ this should be replaced.  A question was also asked in respect of the means to improving linkages to Northern Ireland.  Members welcomed the report and paid tribute to the work by officers in preparing the submission. The need to improve rural connectivity was highlighted as isolation was an issue in many areas of the Borders.  In response to a request from Councillor Robson regarding east/west connectivity, Mr Dickson advised that the response to question 11 could be strengthened.

 

DECISION

AGREED the draft consultation response as provided in Appendix 1 to the report, subject to the amendment of the response to Question 11 to include reference to east/west connectivity, and its submission to UK Government by 29 January 2021.

 

6.

Learning Estate Review Update pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Consider Joint Report by Service Director, Young People, Engagement & Inclusion and Service Director, Assets & Infrastructure.  (Copy to attached.)

Minutes:

6.1  With reference to paragraph 5 of the Executive Committee Minute of 7 November 2017, there had been circulated copies of a joint report by the Service Director, Young People, Engagement & Inclusion and Service Director, Assets & Infrastructure, providing an update on progress with improving the condition and suitability of many schools and sought approval of a process and actions to deliver a Learning Estate Strategic Plan.  The report provided details of the progress which had been made in recent years, improving the condition and suitability of many schools.  Despite huge improvements in the physical fabric of many buildings, it was recognised that much more had to be done and work was progressing to ensure future investment in the School Estate was planned, managed and delivered in line with empirical data and an overall strategy for the Learning Estate.  This report also highlighted the many challenges facing the Learning Estate in the Scottish Borders and sought approval of a  process and actions to deliver a Learning Estate Strategic Plan which was fit for purpose, responsive to changing population patterns, sustainable in the longer term, and accessible to all.  The strategy would provide learning environments to deliver 21st century education as part of a wider place making agenda.  To deliver this vision, meet the principles of Scotland’s Learning Estate Strategy and to address the three key national education and skills priorities namely Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC), Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) a number of policies and methodologies would also require to be updated. 

 

6.2  The Learning Estate was a significant and valuable resource for the communities of the Scottish Borders.  The ongoing revenue costs for the Learning Estate and the capital costs of providing a Learning Estate fit for the future were significant.  It was therefore vital, in light of these material costs, that the Learning Estate was managed and planned in an efficient, effective and strategic manner and that all priorities met the wider strategic objectives of the Council and the needs of communities.  Scottish Borders Council had high aspirations for the Learning Estate, reflecting the value that was placed on learning, supported by a vision for well designed, maintained and managed buildings to facilitate learning for the whole community and the future strategy would inform prioritisation of investment while seeking to adhere to the principles of community place making.  In order to drive innovation and creativity in how investment was used to best effect, it was necessary to engage with communities and partners to identify how, together, the changing demands and community needs were met.  The report also made recommendations regarding future workstreams and policies that would be required to deliver the Learning Estate Strategic Plan.  The outcome of this work would be brought forward for further approval at appropriate junctures and, once approved, those policies and workstreams would be incorporated into the Learning Estate Strategic Plan. 

 

6.3  Members welcomed the comprehensive nature of the report and noted the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Peebles High School Update pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Consider report by Service Director Assets & Infrastructure.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

With reference to paragraph 12 of the Minute of 17 December 2020, there had been circulated copies of a report by the Service Director, Assets and Infrastructure, providing an update on the progress with the Peebles High School project since the last meeting in December.  The previous report had advised that the feasibility study to replace the parts of the school lost during the fire in November 2019 had been completed but officers had reservations on the findings of this study on the basis of it being part new build/part refurbishment.  A further feasibility study for a possible new build option had now been completed allowing a more comprehensive review of the advantages and disadvantages of the options to be considered.  The report explained that officers recommended that the new build option presented advantages in terms of saving time and minimising disruption and approval was now sought for the new build option to be taken forward to the Capital Investment Plan 2021/22.  Members welcomed this recommendation and agreed that it was the best option not just for Peebles but Tweeddale as a whole.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)   note the contents of this report;

 

(b)  approve that the option to provide a new build solution provided the most advantageous benefits and, subject to the Capital Investment Plan 2021/22 affordability, should be taken forward to delivery; and

 

(c)   thank officers for their work to date on the replacement Galashiels and Peebles Schools and their continued commitment to take forward the best options for both towns.

 

8.

Proposed Response to Consultation on Draft Revision to Councillors' Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Consider report by Executive Director (Finance & Regulatory).  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director, Finance and Regulatory, proposing the submission of the Draft Consultation Response attached as Annex 1 to the report to Scottish Government as the Council’s response to its consultation on a possible revision to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.  The report explained that Section 1 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (the Act) required the Scottish Ministers to issue a Code of Conduct for Councillors (the Code).  The aim of the Code was to set out clearly and openly the standards that councillors must comply with when carrying out their council duties.  The current version of the Code was originally issued in 2010 following a limited review of the pre-existing Code in 2009.  A further amendment was published in 2018 - again following a very limited review.  Scottish Ministers considered that many developments had occurred over the last ten years since the Code was last substantially reviewed and had therefore launched this consultation into a proposed revised Code.  Their stated aim was “to amend the Councillors’ Code of Conduct to bring it up to date and make it more user friendly.”  In order to consider the content of the proposed revised Code a short life Working Group had been established.  This group met before and after the Christmas vacation and the draft response contained in the Annex 1 to this report was the output of that Group.  Consultation responses had to be submitted to Scottish Government by 8 February 2021.  Councillor Aitchison commented on the importance of the Code of Conduct and apologised for missing the opportunity to participate in the Working Group.  He asked for two amendments as follows:

 

(a)   that under Question 4 – point 5 b. the word “tolerate” be changed to “experience”; and

 

(b)   that under Question 4 – point 5 d. the words “to consider reporting the conduct” be removed.

           

These proposed amendments were unanimously accepted.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)   approve the content of the Draft Consultation Response attached as Annex 1 to this report, subject to the amendments detailed above, as the formal response of the Scottish Borders Council to the Consultation: and

 

(b)  direct the Chief Legal Officer (Monitoring Officer) to submit it to Scottish Government on its behalf before 8 February 2021.

 

9.

Amendments to Committee Report Implications Section pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Consider report by Executive Director (Corporate Improvement & Economy).  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

9.1  With reference to paragraph 6 of the Minute of 25 September 2020, there had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director, Corporate Improvement and Economy, proposing some changes to the Implications section of committee reports to take account of UN Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, and also to include a new statement around Data Protection compliance.  The report explained that at its meeting on 25 September 2020, Scottish Borders Council had decided that the ‘implications’ section of Council reports would be reviewed and updated generally, with a specific objective of addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  This review and updating was to be overseen by the Sustainable Development Committee and a report on the proposed changes was approved by that Committee at its meeting on 4 December 2020.  The implications section of committee reports covered a number of specific areas:  Financial, Risk and Mitigations, Integrated Impact Assessment, Acting Sustainably, Carbon Management, Rural Proofing, and changes to the Schemes of Administration and Delegation.  The paragraphs which were being reviewed were the ones relating to Acting Sustainably and Carbon Management.  To ensure officers took account of the UN Sustainable Development Goals when drafting reports, it was proposed that a checklist was completed and details were given in a new section, “Sustainable Development Goals”, on the specific UN goals which were being impacted.  A checklist was attached as Appendix A to the report.  The intention was that report writers completed the checklist and drew the most salient issues into a brief narrative in the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ section of the report, explaining relevance and (where appropriate) how the recommendations in the report supported progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.  While ‘taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’ is a UN SDG (SDG 13), it was recognised that national legislation, the Scottish public policy context (e.g. the Programme for Government 2021-2022), and Scottish Borders Council’s own commitments manifested in the Responding to the Climate Emergency Report of 25 September 2020 required specific reference to be made to the Council’s efforts and progress in this area.  Accordingly, it was proposed that a paragraph in the implications section was retained under the title ‘Climate Change’ with report writers setting out details of the impact of the report in this area, and (where appropriate) how the recommendations in the report supported progress against Climate Change objectives.  A checklist to this effect for officer use was attached as Appendix B to the report.  Guidance and training for report writers would be provided to ensure they understood and took account of the new requirements. 

 

9.2  The Council had obligations under Data Protection legislation and non-compliance could result in substantial fines.  If a proposal included any new processing of personal data, or any change to the way personal data was currently processed, then officers must be able to evidence that the potential impact on the privacy of citizens had been fully considered and that any risk around the process had been identified  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Arrangements for the By-Election for the Leaderdale and Melrose Ward pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Consider report by Executive Director (Corporate Improvement & Economy).  (Copy attached)

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director, Corporate Improvement and Economy, providing information on the arrangements for the by-election to be held in the Leaderdale and Melrose Ward, following the sad, untimely death of Councillor Drum.  The report explained that the Returning Officer, after consultation with Scottish Ministers and the Chairman of the Electoral Management Board in Scotland, had now fixed the date of poll for the by-election as Thursday 11 March 2021.  The by-election would be conducted in accordance with existing rules contained in the Scottish Local Government Elections Order 2011, and in such a way as to ensure the voters had full confidence in the result.  This included measures to provide voter confidence around the protection of public health.  The safety of the election staff and voters was being given priority in the planning of the by-election and appropriate arrangements were being put in place to mitigate risks to health.  There would be 13 polling stations in the Ward:  Oxton War Memorial Hall; Lauder Public Hall x 2; Blainslie Village Hall; Earlston Parish Church Hall x 2; Gattonside Village Hall; Tweedbank Community Centre x 2; Smith Memorial Hall, Darnick; Corn Exchange, Melrose x 2; Newstead Village Hall.  The Count – which would be an electronic count – would take place in the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels on Friday 12 March 2021, starting at 10.00 a.m.  Usually, for a by election, the Count would be held at Council HQ in the Chamber and Committee Room 1, but this was not large enough to ensure social distancing rules were met.  In the same respect, postal vote verification would also take place in the Volunteer Hall, with opening sessions likely to be on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 March.  Early indications were that the cost for the by-election was likely to be between £40k and £45k.  As Polling day for the by election was 11 March and the count was being held on 12 March, it was therefore proposed to move the Galashiels Common Good Fund Sub-Committee and Employee Forum meetings from Thursday 11 March to the afternoon of Thursday 18 March; and for the Sustainable Development Committee meeting due to be held on Friday 12 March to be brought forward to Friday 5 March 2021.   Members were pleased to see that measures were in place to allow the election to be conducted safely.

 

DECISION

AGREED:-

 

(a)  to note the arrangements for the by-election for the Leaderdale and Melrose Ward with Polling Day to be held on Thursday, 11 March 2021; 

 

(b)  to note that the costs associated with the staffing, printing, supplies, venue hire, electronic equipment hire, PPE, and other expenses incurred by the Returning Officer, would be met from existing budgets; and

 

(c)   to move the meetings of the Galashiels Common Good Fund Sub-Committee and Employee Forum from 11 March to 18 March 2021, and the Sustainable Development Committee meeting from 12 March to 5 March 2021.

 

11.

Draft Calendar of Meetings 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 331 KB

(a)     Consider bringing forward date of Council meeting in June from 24th to 17th to avoid school holidays.

 

(b)     Consider draft Calendar of Meetings for the period August 2021 to July 2022.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

11.1  The Convener advised that it was proposed that the meeting of Scottish Borders Council currently scheduled for 24 June 2021 be moved to 17 June to avoid the school holidays.

 

         DECISION

         AGREED to approve that the Council meeting currently scheduled for 24 June be moved to 17 June 2021.

 

11.2  There had been circulated copies of the draft Calendar of Meetings for the period August 2021 to July 2022.

 

         DECISION

         AGREED to approve the Calendar of Meetings for the period August 2021 to July 2022.

 

 

12.

Open Questions pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The questions submitted by Councillors H. Scott, Paterson, Ramage, Laing and Robson were answered. 

 

DECISION

NOTED the replies as detailed in Appendix I to this Minute.

 

13.

Private Business

Before proceeding with the private business, the following motion should be approved:-

 

“That under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the aforementioned Act.”

Minutes:

DECISION

AGREED under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the business detailed in  Appendix II to this Minute on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 6, 8 and 9 of Part I of Schedule 7A to the Act.

 

SUMMARY OF PRIVATE BUSINESS

 

14.

Minute

Consider private Section of Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 17 December 2020.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

The private section of the Council Minute of 17 December 2020 was approved. 

 

15.

Committee Minutes

Consider private Sections of the Minutes of the following Committees:-

 

(a)     Major Contracts Governance                             3 November 2020

(b)     Civic Government Licensing                              20 November 2020

(c)     Pension Fund (Special)                                      26 November 2020

(d)     Hawick Common Good Fund                             8 December 2020

(e)     Selkirk Common Good Fund                              9 December 2020

(f)      Pension Fund                                                     11 December 2020

(g)     Lauder Common Good Fund                             15 December 2020

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing private Committee Minutes.)

Minutes:

The private sections of the Committee Minutes as detailed in paragraph4 of this Minute were approved.

 

CONTACT US

Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800

Email:

For more Contact Details