The County You Live, Work And Play
South Lanarkshire Council Leaves COSLA
South Lanarkshire Council have revealed details of how they plan to work with other local authorities which have resigned from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
Council Leader Eddie McAvoy revealed he and senior officers held meetings with their counterparts at the City of Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Renfrewshire councils to discuss the creation of the new Scottish Local Government Partnership.
The Partnership will be in place by March 2015 and has an agreed purpose, set of guiding principles, and ways of working. The Partnership is now working to conclude its Terms of Reference.
Councillor McAvoy said: “Our job as local councillors is to represent the people who live in our areas and make the best possible arrangements for them. Membership of COSLA was hindering that rather than enabling it, and that is why the time was right to leave.
“The new Partnership will allow councils to work better together, act quicker and more efficiently in the best interests of the people we represent.”
The agreed purpose of the Partnership is “to promote and secure the legitimate role of its member councils in the governance of Scotland”, and membership will be open to all Scottish local authorities.
This means the membership will be diverse and as a principle the Partnership will recognise this diversity from the outset in its priorities, governance and support structures.
The Partnership will be a lean organisation with a small directorate and secretariat, with back office functions provided by a member council. The directorate and secretariat will be hosted by a member authority.
The Partnership’s decision-making body will consist of all Leaders of member authorities. Decisions will be taken by consensus, rather than by a majority vote. Dissenting members will have the flexibility to operate outside the consensus while retaining membership of the Partnership.
The next steps for the Partnership are agree the Terms of Reference and begin engagement with the Scottish Government and Trade Unions early in the new year, with the aim to formally create the Partnership in March 2015.
South Lanarkshire voted to leave COSLA earlier in year. Proposed changes to decision-making powers at COSLA, as well as how the Government grant to local authorities is distributed, was central to the move.
Councillor McAvoy had told councillors this could lead to an additional £3.5million cuts in next year’s South Lanarkshire budget, meaning a total savings package of £18.5m in 2014/15.
Earlier in the year, the council Leader said: “Would you pay £173,000 to join a club if membership of that club meant you’d be £3.5 million worse off? Of course you wouldn’t. That’s why South Lanarkshire Council has decided to quit COSLA.”