Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's coming up after the summer...

Saw loads of puffins at Sumburgh Head in July
Having not posted for so long (sorry, sorry, sorry...) I had intended to dip into my Council labbook to give a flavour of what had happened- however looking at what I've noted, many of the topics are tasters of what might be of greater interest in the coming months.

As to why I have not brought this to the small but select readership of this blog earlier, let me skip over that point and note what a fine summer of televised sport we have had, with a good European Championships, great Wimbledon and the best Tour de France for many years... and the last weeks of the SPL were particularly enjoyable.

Let's just think about the London Olympics for a moment, as we wonder why less community projects are being funded from the lottery for the next 4 years. I'd like to point out that when I was a committee member of the IPMS whilst working at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, I got a motion tabled at the IPMS national conference in 1997 (or 98?) decrying the Millennium Dome as a huge waste of money that discriminated against the rest of the country... this led to a choking on pizza incident as I read my motion verbatim in the Evening Standard (I was down in London on an adaptive optics course) under the heading 'Top Government Scientists Slam Dome'.

But I digress, and will continue to do so, as I recommend a summer blockbuster to take to the airport. The new Scottish Government's relationship with each council has radically altered, with ring-fencing largely gone (with a notable exception of Gaelic broadcasting- ochone! ochone!) and councils set a limited number of national targets to meet, recast in the context of relevant local outcomes. This is enshrined in the Single Outcome Agreement between the OIC and the Scottish Government, and is well worth reading- this crystallises the council priorities, national priorities, community plan, Best Value Improvement Plan etc. into a single document, with a rash of interesting facts and figures.

----- Click here to get a copy -----

The Scottish Government likes this sort of thing, with the Government Economic Strategy being a similar single reasonably brief document that spells out the rules of the game for Economic Development. If its not in there, HIE won't be doing it. Some stuff will fall under the umbrella of the Business Gateway that councils are now to deliver, but it seems likely that anything beyond a minimum one-size-fits-all national service will be at the discretion (i.e. cost) of the council.

This post is long enough, so I'll stop.

Coming Up Next Time: Kirkwall Masterplan, Business Improvement Districts, New Arts Theatre, New Tesco, Fuel Prices, Councillor's Surgery at KGS, Fuel Prices, and Steven Slags Off The Stromness Pierhead Proposals But Concludes Please Yourselves...

P.S If you feel a new post is necessary anytime, give me a prod at council@kw15.co.uk.