MacKay Hannah

Core Challenges for the Future of Scottish Local Government: Briefing conference

Tue 24th Apr 2018

Edinburgh, Morton Fraser Lawyers

SUPPORTERS All Supporters

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

Scottish local government is once again at a crossroads. All around, the terrain is changing. 

This half-day briefing conference drills down into the core challenges facing Scottish local government. It analyses the substance and effect of each factor affecting future service delivery, bringing insight into where financial, policy and broader structural pressure is coming from - both within local government and externally - and assesses the future consequences arising from these pressures.

The challenges are many - pressure on public finances, Brexit consequences, the impact of government policy choices on favoured and less favoured services, the Scottish Government's planned review of local governance, possibilities of regionalisation, expectation of outcome focussed delivery and increasing demands placed on services by demographic drivers and consumer expectations. 

But there are also opportunities. If Brexit means more powers returning to the UK and Scotland, where might local government have greater influence and exercise greater responsibility? How might local government funding be augmented? What role could local government play in broader spheres of policy delivery to support economic growth, health, accountability and democratically engaged communities? What could local government achieve with the confidence to demand more powers for itself?

The total Scottish budget is projected to fall by 2.3% in real terms from 2016 to 2020. The Fraser of Allander Institute indicates just over half the total Scottish budget will be protected by Scottish Government commitments on health, policing, childcare and attainment. Their conclusion is "All of this leaves non-education elements of local government as the largest part of the budget which could be categorised as "non-protected". So how will that impact on Scottish local government?

The conference will take place in three sessions:

  • Public Finance Drivers, Policy Choices and Efficiency
  • Structures, Powers and Purpose
  • Governance, Partnership and Outcomes

It will bring together a series of experts on each of the core themes facing local government to give in depth insight into each issue, set out scenarios for what will happen next and discuss possible options for Scottish local government to engage with the challenges.

Who should attend:

  • Elected Members
  • Senior Officers
  • Heads of Service and Service Managers
  • Policy Officers
  • Local Government Partners - Public, Private and Third Sector
  • Departmental Directors
  • Governance Managers
  • Corporate and Finance Services Managers
  • Transformation Managers
  • Improvement Officers
  • Digital Service Managers
  • Performance Managers


Rory Alexander

Conference Chair and Partner, Morton Fraser LLP

David Eiser

Research Fellow, Fraser of Allander Institute

Prof James Mitchell

Co-Director, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh and Member - Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services

Lynda Towers

Director of Public Law, Morton Fraser

Councillor Susan Aitken

Leader of the Council, Glasgow City Council

Donald Anderson

Director, Playfair Scotland

Brian Logan

Policy Manager - Local Government and Communities Directorate, Scottish Government

Malcolm Burr

Chief Executive, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Amanda Britain

Director, ABL and Chair, Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland

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I was drawn to this briefing by the quality of speaker line up. All speakers were excellent and there was good coverage on all topics.

Andrew Wilson, Charlotte Street Partners,
Fraser of Allander Scotland's Budget Briefing, 26 September 2017

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