Policy Officer report March07 by JDBmSR3


									                          Policy Officer Report: March 2007

     Conference report
I have written a brief report on this year’s SOLACE (Scotland) conference for the
SOLACE Focus newsletter – look out for it in the March edition. Together, Sandy
Watson and I have written a more detailed account of the conference, for internal use
within the branch.

    Senior manager study
As mentioned previously, I have been exploring the issue of how to better engage the
wider membership within the activities of the Scottish branch of SOLACE. Following in-
depth discussions with a number of senior manager members, I have developed a
number of proposals: these are contained within a separate paper which I have
produced for consideration by the branch.

     Culture Bill
I have drafted the branch response to the Culture (Scotland) Bill and Draft Guidance for
Local Authorities; this incorporates contributions from Office Bearers. Amongst other
things, the response requests assurance that there will be no financial detriment to local
authorities as a result of the development of cultural entitlements, and questions the
need for Ministers to request a range of information regarding how cultural provision is
being used within each local authority. The consultation response will be put on the
Members Area of the Branch website in due course.

      Website
Visitors to the website will note that it now resembles the UK site: this work has been
carried out by SOLACE UK as part of their re-branding of the nations’ websites. In
addition, I have continued to update the content of the branch website: the branch
contacts page has been updated, and I have added a Membership Information page. My
Policy Officer reports are now in the public area of the website and, since the AGM, I
have also had the list of portfolios updated. More recent SOLACE consultation
responses have been put in the Members Area, as have minutes of meetings. From
now on, as a matter of course, I will be putting the Branch Committee minutes in the
Members Area. Please contact me if you would like access to the Members Area and I
will supply you with the relevant log-in details.

      Shadowing
At the beginning of April, I spent a day at East Dunbartonshire Council, shadowing Sue
Bruce and her team. I would like to thank Sue for the kind invitation and for making the
day so worthwhile and enjoyable. As I do not have a background in local government, I
found it a very valuable experience, giving me an insight into a typical day in the
council’s operations. Hopefully it will be the first in a series of visits.

     Improvement Service work
As mentioned previously, I have been closely in the Improvement Service’s efforts to
analyse options for an improved regulatory regime in Scotland. This project, which is
being carried out in conjunction with COSLA, SCOTSS and the Society of Chief
Environmental Health Officers in Scotland, is being steered by a reference group which
includes representation from SOLACE. As part of the study’s methodology, a
consultative event - Better Regulation, Safer Communities - was held at the Point
Conference Centre in Edinburgh on 22nd February 2007. The Improvement Service is
producing a report on the day, which will be distributed to all attendees and interested
parties in due course.

Lesley Stevenson
Policy and Research Officer
Improvement Service/SOLACE
Westerton House
East Mains Industrial Estate
EH52 5AU

Tel: 01506 775558
Fax: 01506 775566

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