Council backs commitment to Cosla

Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.
Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.

Aberdeenshire Council has confirmed its on-going commitment to and membership of Cosla during a debate at full council last week.

Cosla is the national collective voice for local government in Scotland, communicating and negotiating with the Scottish Government on behalf of Scotland’s 32 councils.

In recent months, eight councils have given notice to quit Cosla, following dissatisfaction about the nature of decision making and the balance of power between the Leaders’ group, which meets monthly, and the Convention, which meets quarterly.

Speaking after the meeting, Leader of the Council, Cllr Jim Gifford, said: “Many councils are concerned about a recent decision made by Cosla Leaders not to endorse the recommendations of a joint Scottish Government/Cosla working group, to update the funding formula to reflect the most recently available data of needs.

“This change would have benefitted the majority of councils, including Aberdeenshire, which would have received an estimated additional £5.9 million perannum.

“Whilst we’re not happy with this decision, leaving Cosla is unlikely to reverse it. We have a far stronger voice if we are at the table, influencing the future direction of local government.

“Local government is well served by Cosla through the positive working relationship it has built up with the Scottish Government and I am firmly of the view that Aberdeenshire Council is best represented through the collective voice of Cosla.”

Supporting this position, Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Hamish Vernal added: “Despite our concerns over the Cosla Leaders Group’s handling of the updating of the funding formula, this doesn’t change our view that a strong Cosla remains in the best interests of effective local government in Aberdeenshire and across Scotland.

“The public is best served when local government works together in genuine partnership with national government.

“While other councils must decide what is best for them, I’m pleased that members across all political groupings in Aberdeenshire have today endorsed maintaining a strong collective voice for local government, which can continue building upon its excellent working relations with Scottish Ministers.”