Scottish authorities feel marginalised

The Scottish executive should have consulted local authorities
about national strategies for a single correctional agency and the
antisocial behaviour bill, the annual conference of the Convention
of Scottish Local Authorities was told last week.

The executive should have approached councils so they could have
jointly identified ways to tackle re-offending and antisocial
behaviour, it was claimed.

Cosla chief executive Rory Mair said tensions in the working
relationship between the Scottish executive and local government
were caused by the feeling that “the executive is the real
important government and local government is not”.

This was manifested in several ways, Mair said, and councils were
often left to appear “moaning, whingeing and annoying”.

Although it “must be attractive for the executive to be continually
announcing new money”, it was impossible for local authorities to
integrate these new initiatives, Mair said.

Earlier this month, the communities minister, Margaret Curran,
announced a £30m boost for local authorities to tackle
antisocial behaviour.

First minister Jack McConnell told the conference that tackling
antisocial behaviour had demanded a radical rethink about the way
local authorities operated.

Despite some opposition, MSPs passed the general principles of the
Antisocial Behaviour Bill during its stage one hearing in the
Scottish parliament last week. The stage two debate is scheduled
for April or May.

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