This week in Annandale 21/09/2015

This week I attended the council’s Policy & Resources Committee for the first time. Exciting isn’t the best word to describe it but this committee deals with money so some elected members really want to be on it. The focus was on service reviews for various council functions to find efficiencies and savings, especially with a pig-sticker (allusion to sordid populist media reference probably intended), or bayonet to the budget settlement for Scotland coming in the UK Spending Review, which will have a knock on effect for Dumfries and Galloway Council. There was also a look at Workforce Establishment (number of council positions) which is different from how many people acually employed.

Here’s a snapshot of the staffing breakdown:

How many casual staff does the council have recorded on the system?
On the 8th September 2015, 3,408 individuals or 4,213 casual/supply positions. The position count includes individuals with more than one casual position e.g. one individual has a casual cleaner and casual cook position and this will be counted as two. There are casual/supply records on the system that will not necessarily have worked, all permanent part time teachers have a supply position set up but may not have worked as a supply teacher.

How many of these are ALSO employed either part-time or full-time by the council?
1,567 individuals – this figure is distorted by permanent part time teachers having a supply position set up but may not work as a supply teacher.

No of Agency Staff?
10 in Chief Executive Service
42 in DG First
7 in Social Work Services
59 in Total

Directorate: Perm/Contracted staff : Casual/supply : %
Chief Executive Service: 403 : 3 : 0.7444
Community and Customer Services: 858 : 233 : 27.1561
DGFirst: 2000 : 79 : 3.9500
Education Services: 3319 : 203 : 6.1163
Planning and Environment Services: 278 : 2 : 0.7194
Social Work Services: 738 : 140 : 18.9701
Grand Total: 7596 : 533 : 7.0168

Planning Committee featured a rare casting vote situation by the Chair, who voted to approve an application for an HMO in Dumfries – this was a resubmission of an application which had been refused some weeks ago by the odd vote (and that application is currently under appeal!) so all in all an unusual case.

Johnstonebridge Community Centre draws ever closer to opening (October all going well) and there is an energy about the place to point where there is going to be a Poll on October 22nd for seats on the Community Council. There is also to a contested election or Poll in Canonbie, which looked on the cards from discussions at a community meeting I attended in Langholm earlier in the week. which

Moffat Community Council
In summary, there was a lot of discussion about the council’s management of the Local Development Plan and associated supplementary and statutory guidance around Dark Sky Places. Having tried to support Moffat’s bid to be considered as a Dark Sky Place, even if just to have this recognised properly in supplementary (non-statutory) guidance for Lighting, rather than a specific Designated Area with statutory planning guidance attached, it’s clear that the community has found this a lengthy and frustrating process with mixed support from within the council. I picked up some other community issues and cases and am getting these addressed as quickly as possible.

Football News: quick update on Lockerbie 3G Pitch
As you may be aware the 3G Pitch is operated on behalf of DGC by Mid Annandale FC who are the Principal partners at this site. They deal with the bookings and ongoing maintenance. However, Mid Annandale FC have been sharing some concerns with the Council because of occasional flooding on the 3G surface during heavy periods of rain fall. Council Officers have reported that DGC Architectural Services are working closely with the original contractor to investigate and identify the problem to find a solution.

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