Councillors congratulate themselves

editorial image

Scottish Borders councillors have given themselves a pat on the back this week for the progress that they are making in improving life in the Borders.

They focused on eight priorities: economic growth; attainment and achievement; support, care and protection; communities; high quality environment; the workforce; assets and resources; excellent, accessible services.

Councillor Michael Cook, SBC’s executive member for corporate improvement and HR, said this week: “We’ve been tracking progress consistently across our eight corporate priorities for almost three years now and are seeing real improvements in key areas, for example young people, including exam results, and social care.

“Through the performance reports we also keep a close eye on the wider economy, such as the percentage of people in employment or claiming benefits, and it is fantastic to see that our grant and loan funds are helping businesses grow and create jobs for local people.”

Council leader David Parker added: “Some very positive steps have been taken and we can see the impact of these, although there is much work still to do.

“The programme is not just about making internal changes and savings but is seeking to make a real difference to residents, businesses and communities, and in the coming months and years we will see the positive impact of this programme across the region.”

Highlights in this quarter included £35,000 worth of business grants awarded; all SBC primary schools now meeting Scottish Government’s PE target of two hours per week; uptake of Self Directed Support (SDS) increasing to 31%, and the Welfare Benefits Service, which has seen £1.97m of benefit gains for customers between April and end June.

SBC’s Community Grant Scheme awarded 43 grants, equalling £88,000, which have enabled projects with a total value of over £265,000.

The council also employed 42 apprentices (29 male and 13 female) across a range of services. There was also praise for reducing energy consumption by around 11% compared to 2014/15, through efficiency measures such as LED street lighting.