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Monday, 6 August 2007

South Central Neighbourhood Partnership - Minutes

Meadows & Morningside and Southside & Newington Neighbourhood Partnership

Note of the ‘Inaugural Business Meeting’ – 27 June 2007

Board Members Present:

Councillors: Steve Burgess, Ian Perry, Mark McInnes, Gordon MacKenzie, Cameron Rose and Alison Johnstone (joined at 8pm)

Community Council Representatives: (nominated and / or substitutes)

Bridget Stevens and Rebecca Brooks, Merchiston CC

Colin Christison and Robert Beaten, Southside CC

Ann Wigglesworth and Andy Devenport, Tollcross CC

Alastair Philp and Anne Laird Marchmont & Sciennes CC

Jean Thomson and Aline Haggart, Morningside CC


Robert Aitken, NHS Lothian

Inspector Tom Galbraith, Lothian & Borders Police

Non–Board Members Present:

Susan Bruce, SfC Neighbourhood Manager (NM)

David Wright, Children & Families Neighbourhood Manager

Mary Dunbar, SfC Performance & Information Manager (PIM) (interim)

Alan Stewart, SfC Customer Relations Team Leader

Ian Brooke, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC)





Welcome and Introductions:

  • Susan Bruce, Neighbourhood Manager (NM) welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked people to introduce themselves.

  • Susan (NM) advised the Board about the status of the Business Meeting i.e. no formal decisions can be made and explained this is an informal meeting to discuss the practicalities of the Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) such as times, venues etc. The first formal / public meeting will be scheduled August / early September.



  • Councillors Marilyn MacLaren and Paul Godzik and Jo Scott, Southside CC, Frances Hawarden, Merchiston and Robin Morris, Merchiston CC.


Neighbourhood Partnership Board Membership:

  • Councillors: Burgess, Perry, McInnes, MacKenzie, Rose, MacLaren, Godzik, Johnstone

  • Community Representatives: An equal number of community representatives to elected members (eight). Each Community Council is entitled to have one representative on the NP and a named substitute. There are five Community Councils already established in the NP area and a current proposal to establish an additional CC in the Prestonfield / Grange area. A report will be submitted to Council on 31 July 2007 to agree to run this CC election and, if approval is given, polling will take place 11 November 2007.

  • Voluntary Sector Representative: Ian Brooke (EVOC) will work with the Voluntary Sector to seek a nomination to the NP Board. Ian confirmed that to date, pulling together information about the voluntary groups in the area has identified 90 voluntary organisations, however additional information would be welcomed. A process has been agreed to ensure a fair and transparent election of any representative to the NP Board. However, until a representative is identified Ian Brooke will attend the NP meetings and distribute information to and from the voluntary sector.

  • Police: Inspector Tom Galbraith. (NB.Chief Inspector Dougie Lynch has moved on and will be replaced Chief Insp. Donnie McKinnon)

  • NHS Lothian: Robert Aitken - Advised that the (CHP) Community Health Partnership is relatively new and NHS Lothian shares a joint Director with CEC Health & Social Care, providing a community service over five Local Health Areas. The health boundaries are very similar to the NP. Intend to develop local plans to link into and overlap with the work of NP.

  • Co-opted members - The NP can choose to co-opt additional members from groups / businesses etc with a particular interest in the area e.g. Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA). Co-opted members will have voting rights.

  • NP Support: Susan (NM) confirmed that Council officials will are accountable to the NP and will attend meetings, but they do not have voting rights. The Council is officially represented on the NP Board by the Elected Members.



Name: (To be agreed at Inaugural NP Meeting)

  • Following discussion the NP Board agreed that Meadows & Morningside and Southside & Newington Neighbourhood Partnership name was too long, therefore the Board recommended that the name ‘South Central Neighbourhood Partnership’ be adopted.



Constitution & Protocol Framework:

  • The Constitution and Protocol are being covered at NP induction sessions and some NP members have already attended.

  • Susan (NM) confirmed that members of the NP will be expected to sign the Code of Conduct, Declaration of Interests and NP Charter at the first meeting. Because the NP will be making decisions about resources signing the Code of Conduct and Charter makes clear that the same standards of behaviour and open decision making are expected by all Board members. Substitute members will sign the NP Charter etc, when they attend their first meeting to sit as a member of the Board.

  • Jean Thomson advised that she and others previously had strong reservations about signing the papers, however after attending the induction event she is now aware of the reasons. Although still uncomfortable with the idea, she has withdrawn her objection. Andy Devenport advised the issue of signing the papers was discussed at the induction event on 26 June. It was suggested that because many parts only appear relevant to Councillors, changes could be made before signing. Rebecca Stevens confirmed the process will considered as part of the six month review.

  • Mary (PIM) confirmed that the NPs will be established / constituted as Advisory Committees due to a current restriction in the Legislation.

  • Cllr Perry advised this technicality might be amended in the future and that the NP can still make decisions and the Council will give it devolved power. Susan (NM) confirmed it was only the legislation that currently prevented NPs from being a full Council ‘decision making body’. The NP should expect to make recommendations to Heads of Service (Council and partner services) and to Council committees.


NP Operation and Business Arrangements:

  • Frequency of meetings: NP agreed to meet formally five times annually and Committee Services will set the dates for meetings.

  • Time and Venue: The Board proposed that all formal NP Board meetings will be held in the evening from 7pm and that Monday evenings would be the most convenient. Venues should enable circulation and have full disabled access. Suggestions include the Eric Liddell Centre, Nelson Hall, Pollock Halls, and Surgeon’s Hall.

  • Public Sessions: All Formal NP meetings must be held in public. After discussion the Board agreed to:

    1. Hold a surgery before each NP meeting (6pm)

    2. Consider timed informal deputations at the start of the meeting

    3. Surgery to re-open at the end of the meeting

    4. No questions taken between times

  • Clerking/circulation of Papers etc: Committee Services will service the formal NP Board meetings because they are sub-committees of the Council. Papers should be issued two weeks in advance.

  • Agenda Planning / Business Arrangements: It was proposed that Agenda Planning Meetings are scheduled during the day, three or four weeks in advance of NP Board meetings. Agreed that it would not be essential for all NP members to attend, agenda items could be e-mailed and substitutes could attend. To ensure effective preparation for NP meetings, ‘Tabled Papers’ will be discouraged except in exceptional circumstances and by prior agreement with the Convener.



Proposals for Nominations for NP Convener

  • Elected members on each NP are responsible for deciding the Convenor. Cllr MacKenzie confirmed that agreement has been reached. Cllr Burgess advised that the chair will rotate annually between the four political groupings and Cllr Mark McInnes will be the first Convenor.



Setting Priorities & Forward Planning:

  • Susan (NM) suggested the NP might wish to have an ‘away day’ to discuss and decide what their priorities should be. Possibly to take place after the first meeting. Papers will be circulated on the decisions that have to be considered but the identification of local priorities through the development of the Local Community Plan should be the focus.



NP Support and Development Events:

  • Half day sessions run by Communities Scotland on Standards for Community Engagement ware being scheduled. Details to follow.




  • Community Engagement: The need to look very carefully at community engagement was raised. Turnout for CC election in Tollcross was less than 2%. It is essential to build public interest in the work of CCs and NP to minimize the risk that CC reps will only be able to put forward their own views rather than those of the wider communities. Susan (NM) confirmed help will be available to support CCs to engage more with communities including local communities of interest such as older/younger/BME residents. Also expect to consider some different ways to engage with hard to reach local people alongside encouraging residents to link up with CC meetings. Anne confirmed this should be a priority for the NP

  • Sub Groups to the NP: It was recognised that the sub structure of the NP will drive the work that the NP does, particularly the development of the Local Community Plan. It will build on existing community groups such as the Environmental Forums and the Housing Area Board. Also the developing service partnership groups such as the Police/ Community Safety led TAC (Tasking and Coordination Group) and the Children and Families led LCG (Local Coordination Group)

  • SfC to look at presenting information to the NP on what groups etc already exist. Reducing duplication and overlaps will be helpful.

  • Links with other NPs: It was asked whether there would be liaison between the different NPs.This could be valuable due to likely common issues between the different NPs, e.g. transport, education. All NPs will link to the Edinburgh Partnership however unaware of other structured arrangements to share experience at this stage, other than through events such as the induction sessions.

  • Cllr Perry suggested these issues could be identified at the city wide CC meetings and fed back into the NP.




Date of first meeting

  • NP Board noted their preferred date as 10 September 2007, for the Inaugural NP Board Meeting, with the second meeting to be held during November.


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