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Council review could see 80 jobs go from Borders

SBC is currently based at Newtown St Boswells. Credit: ITV Border

A Union official in the Borders warns that his members are ready to fight plans to switch 80 jobs to Edinburgh from Newtown St Boswells.

A review has found that a technology service at Scottish Borders Council is no longer fit for purpose, and recommends a joint arrangement with the City of Edinburgh Council.

It's understood that employees at the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service were given the findings of a review on Tuesday.

The Union Union believe this could mean that 80 jobs in the department will relocate to Edinburgh.

Regional officer for Unite Union, Tony Trench, told ITV Border:

"Members are furious at the way they have been treated.

They don't want to go to Edinburgh City, many were born and bred in the Borders, they live here.

Where does it stop? This could be the beginning of the end of Scottish Borders Council."

– Tony Trench, Regional officer for Unite Union

Public to have their say on Selkirk regeneration

The public are being asked for their views on plans to relocate the town's library and contact centre to an historic town centre landmark.

Scottish Borders Council have bought various properties surrounding Sir Walter Scott's Courthouse, including a former pub and a residential property.

They hope the regeneration project will improve the town centre and visitor facilities.

The community will be able to find out more about the project and the available options at drop-in sessions in the Cross Keys Regeneration Hub on Thursday 26th and Tuesday 31st March.

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SBC releases more details about job cuts

Credit: ITV Border

Scottish Borders Council has said it's keen to make clear it has not planned further compulsory redundancies.

22 employees have been made redundant over the last year, which equates to 15.7 full time equivalent jobs.

At the meeting of the Executive Committee on Tuesday, Councillors agreed to put £99,000 towards the voluntary severance/early retirement budget.

But the council says this was to cover the cost of some of the compulsory redundancies already in place, which it claims were "made following full consultation" and "where absolutely necessary"

It says the majority of these happened between five and ten months ago, and were as follows:

  • Kitchen Assistant x2
  • Cook x3
  • Learning Assistant x2
  • School Assistant
  • Social Care Assistant
  • Activity Support Worker
  • Day Centre Officer
  • Trainer
  • Caretaker x2
  • Clerical x 3
  • Supervisor, Manager
  • General Assistant
  • Assistant Cook

22 jobs go at Scottish Borders Council

Credit: ITV Border

Scottish Borders Council has confirmed that 22 compulsory redundancies have been made during the last year, including one from the Chief Executive department.

The local authority is looking to save £30 million by 2020.

At a Budget meeting in January, the council said 55 jobs were to go, but there would be no compulsory redundancies.

"SBC is committed to minimising compulsory redundancies and we operate a voluntary severance/early retirement programme to minimise any impact on staff. In addition, we have a robust redeployment process which ensures we minimise the number of compulsory redundancies across our workforce and only use these where absolutely necessary - having first considered redeployment and voluntary severance options.

As the Council makes changes to its structure and delivers improvements in service provision it is inevitable there will be an impact on staffing levels. The number of compulsory redundancies noted below are minimal in comparison to both the size of the overall SBC workforce and in relation to similar sized organisations."

– Spokesperson, Scottish Borders Council

Council looks into joint sport and culture trust

Scottish Borders Council and Borders Sport and Leisure Trust have agreed to enter into discussions to look into the possibility of creating an integrated sport and culture trust.

Seven joint culture and sport trusts already exist throughout Scotland, and the Council believes they offer a "successful" model that could be used in the Borders.

“While a viable business case for a standalone culture trust remains, it is prudent to take the time to investigate the feasibility of establishing an integrated sport and culture trust.

"Historically most councils operated a leisure and recreation department, so sport and cultural services staff are very used to working together under a single management team"

– Cllr Vicky Davidson, Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities

Council approves Borders budget

Scottish Borders Council has approved the Administration's budget plans.

The Council says public feedback was used to help shape the plans following a consultation that included an online budget simulator where people had the chance to lay out their own spending priorities.

The revenue budget for the next five years is £1.27 billion, and £332 million is being allocated for a 10 year capital programme.

“I am very confident that the long term plans we’re putting in place within this budget stands the Council in good stead for the future despite the ongoing challenges we are faced with.”

– Cllr David Parker, Leader of Scottish Borders Council

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Council 'confident' in Tapestry decision

Some residents in the Borders are opposing plans to house the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Tweedbank.

They are unhappy with both the cost of the project and the location itself.

But the Scottish Borders Council says it is confident that its allocation of £3.5 million for a new building for the Tapestry will pay off.

Tapestry "should go to a textile-based town"

A petition against the Great Tapestry of Scotland moving to Tweedbank has gained more than 1000 signatures.

The Scottish Borders Council say the tapestry will be good for tourism.

But some residents are concerned about the choice of location, and are calling for it to be displayed somewhere they consider more appropriate.

Borders pupils have the grit in new school contest

The winning pupil from Philiphaugh Community School for the Selkirk area will get the chance to see their newly named gritter, with Council and police representatives in attendance. Credit: Scottish Borders Council

Nine Scottish Borders Council gritting vehicles will tackle the winter weather with new names following a Borders-wide school competition.

Primary four to seven pupils across the region had to come up with the best winter related title and a winner was picked from each of the nine high school cluster areas.

Chosen by the local integrated police officers the winning names have been printed on to the vehicles which will then visit the school which named it. The winning pupil and their class will also be presented with a framed photograph.

The first winner to be announced was Kamal Aziz from Philiphaugh Community School in Selkirk, who was visited today (27th November) by the gritter which he called 'Gritter Spitter 3000'.

The competition was organised by the Council’s Safer Routes to School Team and was run within each school by the Junior Road Safety Officers.

The full list of winners are:

  • Berwickshire – Gritter Garbo; Alex Bisset, Eccles/Leitholm Primary School
  • Earlston – Sub Zero Hero; Josh Turner, Melrose Primary School
  • Eyemouth – Grit Britain; Quentin Strang, Ayton Primary School
  • Galashiels – The Winter Soldier; Kieran Linford, Stow Primary School
  • Hawick – Border Blaster; Fraser Casson, Wilton Primary School
  • Jedburgh – Salt ‘n’ Shake; Carys Williams, Howdenburn Primary School
  • Kelso – Great Grizzly Gritter; Molly Howlett, Sprouston Primary School
  • Peebles – Snow Farah; Max Ryall, West Linton Primary School
  • Selkirk – Gritter Spitter 3000; Kamal Aziz, Philiphaugh Community School
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