Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Scottish Government Opens Consultation on Unconventional Oil and Gas (Fracking)

The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on the future of unconventional oil and gas (fracking) in Scotland. The consultation will run from 31 January to 31 May 2017. You can click the link below to access the consultation and further information.

Scotland’s International Exports Rise by £1bn

Scottish Government - Scotland’s international exports rose from £27.7 billion in 2014 to £28.7 billion in 2015.
The USA continues to be Scotland’s top trading partner outside of the EU. Within the EU, the Netherlands was again the largest market.

The latest statistics show that exports to countries within the European Union were estimated as £12.3 billion, an increase of £520 million on the previous year driven by an increase in the export of petroleum and chemical products.

Exports to the rest of the UK in 2015 were estimated at £49.8 billion, an increase of £2.1 billion, driven by a rise in the export of utilities such as electricity, gas and water.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:

“It is hugely encouraging to see that Scotland’s total international exports, excluding oil and gas, increased by £1 billion in a year.

“It is clear that since the vote to leave the European Union, we must continue to be seen to be a country that is outward facing and open for business.   The EU market is 8 times the size of UK market, which highlights the importance of remaining in the Single Market. 

“I want to be clear that Scotland should not face a choice between exporting to the EU or UK. We can do both. 

“We are working on an ambitious programme of internationalisation, including measures to broaden 

Scotland’s export base and to grow exports beyond our traditional markets, which is why I am pleased to confirm membership of our new Trade Board, who will take forward this important work alongside our new hubs in Dublin, Brussels, London and Berlin and our planned network of trade envoys.”

The Trade and Investment Strategy included a commitment to create a Trade Board, chaired by Keith Brown, to boost the number of exporters, to help join up services and support and increase the number of exports to new markets.

The membership of the Board is deliberately business focused and brings together a range of people with significant expertise and relevant experience in exporting activity from a variety of perspectives who will perform an advisory function to the Scottish Government.


Full membership of the Trade Board is as follows:

Russell Dalgleish. Scottish Entrepreneur, Investor, Strategist, Innovator and Business Coach.
Linda Steedman. CEO eCom Scotland
Ian Donnelly. Managing Director Energy & Marine Services, Rosyth
Babcock Marine & Technology Division
Michelle Crossan-Matos. Vice President, European Strategy and Transformation, Samsung Electronics Europe
Eric Balish. Head of UK & Ireland Business Development, Bank ABC
Rachel Jones. CEO SnapDragon: Founding Director Totseat Ltd.
James Withers. Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink. 
Nora Senior. Immediate past president of British Chambers and current Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Jane Richardson. Communications Director of Entrepreneurial Scotland
Afzal Khushi CBE - Director, Trespass

The expectation is that the Board will meet around 3-4 times per year. The draft remit and terms of reference will be agreed at the first meeting, which will be arranged shortly.

Source: Scottish Government

£135m Inverness City Region Deal Signed Off

BBC - The £315m Inverness City Region Deal has been formally signed off in a ceremony in Invergordon.

Representatives from Highland Council along with Scottish economy secretary Keith Brown and UK minister Andrew Dunlop attended the event.

Announced in March last year, the deal involves direct funding and greater borrowing powers.

There has been criticism that the funding package will not benefit the wider Highland area.

The signing ceremony in Invergordon included an agreement to release £12.25m of funding on three projects.

These are the Science Skills Academy STEMD, which is a a network of "science rooms" to promote learning in science and engineering, and the University of the Highlands and Islands' School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.

Also, a land remediation project which aims to make vacant land at Inverness' Longman available to businesses.

Other spending planned at a later date includes about £15m to turn Inverness Castle from a criminal and civil courts building into a tourist attraction.

Source: BBC News

Monday, 30 January 2017

New Report Proposes Digital Solutions For Weak Productivity

SCDI - The first Chief Digital Officer for Scotland should be appointed with responsibility to offer high-profile, expert leadership and challenge across the Scottish Government and the public and private sectors on how digital transformation can meet Scotland's key economic challenge of increasing productivity, according to a new report.

SCDI (Scottish Council for Development & Industry), Scotland IS , The Royal Society of Edinburgh and BT Scotland have joined forces to produce 'Digital Solutions to the Productivity Puzzle'. With input from a cross-section of industry leaders, it says that the Scottish Government and all sectors need to focus on utilising the new, world-class digital infrastructure in Scotland for higher economic growth and public service improvements over the next 5 years.

It calls for similar senior appointments across the public and private sectors to provide stronger leadership on digitalisation and action to recruit, train and continually develop more specialist Computer Science teachers. The report also makes recommendations on business transformation, data, skills and infrastructure and joint work to drive up digital adoption, usage, benefits and skills across the Scottish business base.

Availability of Next Generation Broadband in Scotland has increased significantly since 2011, from 41% of premises to 85% in 2015. Further investment has been announced in digital infrastructure in the draft Scottish Budget 2016-17. Around 95% of premises across Scotland will be able to access fibre broadband by the end of March 2018.

The recommendations were developed following research commissioned from the economist John McLaren and discussions by senior representatives of the industry and the public and private sectors in Scotland at a Digital & Productivity Forum. The research identified that developments in Information and Communications Technology have been, and are likely to continue to be, a key driver of productivity, but that the impact in the UK has fallen behind the US and other European countries [1]. It also found that while there is a crucial role to be played by invention and innovation as sources of productivity growth, there is an even greater role played by assimilation and ‘catching up’ by companies who are not at the forefront of technological progress.

It has been estimated that if Scotland became a digital world leader GDP would increase £13bn by 2030, compared to £4bn with only incremental improvements [2]. However, at the recent National Economic Forum, Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP commented on the slow speed of digitalisation in Scotland’s public sector, while a survey of Scottish businesses has found that over two-thirds are currently classed as basic browsers or tentative techies for digital adoption, usage, benefits and skills [3].  

The report highlights evidence that countries in which digital is contributing most to productivity growth, such as the US, combine ICT investment with new management structures and high skill levels, and that organisational redesigns will be required for Scotland to catch-up with them and realise the full potential from digital investments .

PwC reported last month that more of the world’s leading companies are appointing dedicated digital leaders with responsibility to transform them into a fully digital enterprise, but most are not embracing the Chief Digital Officer role quickly enough.

The recommendations in the report to drive business transformation are:

  • Digital should become integral to overall strategy and delivery in government, business and public services to capture the productivity gains (such as deeper understanding and engagement with customers) which can only happen if business models change, services are redesigned and if there is an understanding of the technology and leadership at the most senior levels
  • The first Chief Digital Officer for Scotland should be appointed to progress Digital Scotland development from infrastructure to economic growth and public service improvements
  • Chief Digital Officers should be appointed in all public bodies
  • The Scottish Government’s Digital Transformation Service should be mandated to work with all public bodies and not just central government
  • Scotland should have clear targets (measured in 2017 and 2020) to develop businesses towards the upper end of the Digital Economy Maturity Index. The aiming point should be for all businesses in Scotland to be at 'Enthusiastic Explorer' level or above
  • The role of the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership should be enhanced (or a new Digital Scotland group created) to identify and drive where smart utilisation of digital technology can increase productivity across all sectors and sizes of business (whether private or public sector)
  • Digital Champions should be appointed to all of Scottish Enterprise’s Industry Leadership Groups and more businesses should be encouraged to consider appointing Chief Digital Officers
  • A Scottish Productivity Commission, modelled on the international best practice such as those in Australia and New Zealand, should provide independent research, advice and performance monitoring to government and all sectors, under the direction of the Council of Economic Advisers 
Ross Martin, SCDI of Chief Executive, commented: 

“Poor productivity performance compared to our pre-financial crash record and to many other economies has bedevilled the Scottish economy in recent years, holding back growth and prosperity. Substantial leaps in productivity are difficult for a developed economy to make, so it will be key to seize this opportunity to work smarter, innovate and internationalise by transforming Scotland into a fully digital nation.
“This report proposes how the Scottish Government and all sectors can bring the same focus to realising the potential economic growth and public service improvements of digitalisation in the next five years as there is on digital infrastructure. We recommend the appointment of the first Chief Digital Officer for Scotland to provide leadership, advice and challenge at the most senior levels of government on the frontier of technological progress and similar appointments across the public and private sectors.
“There is a range of positive work in progress on digitalisation and some great examples of businesses  using digital technologies to better meet the needs of their customers. However, with economic headwinds strengthening, becoming a digital world-leader is essential if Scotland is to transition from a fragile to an agile economy.” 

Member of the SCDI’s Digital & Productivity Forum, Mark Dames, Head of Policy & Public Affairs for BT Scotland, commented: 

“We are now at a critical point in the development of Scotland as a digital nation. Access to high-speed internet has greatly increased in recent years thanks to commercial and publicly funded investment in fibre broadband. However, the success of exploiting digital technologies will be a decisive factor in whether Scotland achieves its economic growth objectives.
“Digital leadership is required to drive innovation in the private and public sectors; leadership to shift the agenda beyond infrastructure to focus on economic growth and improved public sector delivery; and leadership to ensure that the next generation of school leavers have the digital skills necessary to contribute to the future success of the nation and prosper in the global economy.”

In addition to the recommendations on business transformation, the report makes recommendations on future-proofing infrastructure, big data and skills development.

  • Everyone should have access to a minimum broadband speed of 10Mbit/s and 4G mobile coverage, and, after the current programmes, ultrafast broadband at 500Mbit/s and 5G mobile should be rolled out by 2025. Should there be market demand, this ambition should be raised to 1Gbit/s for key economic locations
  • Government, following widespread consultation, should develop a long-term framework which allays public concerns about data sharing and encourages an open, joined-up and industry-friendly approach by public bodies
  • A lead partner should be appointed to make recommendations on access and utilisation across data streams to drive productivity and innovation
  • More open innovation forums should be established where anonymised data on challenges can be analysed by industry and solutions developed
  • The national shortage of Computer Science teachers should be addressed with action to recruit, train and continually develop specialist teachers. The attractiveness of teaching careers, resources and profile of computer science should be raised so that the curriculum can be fully delivered, more young people study the subject and the gap in performance with leading countries closed [6]
  • Digital should be infused into teacher training and in-service CPD for every teacher to pass skills to the next generation as developing a digital literacy for all should be integral throughout the Curriculum for Excellence
  • Work-based skills development should be strengthened to capture the potential productivity gains from digital technologies by ensuring that staff have the range of coinciding digital, analytical and ‘soft’ skills, for example through ‘super users’ in SMEs and the wider use of the Scottish Union Learning course on basic digital skills

The participants in the Digital & Productivity Forum were from the following organisations:
Bank of Scotland; BT Scotland; CGI; City of Edinburgh Council; CodeBase; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; FSB Scotland; Grayling Public Affairs; Heriot Watt University; Interface; KTN UK; National Library of Scotland; NHS Health Scotland; Ofcom; Oracle Scotland; Royal Society of Edinburgh; Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society; SCDI; ScotlandIS; Scottish Cities Alliance; Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service; Scottish Enterprise; Scottish Environment Protection Agency; Scottish Government; Scottish Social Services Council; Skills Development Scotland; Smarter Grid Solutions; Virgin Media; and VisitScotland.

[1] OECD: The Future of Productivity, http://www.oecd.org/economy/the-future-of-productivity.htm 2015
[5] PwC Strategy, 2015 Chief Digital Officer Survey
[6] Computing at School Scotland, Briefing on Computer Science Education in Scotland, February 2015

Friday, 27 January 2017

UK Industrial Strategy: Consultation Launched

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a consultation regarding the development of a new UK Industrial Strategy.

The consultation closes on 17 April 2017, and responses can be made via an online survey, email or post. Click the link below to visit the consultation webpage.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Report Published: How Do Cities Lead An Inclusive Growth Agenda?

EISN - Inclusive growth is a major issue in the UK and internationally. The JRF research reviews evidence from international cities that have implemented an inclusive growth agenda to ensure that economic prosperity in their region benefits all.

The research examines ways of working that could be adopted by UK city leaders and finds that:

  • Cities in the UK have more limited local powers and responsibilities, but they are sites of new devolution and policy development, and there is scope for learning from ideas and experiences of inclusive growth internationally

  • Three key priorities are: paying greater attention to the demand side of the labour market, de-risking transitions into and within employment and building connectivity to enable individuals and areas to access growth opportunities.
The full report can be found on the JRF website.

Seminar with Professor Mariana Mazzucato – Friday 27th January 2017

"Smart and Inclusive Growth: A New Narrative on Wealth Creation"

Friday 27th January, 3pm - 5.30pm 
Room LG. 11, David Hume Tower 
George Square, University of Edinburgh 
Attendance Free

Focussing on the relationship between the State and innovation-led growth, the talk will look at the key role that public policies have had in envisioning change, and taking on extreme risk and uncertainty in the innovation process. This has entailed the State acting not just as lender of last resort, but as investor of first resort. In this context, economic policy is more about market making and shaping, rather than just a market fixing. 

The talk will then consider the implications of this different understanding of public policy, for a more 'collective' understanding of wealth creation, and ways to ensure that not only risks but also rewards are socialised.
*After the talk there will be a wider discussion with the whole audience. All attendees are then invited to attend an informal drinks reception from approximately 4.30pm*

Professor Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) holds the RM Phillips chair in the Economics of Innovation at SPRU in the University of Sussex. Her book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (Anthem 2013; US edition Public Affairs, 2015) was on the 2013 Books of the Year list of the Financial Times. Professor Mazzucato is winner of the 2014 New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, the 2015 Hans-Matthöfer-Preis and in 2013 the New Republic called her one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation'.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Scotland Sets 50% Renewable Energy Target

Half of Scotland's heat, transport and electricity energy needs will be met by renewables by 2030 under plans published by the Scottish government.

The draft Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a vision for the transition away from oil and gas dependency and towards a low-carbon economy by 2050.

Only 13% of Scotland's total final energy consumption came from renewable sources in 2013.

Environmental groups had been campaigning for the 50% target.

A public consultation on the proposals will run until the end of May.

'Fuel poverty'

Last week, the Scottish government set a new target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.

Its energy strategy, which was unveiled by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse at Holyrood, includes exploring the "re-powering" of existing power stations, which could see Longannet reopen as a coal-fired station with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

It also sets out an ambition for Scotland to be the first place in the UK where onshore wind energy schemes thrive without subsidy.

And it proposes the establishment of a Scottish government-owned energy company, with responsibility for helping the growth of local and community energy projects.

But the strategy says that "most important of all" is helping to end "fuel poverty misery", partly by greatly improving the energy efficiency of existing homes.

In his foreword to the report, Mr Wheelhouse stressed that exploration and production of oil and gas in Scottish waters "will continue to provide high-value employment and a stable energy supply for decades to come".

He added: "Our ambition is that these strengths should also provide the engineering and technical bedrock for the transformational change in Scotland's energy system over the coming decades."

The strategy suggests Scotland could take advantage of emerging ways of using hydrocarbons, for example in powering fuel cells in cars, and says the government will work with industry to look at opportunities for small-scale carbon capture and storage projects.

The strategy sets out a "renewed focus" on energy efficiency, pledging to make Scotland's buildings near zero carbon by 2050.

Views are also sought on the role of "green bonds" and alternative financial models for supporting low carbon technologies and services.

The government said it would announce details of up to £50m in funding for 13 projects across Scotland which would demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions.

Data published last year showed that Scotland had exceeded a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% six years early.

'Landmark proposal'

Mr Wheelhouse told MSPs in the Holyrood chamber on Tuesday afternoon that the country could take pride in its achievements.

But he said more progress was needed, particularly in the supply of low-carbon heat and transport, if the country was to remain on track to meet its ambitious climate change goals.

Mr Wheelhouse added: "To maintain momentum, a new 2030 all energy renewables target is proposed in our energy strategy, setting an ambitious challenge to deliver the equivalent of half of 

Scotland's energy requirements for heat, transport and electricity from renewable energy sources.

"I hope that members will welcome this landmark proposal given the support shown for such an ambition last month in this chamber during the debate on support for Scotland's renewables sector."

'Strong message'

Environmental group WWF Scotland welcomed the 50% target, which it said sent a "strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that Scotland plans to build on its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors".

The target was unanimously welcomed by opposition parties, but they called for more detail on how it would be achieved.

Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett said considerable investment was needed in renewable heat and energy-efficiency measures.

Labour's Jackie Baillie said the target was rightly ambitious but added that the challenge would be in implementation.

And Mark Ruskell of the Scottish Greens said the government must match its new target with a commitment to "keep Scotland frack-free".

He also called for more detail on how almost two million homes could be switched to low-carbon heating by 2032 in order to meet the target of 80% of domestic heat coming from low-carbon sources.

Source: BBC News

Scottish Government to Strengthen Ties with Japan

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop is to visit Japan next month to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two countries.

During the visit she will meet with business and political leaders with discussions set to focus on areas of economic growth including renewable energy, education, science and research and trade and investment.

Ahead of her visit to Japan, Ms Hyslop met with Mitsubishi Electric, a world leading supplier of energy efficient air conditioning equipment, based in Livingston.

This plant makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and has created 420 jobs over the last four years with around 920 people employed at their premises in Livingston.
Speaking at the Mitsubishi Air Conditioning Systems Europe factory, Ms Hyslop said:

“Japan is ‎an important international partner for Scotland. We have a long and positive relationship which is built on many strong economic, social and cultural connections. Mitsubishi Electric with their world class facilities here in Livingston is a fantastic example of a Japanese company operating in Scotland, employing over 900 people with huge potential for future growth.

“I want to develop these economic links and plan to meet with Mitsubishi Electric next month in Japan to reiterate our commitment to supporting their long term growth in Scotland.

“It is important that we continue to develop our relationship with countries across the world.  Japan is one of the world’s largest economies, a global leader in science and engineering, and home to a unique and vibrant culture.  Scotland enjoys many strong partnerships with Japan in business, education, culture and the arts that bring many benefits for both our countries.  I look forward to supporting the growth of such partnerships and to reassuring businesses and investors in Japan that despite the Brexit vote, Scotland remains an open and attractive place to do business.”

Source: Scottish Government

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Upcoming EDAS CPD Courses: Upgrade Your Economic Development Knowledge and Analytical Skills for 2017!

This March, EDAS is offering the opportunity to upgrade the knowledge and analytical skills of you and your team with the delivery of our popular economic development CPD courses. The courses are delivered in partnership with the TERU centre of the University of Glasgow, and the CPD points gained are recognised by the Institute for Economic Development (IED).

On Tuesday 7 March in Glasgow, Update to Policy and Practice in Economic Development will provide a unique professional development opportunity for those with a good basis in local economic development, giving key insight and understanding on the changing economic and policy circumstances. Topics cover the areas of: Challenges Facing Scotland's Economy and Future Scenarios; Emerging Economic Policy in Scotland and the UK; Scotland's Businesses and Sectors; and Scotland's People. The CPD points earned from the course are recognised by the Institute for Economic Development (IED). EDAS members receive a substantial discount on course attendance – join today to benefit from this. Read more and book.  

On Tuesday 21 – Wednesday 22 March in Edinburgh, Introduction to Economic Development will give an ideal two-day introduction to all aspects of economic development. The course covers Scotland's economy and economic strategy, and how economic development can be more successful in combating unemployment, boosting growth, building the skills base and developing entrepreneurship. EDAS members receive a substantial discount on course attendance – join today to benefit from this. Read more and book.  

The CPD points earned from our courses are recognised by the Institute for Economic Development (IED).

The courses are delivered in partnership with the TERU centre of the University of Glasgow.

New research highlights billions of pounds of diversification opportunities for Scotland’s oil and gas sector

Scottish Enterprise - A new guide aimed at Scotland’s oil and gas supply chain to maximise opportunities in additional markets has been published today by Scottish Enterprise.

The economic development agency’s Oil and Gas Diversification Opportunities guide is accompanied by a series of factsheets which profile opportunities in ten growth markets, including:

  • Offshore Wind: the UK has more offshore wind than any other country, having attracted £10 billion of investment between 2010 and 2015. A further £18 billion will be invested in new projects between 2016 and 2020.
  • Heating & Cooling: Scotland is the lead region in the UK for renewable heat projects, having gained 19% of the Renewable Heat Incentive funding to date. The cost of decarbonising Scottish heating systems is estimated to reach £100 billion by 2050.
  • Oil & Gas Decommissioning: £17.6 billion is expected to be spent on oil & gas decommissioning across the UKCS between 2016 and 2025.  By 2055, this figure is anticipated to reach £50 billion.
  • Nuclear Decommissioning: The UK spends £2-3 billion per annum on nuclear decommissioning activities and is forecast to spend £117 billion over a 100+ year period to fully decommission its existing nuclear sites.
Director of energy at Scottish Enterprise, Maggie McGinlay, said: “Whilst the North Sea will continue to have a long term future for Scotland’s oil and gas sector, the current global challenges have highlighted the need for supply chain companies to leverage their skills and experience built up over the last 50 years to target opportunities in other sectors. 

“Through the Energy Jobs Taskforce we have prioritised our support to help them do just that.  The new guide and factsheets aim to provide companies with an understanding of the main diversification opportunities and how they can maximise them to protect jobs, skills and investment in Scotland.  It complements our existing diversification support to companies such as our Offshore Wind Expert Support Service.”

FoundOcean, the world’s largest dedicated offshore grouting specialist, first entered the offshore wind industry in 2010 following a 50 year history in oil & gas. From its European Offshore Service Base in Livingston, the firm has successfully secured global contracts within the growing offshore wind sector, which now accounts for around 50 per cent of the firm’s revenues.

Andrew Venn, FoundOcean sales director said: “We realised that offshore wind was a market that offered us a diversification opportunity right on our doorstep and we identified that there was a gap in the market for companies, like ourselves, able to offer competitive and innovative solutions. Entering the offshore wind sector is challenging but get it right and it can be a long-term part of a company’s strategic vision with excellent global prospects.” 

Ten years ago, Aberdeenshire manufacturing firm Flowline Specialist also expanded into the renewables sector.  Its recent key projects include Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, SEM REV marine renewable energies test site and the Bay of Fundy tidal turbine.

Managing director of Flowline Specialist, Jim Smith added: “At Flowline Specialists we realised that in order to grow our company we would require to achieve two goals. Firstly, expand our products and services geographically. Secondly, diversify into other industrial sectors, preferably new growing industries. We focussed on our core products and skills then tried to match them into other sectors. Technology transfer, innovative solutions, keeping an open mind and thinking outside the box are key to success.”

The new diversification guide contributes to Scottish Enterprise’s overall aim of encouraging companies to look at new opportunities to maximise growth.  It builds on the series of 50 Oil and Gas Opportunity Country Guides launched in November last year.

Commenting on supporting diversification opportunities in the oil and gas sector, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, added: “The North Sea has a bright future and the Scottish Government is determined to do all that it can to support the thousands of people working in the oil and gas sector, who contribute so much to our economy.

“The goal of the Energy Jobs Taskforce is to ensure this highly skilled and internationally respected workforce can not only drive the development of our own oil and gas industry, and drive export growth through international supply chain opportunities, but also utilise their transferable skills and expertise to contribute to other sectors, such as decommissioning and offshore wind.

“We’re already seeing companies diversify successfully into new markets and this guide is designed to help everyone involved build on that success by maximising the economic benefits for the north east and, indeed, the whole of Scotland.”

The diversification guide and factsheets will be launched at an event tonight, 18 January, at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce offices from 6pm.  It will include presentations highlighting the key opportunities as well as hearing from a company which has already successfully diversified into new markets.  To find out more visit our website

More information:

To access the diversification guide and factsheets, please click on the links below:


Volunteer Management Training Course, Edinburgh [07/03/17]

This course makes recruitment, management and, most importantly, engagement of volunteers easy. It encourages you to look closely at the motivations of volunteers and the organisations that use them, and draws on contemporary approaches including co-production and the use of non-hierarchical teams.


Wednesday 8th March 2017
10am - 4pm


The Melting Pot, 5 Rose St, Edinburgh, EH2 2PR


• Why people get involved in volunteering and why understanding motivations is so important
• Creating roles for volunteers
• Recruitment & Publicity
• How to share examples of what works well and why
• Keeping people involved: inductions, support and appraisals
• Volunteering and the Law
• Concepts of co-production and working with volunteer partners in non-hierarchical structures

The day includes plenty of group work, exercises and discussion – you definitely won’t be staring at power point all day. You’ll also be given lots of opportunities to discuss your own experiences and develop personal strategies to aid your work.

As a participant you will come away with:

• Practical ideas for recruiting, inducting, engaging with and supporting volunteers better in your organisation or group – the beginnings of an action plan.
• Activities that you can use back in your organisation with volunteers or other staff or trustees as part of your volunteer management strategy
• Examples of tools to help you with volunteer management, and a signpost for where to go for more information
• A group of peers tackling similar issues for you to keep in touch with and share information and experiences with as you take your action plans forwards
• An action plan for improving or embarking on volunteer management

Who should attend this course?

Any organisation involved in voluntary work or volunteer-led group looking to engage others or support each other better. Whether you are conducting a borough-wide consultation, national volunteer programme, involving an intern or rejuvenating the membership of your local residents association, you will benefit from this day.


£425: Large Business/Corporate
£338: Large charities, public sector and businesses
£195: Smaller charities (under 15 staff) and individuals.

Tailored/bespoke courses can be arranged for groups at a date and location to suit you.
Concessionary rates are available for students, pensioners and the unemployed.
Prices include a hot buffet lunch, Fair Trade refreshments and networking time.

To book a place:

Tel: 02073244775

Source: Talk Action

Job Opportunity: Senior Analyst, Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) [Deadline 06/02/17]

This is a full time position although applications from those seeking alternative working patterns are welcomed. This post may also be suitable for a secondment (subject to the donor organisation’s agreement). Read original job ad here.

Salary Range: £41,236 to £50,141

Location: Holyrood, Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament exists to define, debate, decide and legislate on issues of importance to the people of Scotland. The Parliament scrutinises the work of the Scottish Government and is answerable to the people of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) provides research, information and documentation services to the Parliament. Within SPICe, a team of 27 researchers working within three research units provide expert information and briefing to MSPs, their staff, parliamentary committees and to the staff of the Parliament in relation to their parliamentary duties. This work includes responding to enquiries, providing briefing on bills and on committee inquiries.

Based in the Financial Scrutiny Unit of SPICe you will provide support to ensure that there is statistical and analytical rigour in SPICe outputs, and you will undertake impartial economic and financial analysis.

You will be an enthusiastic, highly motivated individual with substantial knowledge and experience in statistical analysis relating to public policy, along with an understanding of economics and finance, including economic modelling. You will have knowledge of analytical methods, enquiry handling, excellent communication skills, a flexible approach to work and the ability to work efficiently under time pressure. A degree or professional qualification in a relevant subject is desirable, and you will be able to demonstrate considerable work-related experience in an economic and financial context.

How to Apply

Read the job information and complete the application form.  Alternatively email jobs@scottish.parliament.uk or write to the Scottish Parliament, Human resources Office, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.  Applications from Gaelic speakers are welcome.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 6 February 2017.

The Scottish Parliament is committed to achieving a diverse workforce which reflects our diverse communities and we welcome applications from all. We are an autism friendly building, have supportive family friendly policies, a room for prayer or reflection, and staff groups which support diversity in the workforce. We offer excellent benefits with great opportunities to work flexibly during your working week, generous holidays (40.5 days’ leave including public holidays) and the opportunity to join the Civil Service pension arrangement.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Scottish Government Announces Funding for Innovation Projects

Three pilot projects will receive a total of £1 million to drive forward new approaches to innovation.
Toshiba Medical Visualisations Systems, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the NHS Innovation Partnership Board, will receive £400,000 to develop a health and wellbeing pilot that will focus on the rapid prototyping and adoption of solutions to inflammatory bowel disease.

CivTech, a digital accelerator which aims to harness innovation in Scotland’s small business and start up technology sector to create new and/or more efficient public services, will receive £200,000. 
£400,000 will be used to support work with Codebase on the development of  a digital pilot in Edinburgh that will focus on scaling up digital entrepreneurs.

Announcing the funding, Minister Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said:

“We want to support business innovation and to help companies thrive.  The £1 million I am announcing today will make a real difference, such as the use of the public sector to catalyse innovation in projects such as CivTech, the world’s first cross public sector technology accelerator.”
Mr Wheelhouse announced the funding alongside a new Innovation Action Plan for Scotland, aimed at boosting Scotland’s innovation performance to match the levels of the best performing countries in the OECD.

Early priorities will be to:
  • Directly encourage more business innovation
  • Use public sector needs and spend to catalyse innovation
  • Support innovation across different sectors
  • Make best use of university research knowledge and talent to drive growth and equip Scotland’s people with the tools and skills needed to innovate
He added:

“We want to create a culture in Scotland that supports ambitious businesses to use innovation to grow.  Our long term ambition is to be in the top quartile of nations in the OECD for innovation active businesses.

“This Innovation Action Plan, developed with stakeholders and the Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum identifies  early steps we can take to support and encourage innovation:.

“We aspire to see Scotland in the top-quartile in the OECD for productivity and innovation active businesses and recognise that, whilst there has been progress in recent years, there is more that we need to do to further increase levels of business innovation and business expenditure on research and development to improve Scotland’s economic competitiveness and, through that, make the economic gains that will drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”


The full Innovation Action Plan can be accessed here: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/scotland-innovation-action-plan-scotland/

New PhD scholarships available for study in the Fraser of Allander Institute

New PhD scholarships are available for study in the Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde. 

Regional Migration (supervised by: Marco Alfano and Graeme Roy)

Migration has been central to much of the political upheaval over the last year. This project will investigate the pattern of migration to Scotland and the UK to help improve our understanding of the economic characteristics of migrants, their impact on the economy and relevant policy implications.

Developing econometric forecasting models for the UK regions using Bayesian methods (supervised by: Gary Koop and Stuart McIntyre)

Timely economic forecasts are critical for improving our understanding of the modern economy. This project will develop mixed-frequency econometric models to forecast UK regional economic variables using Bayesian methods.

The Macroeconomic effects of inclusive growth (supervised by: Katerina Lisenkova and Graeme Roy)

The role of inequality as a driver of growth is gaining traction. This project will analyse the macroeconomic effects of the Scottish Government’s ‘inclusive growth’ agenda via a multi-sectoral macroeconomic modelling framework.

For further details: click here or contact – fraser@strath.ac.uk

Published: 21 December 2016

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Scottish Government Opens Consultation on Planning System Modernisation

Scottish Housing News - Keenly-awaited proposals for transforming the planning system have been positively received by the country’s home builders.

Yesterday the Scottish Government set out 20 proposals for revamping the system, which it said will support economic growth, delivery of houses and increase community involvement in planning decisions. They form a consultation which will pave the way for a planning bill to be brought forward this year.

The proposals build on recommendations of an independent review carried out by a panel of experts last year. Key changes include zoning more land for housing, promoting self-build and removing the need to apply for planning permission for more types of development. The consultation also seeks views on new rights for communities to produce their own plans for their local area.

Planning minister Kevin Stewart visited the Pennywell development in Edinburgh, where he launched the consultation. The project will deliver 719 new energy efficient homes for the area with 356 properties for affordable rent and 363 for private sale, and has been a catalyst for wider regeneration through providing infrastructure improvements, local investment, local jobs, training opportunities and community engagement.

He said: “Planning affects everyone’s lives, from making sure we have the right types of homes to driving forward regeneration.

“We need a strong and efficient system to support these aims and for long-term economic growth. I believe these proposals will mean we are better placed to make high quality development happen sooner and in the right places.
“I firmly believe that Scotland’s planners can lead the delivery of great places, empower communities and provide a stable environment for investment through the uncertain times we live in. I would encourage everyone with an interest in planning – developers and businesses, professionals and local authorities, communities and members of the public – to tell us what they think of our proposals for change.”

Industry body Homes for Scotland said delivery of new homes must be the “golden thread” running through transformation of planning system.

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “We agree with the minister for local government & housing that planning should be inspiring, influential and focused on outcomes.
“Reinforcing the need for such a new perspective are recent performance figures showing planning decision times for major housing applications slowing further to 48.5 weeks, more than three times the statutory period.

“Scotland needs significantly more homes for its growing population but builders are finding it harder than ever to make a start on new sites and get houses out of the ground.

“We are therefore pleased to see some of the recommendations we put forward during the course of the independent review, such as the introduction of clear national and regional aspirations for housing delivery and ‘embedding an infrastructure first approach’, incorporated into today’s consultation.

“But more detail is needed on how other proposals, such as ‘giving people an opportunity to plan their own place’, would work in practice so we will be listening closely to the views of our members as we review the consultation document in depth and develop our submission.

“Ensuring we have the homes we need to deliver Scotland’s future economic success and social well-being must be the golden thread running through this transformation.”
Scottish planning body PAS said it supports the consultation’s aims to get more people involved in planning.

Petra Biberbach, PAS chief executive, said: “This is a great opportunity for people and communities across Scotland to actively shape and inform the future Planning Bill that will follow on from this consultation. We welcome the focus on getting more people involved in the planning system and in shaping their places and communities.

“This consultation and subsequent Planning Bill have the potential to unlock many opportunities for communities across Scotland, through getting people more involved in planning, through some of the proposed changes to the system, but importantly through linking directly with community planning, the Community Empowerment Act and Land Reform Act to help achieve the aims of the planning system, supporting community ownership and community-led ‘local place plans’.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland (RTPI Scotland) said it was delighted that Kevin Stewart has published a vision for the future of planning that places people and communities at the heart of a positive and proactive system.

Stefano Smith, RTPI Scotland convenor, said: “This announcement recognises the huge potential of good planning to help Scotland face the daunting challenges of today, such as the housing crisis and climate change. It echoes many of the game-changing ideas that RTPI Scotland has been championing.

“RTPI Scotland agrees that removing the need to obtain permission for certain types of small development, and careful exploration of zoning for high quality and sustainable housing development could free up resources. This would give planners more time to invest in delivering the high quality sustainable places that Scotland needs.

“The ambitions outlined will not be realised without making sure that planning expertise is at the decision-making table at all levels of government. We would like the reforms to take a step further to guarantee a more corporate approach to planning, so that place is always taken into account, from conversations about education and inequality to health and the environment.”

The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) described the government’s proposals to increase fees and resources significantly for major planning applications in Scotland as a major turning point for local authority planning services around the country.

Welcoming the news that the new fees are to remain competitive with like for like charges south of the border, the SPF said it would have liked to have seen greater certainty that additional resources released by the planning fees would be used for the purposes of improving the planning service in each local authority.

Paul Curran, chairman of the SPF, said: “It is important that we maintain our competiveness. To grow the economy, we must kick-start more development across the commercial and residential sectors.

“These significantly increased planning fees must lead to a significant improvement in the speed and manner that major applications are dealt with.  The additional resources must be utilised to provide appropriate resources to deliver these critical improvements in the planning service.”

He added: “Modern major development is a very complex business involving a plethora of regulatory requirements, complicated finance and risk. Currently the development markets in Scotland are seeing low levels of activity across the country as a whole although there are some hot-spots such as Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square.”

The consultation, “Places, people and planning” runs until Tuesday 4 April, and can be accessed here.

The Scottish Government’s 20 proposals for revamping the planning system

  1. Aligning community planning and spatial planning. This can be achieved by introducing a requirement for development plans to take account of wider community planning and can be supported through future guidance.
  2. Regional partnership working. We believe that strategic development plans should be removed from the system so that strategic planners can support more proactive regional partnership working.
  3. Improving national spatial planning and policy. The National Planning Framework (NPF) can be developed further to better reflect regional priorities. In addition, national planning policies can be used to make local development planning simpler and more consistent.
  4. Stronger local development plans. We believe the plan period should be extended to 10 years, and that ‘main issues reports’ and supplementary guidance should be removed to make plans more accessible for people. A new ‘gatecheck’ would help to improve plan examinations by dealing with significant issues at an earlier stage.
  5. Making plans that deliver. We can strengthen the commitment that comes from allocating development land in the plan, and improve the use of delivery programmes to help ensure that planned development happens on the ground.
  6. Giving people an opportunity to plan their own place. Communities should be given a new right to come together and prepare local place plans. We believe these plans should form part of the statutory local development plan.
  7. Getting more people involved in planning. A wider range of people should be encouraged and inspired to get involved in planning. In particular, we would like to introduce measures that enable children and young people to have a stronger voice in decisions about the future of their places.
  8. Improving public trust. Pre-application consultation can be improved, and there should be greater community involvement where proposals are not supported in the development plan. We also propose to discourage repeat applications and improving planning enforcement.
  9. Keeping decisions local – rights of appeal. We believe that more review decisions should be made by local authorities rather than centrally. We also want to ensure that the system is sufficiently flexible to reflect the distinctive challenges and opportunities in different parts of Scotland.
  10. Being clear about how much housing land is required. Planning should take a more strategic view of the land required for housing development. Clearer national and regional aspirations for new homes are proposed to support this.
  11. Closing the gap between planning consent and delivery of homes. We want planning authorities to take more steps to actively help deliver development. Land reform could help to achieve this.
  12. Releasing more ‘development ready’ land. Plans should take a more strategic and flexible approach to identifying land for housing. Consents could be put in place for zoned housing land through greater use of Simplified Planning Zones.
  13. Embedding an infrastructure first approach. There is a need for better co-ordination of infrastructure planning at a national and regional level. This will require a stronger commitment to delivering development from all infrastructure providers.
  14. A more transparent approach to funding infrastructure. We believe that introducing powers for a new local levy to raise additional finance for infrastructure would be fairer and more effective. Improvements can also be made to Section 75 obligations.
  15. Innovative infrastructure planning. Infrastructure planning needs to look ahead so that it can deliver low carbon solutions, new digital technologies and the facilities that communities need.
  16. Developing skills to deliver outcomes. We will work with the profession to improve and broaden skills.
  17. Investing in a better service. There is a need to increase planning fees to ensure the planning service is better resourced.
  18. A new approach to improving performance. We will continue work to strengthen the way in which performance is monitored, reported and improved.
  19. Making better use of resources – efficient decision making. We will remove the need for planning consent from a wider range of developments. Targeted changes to development management will help to ensure decisions are made more quickly and more transparently.
  20. Innovation, designing for the future and the digital transformation of the planning service. There are many opportunities to make planning work better through the use of information technology. The planning service should continue to pioneer the digital transformation of public services.

Design in the Public Sector: An Interactive Map

Across Europe and the world, a growing number of governments and public sector organisations have been turning to design as a new approach to help them solve complex challenges and improve the way they work. But who are the main players? Where are the communities and governments active in this area? Which different agencies, government departments, associations, think tanks and educational institutions are innovating public services using design?

To help a wider audience better understand and connect with this growing ecosystem, Nesta and Paris-based lab La 27e Région have created an interactive map in English and French to highlight the activities, successes and networks that are already out there. The map has been developed as part of Design for Europe, a three-year EU-funded programme to support design-driven innovation across the continent.

From specialised units in central governments to small teams in local regions, the map features almost 140 organisations working in the field of design and the public sector, in Europe and beyond, which we hope will act as an inspiration for others who want to start their own design journey.
And this is just the beginning. The map provides a snapshot of the sector and demonstrates the wide mix of players involved, and we are continuing to add more organisations, particularly in Britain, North and South America and Asia.

  • The map features 42 active local authorities working in this area (cities, counties, etc) and three public institutions, along with 22 organisations operating at national government level.
  • On the service supply side, it has 33 specialist agencies focused on design in the public sector.
  • There are 19 associations, think and do-tanks, foundations or initiatives of general interest.
  • Worldwide, the map features 17 design schools and educational organisations applying design to the public sector.
These organisations have all be added to the map during our first round of research, and we’ll continue to update it. You are also invited to make suggestions for new organisations via this online form.

How to use the map
  • The organisations are sorted by six different categories: governments, public institutions, local authorities, schools, private agencies, associations of general interest.
  • Each organisation is presented with its name, location, date of creation, link to the website, and details of activities and design projects.
  • You can browse the content in several different ways: through the map, by creation date on the timeline, or through the directory of all the organisations.
  • You can help build the map by submitting the details of any new actors or organisations you think should be featured; just click the ‘Propose a new organisation’ button.
We hope that you find the map useful, and any comments or feedback is most welcome - please send us an email at designforeurope@nesta.org.uk.

Source: Nesta

Save the Date 10-11 April 2017 - 13th Annual Meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development

Increasing Productivity, Job Creation and Inclusion from the Bottom-Up.

Prague, Czech Republic.

Registration will open in February 2017.

For further information about the event, please contact the OECD Secretariat.

In co-operation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The OECD LEED Forum on Partnership and Local Development is led by the OECD LEED Programme with the support of Pobal (Ireland), the Australian National Employment Services Association (NESA), the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR-SLK), the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and ESF-Agency Flanders, Belgium.

Cross Party Group on Skills: 2017 Meeting Dates

The next meeting of the Cross Party Group on Skills will take place 1300-1400 on Tuesday 24 January 2017 in Committee Room 4 of the Scottish Parliament. 

Mhairi Harrington, Principal, West Lothian College will present on College Scotland’s recently published Think Piece ‘The Learning and Skills Journey’ which sets on a vision for a new coherent and equitable post-16 learning framework.

The dates for future meetings are as follows:
·         Tuesday 21 March 2017 – 1300-1400 in Committee Room 3
·         Tuesday 20 June 2017  - 1300-1400 in Committee Room 4.

Please contact Joanne.Buchan@collegesscotland.ac.uk for information or to register attendance. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Report Published on Key Challenges for the Scottish Skills System

EISN - IPPR Scotland explore the current and future challenges facing the Scottish skills system and outlines the areas for action that will be needed to ensure that these challenges can be successfully met.

Developing a skills system that meets the needs of an ever-changing labour market is one of the biggest issues facing the Scottish government over the coming years. Scotland currently faces challenges around productivity, progression and pay, and, more generally, economic growth. In the longer term, technological and demographic changes will alter our economy and society, and will mean people will work longer, in multiple careers and for multiple employers. The skills system will need to reform and adapt to meet these challenges.

This discussion paper aims to stimulate debate and generate ideas for the future of the skills system in Scotland. It is informed by stakeholder events and interviews that set out to speak with people working directly with and within the skills system and those interacting with it. It outlines 10 future challenges for the skills system, and six priorities for action that must provide the focus in the short term in order to ready the skills system for the long term.

This paper forms part of a series of reports from IPPR Scotland in relation to skills in Scotland.

Key Findings
There have been substantial changes in the skills system in Scotland in recent years. These have included a move towards regionalisation, most notably in the college sector, the introduction of outcome agreements for further and higher education provision, a focus on full-time, recognised qualifications across the system and an emphasis on young people.

Our research with those in the skills system in Scotland, and those interacting with it, aims to understand the future challenges it faces, and the priorities for action in the short term to ready the skills system for the long term. In developing this work, we undertook a series of stakeholder events and interviews to speak with people working in and with the skills system in Scotland.

The purpose of this discussion paper is to stimulate debate and generate ideas for the future of the skills system in Scotland. This paper forms one part of a series of reports from IPPR Scotland, which will build a picture of where the skills system is now, where it needs to be to meet the needs of the future, and what decisions are required to enable it to do so. We believe a well-functioning skills system in Scotland needs to be at the heart of meeting many of the challenges that Scotland faces.

There are 10 key challenges facing the skills system in Scotland:

  • Funding the skills system in Scotland in the future
  • Addressing current weakness in the economy and delivering inclusive growth
  • Responding to the increasing pace of change and disruption in the economy
  • Promoting a high-skill business model among employers
  • Encouraging employees and learners to upskill and progress
  • The changing effects of globalisation, Brexit and migration
  • Demographic change and shifting demand from the labour market
  • Longer working lives, multiple careers, multiple employers and the transferability of learning throughout learners' careers
  • Technological advances and the opportunities for new, more efficient learning methods and pedagogies within the skills system
  • Automation in the economy reaching mid-skill roles, and the need to produce technologically-savvy learners and employees.

A number of issues were raised consistently by our attendees and interviewees, which we have brought together into six priorities for action for the skills system in Scotland:

  • Embedding an outcome approach and setting a clear national purpose of the skills system
  • Regional integration of the skills system
  • Clarifying roles of learning routes within the skills system
  • Learners and employers co-designing a responsive skills system
  • Improving flexibility of learning
  • Increasing transferability of learning.
Action in these six areas will prepare the skills system in Scotland to meet the long-term challenges it faces, and to be at the centre of driving the changes that Scotland will need to see over the coming years.

The full report can be found on the IPPR website.
Source: Employability in Scotland Network