Fairer Scotland event for Community Councils 2: Future challenges and opportunities – Mark McAteer

This presentation was given by Mark McAteer, who stood in for Colin Mair, the IS’ chief executive. (Mr Mair was suddenly unable to attend due for personal reasons.) His main themes seemed to be

  • because public-sector cash is going to get tighter, things will change and CCs will be asked to do more. (I’ve already encountered this when an Edinburgh Council staffer asked Leith Central CC what health and social care information it gathers in its community. It doesn’t – firstly no-one asked it to. Secondly, how can 8 people gather accurate information on 20,000 residents?)
  • CCs need to lead, to take opportunities (not wait to be given them), and earn the right to represent.

I’m right behind the latter – but it applies to all representatives as far as I am concerned. Leading from the front, by example, is where it’s at. I had a long time in Scouting, and this is what works. You need to inspire, teach by example, and have boundless patience. I’m not saying I’m any good at this – I vastly prefer to sit behind my Mac and twiddle numbers and code – but stuff needs to be done. As the Manics put it, Who’s responsible? You ******* are!

But having said that, CCllrs will have to develop rhinoceros-strength hides to deal with public opprobrium when they make decisions people don’t like. And for every decision, you will find someone who doesn’t like it. Perhaps this is a training need that should be explored.

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