Scotland’s provosts have an important role to play – Association
Scotland’s provosts play a vital role in helping to empower their communities, according to a group representing the country’s civic heads.
The Scottish Provosts’ Association, which was formed in 2014, held their first conference in Edinburgh last week.
Vice-president, Councillor Malcolm Bell, who is convener of Shetland Islands Council, told Holyrood the event was a big success.
Provosts and civic heads have an important role to play
He added: “We relaunched the association in April last year and it has been an aspiration to have a conference. We are delighted to have been able to hold this event. Re-coupling Civic Leadership was the title and it was very much looking at the landscape of local government and civic governance at the current time. We looked at the problems and opportunities, and then we looked at the civic head’s role, compared to that of, say, the council leader.
“There’s no doubt in terms of the political landscape over the next few years and the [inevitable] downward pressure on public spending, we’re in for a difficult time. Provosts and civic heads have an important role to play in that landscape, in their communities.”
Provost Jill Webster of Aberdeenshire Council added that the provosts of Scotland’s local authorities help build civic pride, celebrate achievements in local communities and promote their regions.
“The [conference] was extremely useful in discussing the enhancement of the opportunities of the role to further promote economic development in Scotland through inward investment. There are also opportunities for the Scottish Provosts’ Association to promote the importance of local government collectively as well as the empowerment of local communities,” she said.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are no directly elected mayors, as the devolved administrations have chosen not to introduce the system.
Local councils in Scotland are presided over by either a provost or lord provost and in Wales and Northern Ireland by a mayor or lord mayor. All such posts are ceremonial and apolitical, with council leaders acting as political head of the administration.