COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) has held its elections to some of the top jobs in Scotland: President and Vice President.
Councillor Shona Morrison (Moray, Council) has been elected as the 16th President of COSLA following a meeting of the full Convention in Edinburgh, June 17th and Councillor Steven Heddle (Orkney Islands Council) was appointed Vice-President.
Steven Heddle said:
“I am delighted to be elected to the position of COSLA Vice President. It is a wonderful opportunity and a role that I am honoured to take on, on behalf of the whole of Local Government.”
Steven Heddle was Convener of Orkney Islands Council from 2012-2017, during which time he shared the 2013 Herald Local Politician of the Year Award and 2014 Scottish Public Service Award for Leadership. He served as President of the CPMR Islands Commission from 2014-16, as a board member of NHS Orkney from 2015-17 and as a member of the COSLA Commission for Strengthening Local Democracy. He was CoSLA Spokesperson for the Environment and Economy from 2017-2022 and is a visiting professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Steven Heddle continued:
“I’ve been working at COSLA in different roles for the past ten years- first as a Council Leader, then as a COSLA spokesperson- so this is in a sense an evolvement of my work nationally. It is undoubtedly quite a responsibility to work with the President to ensure the harmonious operation of Local Government’s representative organisation, representing 32 councils who face very different challenges but who all have a common purpose to do their best for the people in their council areas in what is really quite a harsh environment at present.
“Despite different political viewpoints the council leaders who come to COSLA work very well together and a key part of our role is represent their consensus firmly and clearly to our national governments and beyond to achieve the best results for our communities and the country.”
“I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to Shona Morrison on her election as COSLA’s new President. We are both from the north of Scotland so have a lot in common and I am sure will work well together. I’m also very grateful to the Independent group at COSLA and James Stockan as group leader for their support and the work he did behind the scenes to make my election possible.”
Councillor John Ross Scott, has passed on his congratulations to Councillor Heddle. Councillor Scott said:
“This is a well-deserved accolade for Steven who has played such a pivotal role for Orkney at COSLA over the past ten years. His ability to work closely with council colleagues and national politicians from all parties on key issues will put him in good stead to hone his skills for the challenging times that lie ahead.
“This proves once again that the only way Independent Councils can make any impact on the national stage is to work closely in collaboration with political parties on specific issue – in this case the SNP for supporting Steven, but in the past in the case of fairer ferry funding with the Greens and Liberal Democrats. We need to do more of this to ensure Orkney gets what it needs.”
The new President of COSLA Councillor Morrison said:
“I am honoured to be elected President of COSLA and excited to take on this opportunity in one of the top political jobs in Scotland.
“I look forward to continuing the progress which has already been made on a cross party basis over the last five-year term.
“I am clear about the pressures faced by Local Government and the challenges and opportunities ahead. This is an important job and a challenge I will relish and give my all to. I am a politician and a member of a political party, however my focus in this role will be on the ‘Team Local Government’.
“Working with the Vice President and the Spokespeople at COSLA, I’m confident we will deliver on our key priorities as we work together to be the voice for local Councils and champion the essential services they continue to provide under increasingly challenging circumstances.
“I would like to congratulate Cllr Heddle on their election as Vice-President and also pay tribute to the sterling work done by my predecessor Councillor Alison Evison and Vice President Councillor Graham Houston.”
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