Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas and Very Best Wishes for 2015 :-)


My last day in the Office this year ...

... and I am planning to have a bit of a break from 'the blog/facebook/twitter/blipfoto' over the next couple of weeks.

Normal service will resume on Monday 5th January 2015  ;-)

I am in-and-around Edinburgh over the holiday-period, but sort-of-hoping to reacquaint myself with the family! My work e-mails are though being read by staff, so if you need to get in touch urgently, then that's the best way to do so: andrew.burns@edinburgh.gov.uk

I am also available on the mobile if its a real emergency ...

... hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Very Best Wishes for 2015 :-)

 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Allotment Update - at last :-)


That Scottish Labour Leader contest finally over ...

... and I actually managed to snatch a few moments down at the Allotment for the first time in weeks.

Everything appears in good order.

All is - after all - well in the world :-)


P.S. I should add that my better-half has been a regular attendee in between time!

Scottish Cities Alliance meeting tomorrow


Scottish Cities Alliance meeting, in Glasgow, tomorrow - I have briefly mentioned their work in previous posts ...

... and tomorrow will be the first meeting since the recent Scottish Government cabinet re-shuffle, and the appointment of a new Minister for Cities.

Looking forward to working with Keith on developing the Scottish Cities' agenda.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sarah congratulates Jim Murphy as the New Leader of Scottish Labour

Congratulations to Jim Murphy as the
New Leader of Scottish Labour
 
Boyack has “No regrets about standing for Leader”

Sarah Boyack today warmly congratulated Jim Murphy as the New Scottish Labour Leader.

She said outside the Emirates Arena:

“Jim has the hardest task of any our past leaders in reshaping our party from its very core to be fit for purpose. Nicola Sturgeon must be stopped in her tracks in her attempt to wipe us out, because Scotland needs a strong Labour Party with its feet firmly on the ground to re engage and build support with voters. Jim has my total support in doing that, and I will continue to serve the party 100%.

“I am obviously disappointed at not winning. As the contest progressed, I realised that my support would be squeezed. I have no regrets in standing however, and have enjoyed my part in creating a vibrant and constructive debate amongst members and setting out my vision for Scotland. My aim was to bring my experience and substantial policy ideas to the party.

“That is what I have done with my ‘100 ideas document’ and my wider contribution. The positive feedback I have had has been uplifting.”

Andrew Burns Campaign Manager said on behalf of her campaign team:
 
“We’ve been incredibly proud of the consistently positive and policy-led campaign that Sarah has undertaken. There is no question that she has raised the quality of the debate in this leadership process, and we look forward to Sarah continuing to play an important role in Scottish Labour Party policy implementation.

We’re extremely grateful to all those who encouraged Sarah to enter this contest, and to those who supported her throughout – it would undoubtedly have been a lesser process without her presence.”

Ends

Saturday, December 06, 2014

I'm backing Sarah Boyack because ...

#SarahBoyack4Leader

I'm backing Sarah Boyack for Scottish Labour Party Leader because ...

... not only have I worked with her for over a decade-and-a-half, but because - quite simply - I believe she's the best person for the job.

And that job is not just to lead Scottish Labour, but crucially, to get Scottish Labour back into power at Holyrood.

And, if you've still to cast your vote this weekend, I'd ask you just to reflect on this fundamental point - who, of the three candidates, is likely to appeal to the widest cross-section of the Scottish electorate?

Just dwell on that for a second; and - for me anyhow - the answer is completely and utterly obvious: it's Sarah Boyack.

I know Neil Findlay quite well; as along with Sarah since 2011, he's been a Lothians List MSP. And I really like Neil ... but is he the answer to the question above? Well, for me, I believe Sarah will have a much wider appeal.

I actually don't know Jim Murphy at all - but from all I've seen of him over the years, I again believe Sarah will have a much wider appeal with the Scottish electorate.

And it's the Scottish electorate that matter here. We're not selecting a Party Manager, but someone who should be able to help us attract as many votes as possible. And, for me, the person who has the qualities - and the policy platform - to do that, is Sarah.

Like me, and probably you, she has weaknesses ... but as an experienced, self-aware politician, she knows what those are, and would surround herself with people with complimentary skills.

On top of all that, Sarah has listened ... listened really hard ... throughout the Leadership campaign and - as promised at her campaign launch event - has today published a "100-Ideas for a New Scotland", based on her conversations throughout the campaign.

You can read about the document here; and access the full text here.

I like the document - a lot ... and if Sarah is elected Leader, I know that she'll actually deliver on it.

I also believe it's the basis of a political programme with wide public appeal.

And frankly, that's exactly what we need at the moment.

And that's why I'm backing Sarah Boyack.




December Leader's Report

December 2014

Christmas appeal 

 

Andrew Burns
This year, ten million Syrian people will spend their Christmas freezing in tents in neighbouring countries while, in South Sudan, two million will be sheltering in camps, having been forced from their villages as war resumed.

Mercy Corps and the Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee (EDRC) have launched a Christmas appeal to highlight the plight of millions of families around the world who have fled their homes because of conflict and violence.

The money raised from the appeal will provide urgent and vital supplies to those in need along with basic sanitation services and safe places for children to play.

Please support this worthwhile cause in any way you can. Donate online at Mercy Corps or by texting EDIN14 and the amount to 70070.

Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh
Council

 

Investment in public transport 

 

Use of public transport is on the increase in the Capital, bucking the national trend. Trams continue to attract more than 90,000 passengers a week on average and Lothian Buses also experienced a rise in patronage over the first half of the year.

Population forecasts predict a faster growing population for Edinburgh than anywhere else in Scotland (an additional 136,400 by 2037) and it's vital that we plan ahead so that we can support this growth with a truly integrated, sustainable public transport system.

When we launched the trams back in May, we pledged that a report would come before Council by the end of the year. The research this report recommends will help us to make fully informed choices about the next steps for transport in the Capital.



 

Proposals for change 

 

As I've previously described in this report, it's essential that we transform how we deliver council services to an ever growing number of residents, focusing more on their priorities while addressing the significant financial challenges we face.

A further report from the Chief Executive makes the case for delivering services through four 'localities', or neighbourhoods, giving frontline staff the ability to make decisions more suited to the local community and their particular needs. It also outlines a proposal for creating a 'Business and Customer Services' corporate centre which would provide the necessary guidance and support.
Councillors will be asked to select one from three models outlined in the report, following which consultation with staff, Trades Unions and relevant partners will begin.



 

Still time to have your say 

 

Over the past two months, we've been inviting views on how we invest and save money. The consultation has attracted significant attention, with over 1,400 people completing our budget planner online, and a further 300 submitting comments by post and email. This is already more than four times the number of responses we received last year.

This week, attention turned to our Question Time event, giving members of the public the opportunity to quiz our panel of senior councillors on the budget proposals that mattered to them. It was a lively debate with the Chair, Evening News editor Frank O'Donnell, taking contributions from the floor and from those watching at home. Archive footage of the event is available to view on our website.

Please take the time to have your say on the proposals, if you haven't already. The consultation period runs until 19th December, and we will consider all feedback prior to setting the final 2015/16 Budget in February.



 

Season's greetings 

 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a fun-filled festive season and all the very best for 2015. I can think of nowhere better to enjoy Christmas or see in the New Year than right here in Scotland's great capital city.



 

Stay in the picture 

 

Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. Watch live full Council and some committee meetings on our webcast. Join the debate on Twitter #edinwebcast 

If you wish to unsubscribe please email us.

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The City of Edinburgh Council

 
 

Friday, December 05, 2014

December Full Council Meeting

The December Council Meeting is coming up - next Thursday (11th) ...

All the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and each of the individual reports separately via this link.

Of course - as ever, if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ...


... or the meeting will be archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

CCIN Glasgow conference



I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I'd recently been elected Chair of the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) ...

... well, I'm please to report that the next CCIN quarterly-conference will - for the first time - take place here in Scotland. All the details, including the full agenda, are available on the CCIN website - and I'll just re-produce some fo the background detail below:

---

CCIN Glasgow Conference

CCIN Glasgow conference
CCIN Glasgow conference

The Co-operative Councils Innovation Network is delighted to host our first conference in Scotland, which reflects our national ambitions and aspiration of our network. The conference, which is being hosted by Glasgow City Council, will provide opportunities to exchange information and learning, and provides a major opportunity to profile the work and achievements of Co-operative Councils.

In addition to CCIN business meetings, the conference will include key speeches from Cllr Archie Graham, Deputy Leader, Glasgow City Council; Cllr Andrew Burns, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council and Chair of the CCIN; and Kevin Rush, Head of Economic Development at Glasgow City Council. There will also be workshops on cooperative approaches to economic development and tackling labour market exclusion; developing the co-operative sector and devolving power and changing organisational culture within councils.

To view the full agenda, please click here.

---

 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Corporate, Policy and Strategy Committee next Tuesday

Unbelievably; it's the December "Corporate Policy and Strategy" Committee next Tuesday ...

... all the papers/reports are now in the public domain: the main Agenda can be found here ---

--- and the individual reports are all up on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL) linked from here.

Reports that may well attract some attention and debate:


Just click on any of the above links for access (as a PDF) to the specific report ...

... and, as mentioned before, all of the Policy and Strategy Committee gatherings are now being webcast live - and thereafter archived!

All available via here ;-)

Sadly (well, maybe not!) I'll be in Glasgow next Tuesday for a Cooperative Council Innovation Network (CCIN) event ... more of which to follow shortly! ... so my colleague, Steve Cardownie, will be in the Chair for this meeting.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November Leader's Report

                                                                                                                               November 2014

Are you ready for winter? 

 

Andrew Burns
The Council has a crucial part to play in helping the city deal with whatever the weather has in store for us over the coming months and we have recently launched two campaigns to help residents get ready.

Our Ready for Winter campaign provides contact and other useful information to residents across the city, ensuring everyone can get the help and services they need. The council website's winter weather pages include details of priority road, cycle path and pavement gritting routes, plus an interactive map displaying the location of grit bins across the city.

Also, in recognition of the ever-increasing cost of energy, we've begun a Warm Your Home campaign to help people heat their homes as effectively and cheaply as possible.

As ever, but particularly at this time of year, please do take the time to look out for elderly neighbours and friends to make sure that they are safe and well.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh
Council

 

Keeping to our pledges 

 

It's fair to say that politicians often make ambitious promises when canvassing for votes but how often do they voluntarily put their commitments up for public examination?

On taking office in May 2012, we set out 53 specific pledges that we aimed to deliver by 2017. These are based on a number of high level commitments, which include reducing poverty, inequality and deprivation, and maintaining and improving the quality of life in Edinburgh.

I am pleased to report that, thanks to recent developments such as the passing of a Private Bill allowing the new Portobello High School to be built on Portobello Park, we have now met 12 of the pledges with all but one of the remainder on track to be completed within our five year term.


 

Cooperative Capital 

 

One of our key pledges was to put the public back at the centre of decision-making. We want communities to be much more involved in planning, managing and delivering services; to give local people a greater sense of choice and control over the public services they use.

We have made some significant strides towards becoming a 'Cooperative Capital' in the past two years, establishing the city's first After Schools Club Co-op Charter and a Student Housing Co-op, while providing development support for the Craigmillar Eco-Housing project. Meanwhile, a number of energy co-ops, including the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op and Castle Rock Edinvar's 'Our Power' initiative are also progressing well and will soon be delivering affordable and renewable energy to tenants.

Having become the first Scottish local authority to join the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network last year, I was delighted to accept the role of Chair recently - recognition of just how far we've come in such a short space of time.


 

Still time to have your say 

 

We're now around half way through our budget consultation and the response so far has been fantastic. Well over a thousand of you have completed our budget planner online, with a further 200 submitting comments by post or email.

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to have your say. The consultation period runs all the way through until Friday 19th December, and we will consider all feedback prior to setting the final 2015/16 Budget in February.

The planner also features on our newly established Consultation Hub, which helps you to find and participate in consultations of interest to you. I would recommend subscribing to the automated email alerts for new consultations as and when they come online.


 

Pride in our People 

 

I recently attended the Council's 'Pride in our People' Staff Awards ceremony in the Assembly Rooms and, once again, I was reminded of the outstanding quality and commitment of the staff who work for this city.

The Awards celebrate those who go that extra mile: the people who help us make Edinburgh such a great place to live, work and visit; recognising those on the frontline, the innovators, the leaders and the rising stars - the teams and individuals who've found a way to improve value and deliver our services better.

I want to repeat the thanks I gave on the night, not just to the winners and shortlisted entrants but also to staff right across the Council, who continue to play a marvelous role in making sure that everything works efficiently and effectively right across the Capital.


 

Stay in the picture 

 

Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. Watch live full Council and some committee meetings on our webcast. Join the debate on Twitter #edinwebcast 

If you wish to unsubscribe please email us.
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The City of Edinburgh Council

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November Full Council Meeting

The November Council Meeting is coming up - next Thursday (20th) ...

All the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and each of the individual reports separately via this link.

Of course - as ever, if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ...

... or the meeting will be archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Cooperative Councils Innovation Network - new Chair ;-)


In all the post-referendum melee; I've completely failed to mention that at the end of September (at their AGM) I was elected as the new Chair of the Coooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) ... I've posted before about the Network (here, and links therein) and, obviously, the whole Cooperative-agenda is at the heart of the political programme that the current (local) Labour/SNP Capital Coalition is attempting to facilitate.

I'm thus delighted to have been elected as Chair of the CCIN - my brief Chair's message can be found here, and I'll simply reproduce the text below as well:

======

Message From the Chair


As a council leader, a ward councillor, and a member of my local community, I understand the scale of the challenges that we are all facing locally.

Many communities are disengaged from local democracy; councils can seem like distant bureaucracies; and, as organisations, we as councils are struggling to manage huge funding reductions just as local people are putting more and more demand on local services.

If councils are going to survive in this context, and if communities are going to thrive, then we all need to start doing things differently. We need to work together, in genuine and equal partnership with local people, to make the most of the strengths that lie in our communities. We need to step out of the town hall and back into communities to tackle old issues in new ways. Most importantly, we must drive real innovation, with local people at its core, if we are to face the challenges ahead of us.

This is exactly why the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network exists. We believe that the co-operative principles of empowerment, equal partnership, and collective action offer a positive route not simply to survive through tough times, but to enable local communities to thrive, supported by relevant, meaningful, and empowering local public services.

The network gives us the opportunity to share what works, learning from each others’ practical experiences to translate cutting-edge policy thinking into hands-on practice right across the country. Our work is defining the future of local public services – not for local people, but with local people – and putting local people back at the heart of what we do.

Cllr Andrew Burns
Chair of the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network
Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council

Andrew_Burns_9_200x200


Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Leader's Report

October 2014 

Edinburgh's budget challenge

Andrew Burns

How would you balance the city's books? Where would you spend; where would you save?

With four months to go until we set next year's budget, we have launched a new online tool to help encourage as many residents as possible to have their say on where money should be invested and saved in 2015/16 and beyond.

The budget planner, accompanied by a short explanatory film on our website, highlights the range of services the Council provides and the challenges we face over the coming years.

The consultation period runs all the way through until Friday 19 December, and we will consider all feedback prior to setting the final 2015/16 Budget in February.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh
Council
  

 

Doing the important things well


Very much with the above challenges in mind, 12 months ago councillors instructed our Chief Executive, Sue Bruce, to consider how we can improve performance, productivity and customer satisfaction.

In short, we don't have any choice; we must do things differently. Edinburgh is the fastest growing local authority area in Scotland and we are facing an ever increasing demand for our services against a backdrop of rising demand but stand-still or falling budgets.

Having established an overall approach to change in the council, Sue has now set out her vision for the future. Her report describes how we will plan to change the way we deliver services by focusing on priorities and outcomes in the city's neighbourhoods. This will allow us to deliver best value services for residents, reflect local needs and work together as efficiently as possible.


 

Edinburgh Befriending Consortium


My coalition colleague and Deputy Lord Provost, Deidre Brock, recently hosted the official launch of the Edinburgh Befriending Consortium (EBC) here in the City Chambers.

Made up of three organisations - CrossReach, The Broomhouse Centre and Children 1ST - the consortium provides much-needed support to young people who are affected by substance misuse in their family and who may be particularly isolated and unable to take part in activities.

Thanks to funding from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, Partnership Drugs Initiative, the Edinburgh Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and the Council, EBC is now on a much firmer financial footing.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit the Children 1st website for further information.


 

City blossoms at Entente Florale


I am delighted to report that our parks, streets and gardens have been awarded Gold at the prestigious Entente Florale competition, Europe's biggest environmental awards.

Following on from our success in Britain in Bloom, this is a huge accolade for Edinburgh and proof that we have some of the finest green spaces in Europe. It's also testament to the huge amount of work carried out by the Council and the many volunteers and partners across the city.

We will receive a bronze plaque recognising these achievements, which will go on display later this year.


 

Gold standard communications


Congratulations also to the Council's Communications service, which was named Outstanding In-House Public Relations Team at the CIPR Scotland PRide Awards held last week.

The award recognises a diverse range of campaigns, aimed at both internal and external audiences. Judges cited a "superb team and a worthy winner", praising its consideration of a broad range of audiences through its campaigns.

The Council also won silver for Scottish Public Sector Team of the Year, and was finalist in a further two categories - Best Public Sector Campaign and Best Use of Social Media.


 

Democracy at your finger tips


I have high hopes that the significant interest, and turnout, in the Referendum will translate into greater engagement with local politics - and we're already doing what we can to encourage this.

Last month, we expanded our ability to broadcast council business, with the Dean of Guild meeting room now fitted out with cameras and microphones to stream nine additional committee meetings.

This is a another step forward in ensuring transparency and raising awareness of how the democratic process works and I am delighted that we now have further opportunities for residents to access and understand the local decisions that affect us all.

You can register to receive alerts detailing the agenda of the meetings which are available to view online six days in advance. Find out more about our webcasts from our website and join in the debate on Twitter with the hashtag #edinwebcast.


 

Stay in the picture


Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. Watch live full Council and some committee meetings on our webcast. Join the debate on Twitter #edinwebcast

If you wish to unsubscribe please email us.

Follow us on twitter
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Follow us on Facebook
 
 
The City of Edinburgh Council

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Full Council Meeting

The October Council Meeting is coming up - next Thursday (23rd) ...

All the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and each of the individual reports separately via this link.

Of course - as ever, if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ...

... or the meeting will be archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Take the budget challenge

Take part in Edinburgh's budget Challenge!

I mentioned last week that our Draft Budget figures were now in the public domain ...

... well, much more detail is now additionally available via this link; and a budget-planner is also available, for everyone to have their say as to what services they would spend or save resources on?

And I'll just re-produce the relevant News Release below:

=======

Take the budget challenge




New online tool enables residents to have their say on how the Capital invests and saves

With more than four months to go before the Capital's 2015/16 budget is set, the City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled an innovative online tool to help encourage as many residents as possible to have their say on where money should be invested and saved in 2015/16 and beyond.

At a meeting of the Finance & Resources Committee earlier this week (Tuesday 30 September), councillors approved a report on the draft budget, along with a set of budget proposals for public consultation over the coming months.  

The budget engagement period, which runs until 19 December 2014, begins today [Friday 3 October 2014] and is this year supplemented for the first time by an interactive online budget planner, the first time such a feature has been used by a major city in Scotland. 

The budget planner, together with a short film on the Council's website and YouTube channel, highlights the range of services the Council provides and the challenges it faces over the coming years in deciding which ones to prioritise against a backdrop of rising demand but flat or reducing resources.

Members of the public can take virtual control of the City's finances by using the planner tool to decide how they would balance the budget, discovering how increasing spend in some areas would impact on other areas.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Finance Convener, said: “It is very important to us that we hear and respond to what the people of Edinburgh are saying. By publishing our draft budget proposals months in advance of the February deadline it gives the public an opportunity to tell us what services they want their Council to spend more on and to help us to shape them in a way that will improve the lives of all our city’s residents. 


“This year we have introduced a number of new initiatives to make it even easier for people to tell us how the Council should spend its money. As a result, we are hoping that more of you let us know your views. It is important that people know that we are listening and responding to what they have to say.”

Councillor Bill Cook , Vice Convener, added:  “We want you to be part of this process and we need you to put forward your views whether it is by using our online planner, phone, letter, email, social media, or other means. Everything you say will be considered as part of the budget process and this invaluable feedback will inform the final budget proposals we’ll be putting to the Council in February 2015."

The full budget proposals, the budget planner and short film can all be accessed at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/budget.

You can have your say by:

- completing the online budget planner to have your say on what services you would spend or save money on in 2015 to 2018

- commenting on the 2015/16 proposals

You can do this by:

email
phone on 0131 200 2305 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3.40pm Friday)
writing to us at Freepost, RSJC-SLXC-YTJY, Budget, Council Leader, City Chambers, High Street Edinburgh EH1 1YJ
speaking to your local councillor

Thursday, October 02, 2014

National Poetry Day

Hooray! --- it's National Poetry Day 2014 ;-)

... and this year's theme is; "Remember".

As per recent years, here are a few lines, with the annual theme in mind:


Remember

Still
today I remember
in the quiet
but amidst the noise
too, nothing drowns
out the silence
of emotion.

Calm
now, as the day
begins anew
each moment special
every breath cherished
and yet
the silence.

On days
it can deafen
all else swept
aside, as memory
seeps through every
pore, each detail
clear, warm.

Not
for me the choice
to forget, but to
remember
for what else
can one do, before
the silence.

------

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Allotment-update ... at last :-)

Good grief ... I do believe my last Allotment-update was back in mid-July ... that #indyref has a lot to answer for :-(

Luckily, my better-half has kept things ticking over; and given this was the first weekend I've had free for months - we did actually manage to spend several hours down there this afternoon ...

... with the picture on the left showing that there's still plenty of colour left in the flower-beds ;-)

Dug up more potatoes (still another, whole bed to lift), with a reasonable crop forthcoming; and the snap below shows that several other crops:
  • leeks
  • sweetcorn
  • parsnips
  • kale
  • rhubarb
  • and beetroot

    ... are all still growing strongly :-)
Lots more digging to do!

(just click on either picture for a closer view)


Friday, September 26, 2014

Draft 2015/16 Budget-proposals now available

Whilst most national media-attention (rightly so) has been on the recent Independence Referendum; the life of Local Government has been proceeding apace ...

... and, as per last year, we still had a clear commitment to publish next year's (2015/16) Budget-figures by the end of the preceding September i.e. this week!

Pleased to be able to confirm that those figures are indeed now in the public domain - they will be initially debated at next Tuesday afternoon's "Finance and Resources" Committee: all the reports/agenda are available via here; and the main report in question is directly accessible via here - 2015/18 revenue and capital budget framework.

Initial details on the budget consultation (for 2015/16) are now here - but much more will be up via that link around 3rd October. Please do re-visit that page, and ensure you have your say on these draft proposals ...

... and don't hesitate to contact me directly if you have any specific queries meantime.