Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Committee has heard how initiatives which benefit all ages are continuing to make steady progress, as it considered quarter 3 of its 2019/20 performance report.

The Committee heard how the Inspire Learning programme continues to make positive progress and successfully completed the roll-out to Selkirk, Kelso, Hawick and Earlston during the quarter.

Since then, Galashiels Academy has been completed with Peebles and Berwickshire High Schools scheduled to be completed this month. Jedburgh Grammar Campus will take place after Easter and planning for the roll-out to primary schools has also now started.

Councillors also heard about the launch of an online tool called AskSARA which is the first of its kind in Scotland which has been developed to help people stay more independent in their own homes for longer.

Other highlights from this quarter include:

· The Council received its Living Wage accreditation to recognise the efforts to ensure all employees and regular third party staff receive the real Living Wage.

· The Council recruited 39 Modern Apprentices in the first three quarters of 2019/20 which is the highest number employed in one year.

· SB Alert registrations reached in excess of 6,000 people which means more people now receive text, email or telephone warnings of crime, scams or weather related issues in the Scottish Borders area.

Council Leader, Shona Haslam said: “There are some really excellent highlights in the report which reflect how hard the Council is working across a range of areas. We continue to strive to give our children and young people the best start in life whilst at the same time, driving forward initiatives to look after the most vulnerable and this report reflects good progress in these important areas. There is no denying we face challenges. The council budget has been cut by 7% since 2013 and reductions continue, and this is bound to have an impact on our services. However, these performance reports, alongside other sources, give us the chance to have sight of this and make sure everything is being done to address them.”

Tracey Logan, Chief Executive added: “The Council’s quarterly performance reports are one of the ways we continually monitor our progress in order to drive forward improvement across all of our services. We also take on board feedback from service users as well as national reports such as the Local Government Benchmarking Framework and the Best Value Assurance report which were both published recently. We already have action plans in place to respond to the recommendations from these reports. This all contributes to our work to deliver the best possible services for the people of the Borders.”

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