On schedule and to plan, yesterday, 20th February, Labour-led Inverclyde Council gave the necessary 12 months advance notice of intent to leave the Labour-led Convention of Scottish Local Authorities [COSLA].
It follows labour-led Dunfries and Galloway and Aberdeen City Councils in this move; and is known to precede anticipated similar action from Labour-led Glasgow City, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire Councils. These three and Inverclyde councils are understood to be working together.
This is not an internal Labour split but is an advance preparation of new core Labour territory, should a move by the other political parties to weaken the Labour grip on COSLA succeed.
Glasgow, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire are interested in the possibility of an eight-strong, traditionally Labour-led group of Clyde Valley councils.
As with the first two Councils to give notice of potential departure, Inverclyde yesterday made it clear that it could reverse its decision in the next 12 months – but went on to make more explicit the reason for its move.
Council Leader Stephen McCabe said that a reduction in influence would lead the council to question the value of its hefty annual subdscription to COSLA.
This refers to the successful move by other parties, driven by Scottish Borders Council, in which Labour has no seats, to have a review of COSLA’s constitution, with a view to shifting the decision-taking authority away from the monthly Labour-dominated Council Leaders’ meeting and in favour of the quarterly delegates convention, a more balanced body.
It is likely that this move will lead to the break up of COSLA and the emergence of separate caucuses of the like minded, each of which will negotiate independently with the Scottish Government for annual revenues and the Trade Union on terms and conditions for employees.