I refer to Dr Welford’s letter of August 3 (‘Council is overstepping the mark by asking for ID’) and can confirm that there is no requirement for residents to provide us with their date of birth when reporting, for example, missed bin collections.
We are improving our customer service through our new channel shift programme, which is about moving customers to the most efficient and suitable channel for their needs. This includes encouraging residents to engage with the council and carry out their transactions online.
Asking residents for this type of information will ultimately help us to develop a better picture of what customers want, to help us to improve how we provide services.
At the start of any call, our contact centre staff read out a script which makes residents aware of why we’re asking for their date of birth, it is voluntary if they wish to provide it or not.
Cllr Alasdair Rankin, Convener, Finance & Resources Committee, City of Edinburgh Council
SNP should spell out how new powers work
In a speech in Hong Kong recently Nicola Sturgeon yet again stated that the result of the election in May of 56 SNP MSPs “has left no doubt about the desire of the people in Scotland for a much more empowered Scottish Parliament.”
That is the spin that the SNP have been putting on the result ever since it was announced.
The reality is 50% of a turnout of 71% voted for the SNP. That is to say 35.5% of the electorate voted for the SNP. The other 50% of votes was split among other parties and with the first past the post system, the result was never really in doubt.
Those of the 50% who did not vote SNP do not want to see more powers coming to Holyrood until the SNP government prove they can successfully handle the powers they already have.
During the past eight years they have presided over a litany of disaster and failure in every aspect of their administration. NHS, education, police, fire service and most aspects of local government are in crisis, with morale at rock bottom, absences for sickness and stress at record levels and people wanting out of their jobs.
The SNP owe it to all people in Scotland to spell out clearly how they will use the additional fiscal powers they already have before they are granted any more. This must be done before Scotland goes to the polls for the Holyrood election and in far more detailed and costed terms than the fanciful figures which the White Paper gave us.
I fear this will never happen as the SNP will be afraid to expose their economic illiteracy and afraid of explaining to voters in Scotland the extent of the real costs and inevitable tax increases that they will have to suffer to fund the SNP’s populist and unaffordable programme of benefit spending and borrowing.
Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian
Child mental health care still lacks funding
As a coalition we were delighted to be represented at the Mental Health Summit hosted by Jim Hume MSP (July 31).
This highlighted some of the key issues facing the sector and the realisation that we are facing a lost generation of children and young people who are not receiving the care and support that they desperately need through a lack of early intervention.
Overstretched mental health professionals are facing a greatly increased number of referrals for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), which have increased by over a third over the last two years.
Yet, while research suggests that 20% of children have a mental health problem in any given year, and about 10% at any one time, this has not fed into funding, where only 0.45% of NHS Scotland expenditure was on child and adolescent mental health, compared with 0.7% in England.
While almost half of Health Boards are in breach of Scottish Government waiting time targets, the number of children and young people being sent to non-specialist adult and paediatric units is also on the increase.
The long-term cost to society of failing to treat these conditions is well-established, with many of these young people become unemployed, turning to crime or ending up with long-term mental health conditions which could have been prevented.
We of course welcome what the Scottish Government has done to date in providing additional funding for CAMHS, but more needs to be done, including greater collaboration with the independent and third sectors, or we are simply storing up a ticking time bomb for the future.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising: Sophie Pilgrim, Kindred Scotland; Tom McGhee, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, Young Foundations
Emmerdalestory lines are too close to home
How is it that the producers of Emmerdale are allowed to take true disaster stories and put them in the programme to attract better viewing figures?
We had a plane crashing on the village killing people after the Lockerbie disaster. We now have a helicopter crashing into the village hall which is full of people, just like the Clutha pub disaster in Glasgow.
This episode should be scrapped as a mark of respect to the families and friends of the people involved.
What on earth are Emmerdale planning next? Maybe an out of control bin lorry careering down the street! I wouldn’t put it past them.
Mrs Anne Peters, Stenton, Dunbar