Data supplied by City of Edinburgh Council in 2005

Calton Hill Garden Ground
Calton Hill City Observatory
Calton Hill House at City Observatory
Calton Road (rear of St Andrew House)
South Queensferry Harbour
Regent Road Burns Monument
Lady Stair's House
Bruntsfield Links
Leven Terrace Gas Governor Site
The Meadows
Ballantyne Road Amenity Ground
Merchiston park
Princes Street Gardens
Scotland Street Lane (Tennis Courts and Allotments)
St James place ground
Stevenlaws Close solum
Waverley Bridge 1.68 acres

NOTE: This list is compiled from the one sent to me by the Council in 2005 (download copy here). Sometime in 2006 I was then sent an additional (and better quality) list (download copy here)t. This later list omitted the Waverley Market (Princes Mall shopping centre). Download a copy of this second list here.

Common Good Fund

Edinburgh has a Common Good Fund with a balance of 5,225,000 at 31 March 2007 (source: unaudited Accounts for 2006/07).

Commentary

Following publication of our 2005 report on Common Good Land in Scotland, I decided, as a responsible citizen of Edinburgh to make some further detailed enquiries into the state of Edinburgh's Common Good Fund. What I found shocked me. Here is the story...(a complete list of links is provided at the foot of the page)

The story starts with our November 2005 report Common Good Land. A Review and Critique. In the course of researching this report we received a reply from Edinburgh City Council detailing assets held by the Edinburgh Common Good Fund. After publication of the report, I was contacted by two people who alerted me to issues with the Fund. I investigated matters briefly and concluded that there were indeed problems.

Now, Edinburgh Council has, in recent years produced an Annual Report on the Common Good (this was prompted by a motion from Councillor Jenny Dawes some years ago - she is now Leader of the Council). The report produced for the year ending 31 March 2005 was tabled at the meeting of the Executive of the Council on 28 February 2006.

I contacted my local Councillor, Michael Dixon, and we met to discuss the issue. As a member of the Resource Management and Audit Scutiny Panel (the Scrutiny Committee), he "called in" the March 2005 report . The Scrutiny Committee exists to subject decisions of the Executive to an additional degree of scrutiny. The Committee met on 27 April 2006 and, among other things discussed the Annual Report on the Common Good. I was present and tabled a written report and gave oral evidence. The Committee agreed to request a review from Council officials (see minutes).

Then things went quiet. I moved to Addis Ababa on 2 July 2006. Then, at the end of September, Michael Dixon informed me that a report - Review of Common Good in Edinburgh - had been prepared by Council officials for tabling at the Scutiny Committee on 2 October 2006. I was quite pleased with the report but it still contained serious flaws. I prepared a brief response for members of the Committee.

Then I waited. I looked at the agenda for the 12 October meeting but there was no mention of the Common Good Review. Likewise, at the next meeting on 16 November, there was no mention of the issue. What had happened? Why had the Review of Common Good in Edinburgh not been tabled?

As of today (25 November 2006) I do not know the answer to this question. Hopefully I will know soon.

Well, I still do not know what happened to the Review of Common Good in Edinburgh paper though am glad that those interested can read it and my response (see links below). But there is some further news.

A paper of the same name but much shorter and lacking all the detail of the 12 October paper was tabled at the Executive of the Council on 12 December 2006. It outlines an Action Plan which involves further research and a QC's Opinion. It asks for approval of a 30,000 budget for this work (see Minutes). This is a welcome step forward.

Update June 2007

We have a new Council elected and await further developments. I took the opportunity to ask the new Council leader, Jenny Dawe a question about the Common Good Fund via Scotland on Sunday's online forum.

Andy Wightman - "What are your plans to reform the administration of the Edinburgh Common Good Fund, to ensure transparency and public participation in the uses to which the fund is put?"

Jenny Dawe - "I have every intention of ensuring that Edinburgh's Common Good Fund is properly and openly governed for its prime purpose of benefit to the citizens of Edinburgh. The council is currently seeking advice from a senior QC on the complicated legal issues involved with the Common Good. Once that advice has been received and considered, we will report to the full council on the implications for the Common Good account."


Update November 2007

In response to a Question tabled by Councillor Steve Burgess, the Leader of of the Council, Jenny Dawe, reported on progress with the internal review/enquiry which is still continuing.

LINKS TO DOCUMENTS

My report on Edinburgh's Common Good Fund of 26 April 2006 (404kb)

Scrutiny Committee Papers (including 2005 Common Good Report appended) for meeting of 27 April 2006 (400kb)

Summary of my oral evidence to 27 April Committee

Minutes of the Scrutiny Committee 27 April 2006 (384kb)

Review of Common Good in Edinburgh prepared for Scrutiny Committee of 12 October (but not tabled) (320kb

My response of 4 October to the Review (280kb)

Review of Common Good in Edinburgh prepared for Executive 12 December 2006 (148kb)

Minutes of Executive (abbreviated) 12 December 2006 (92kb)

Question tables by Councillor Steve Burgess and answered by Council Leader, Jenny Dawe, 25 October 2007 (44kb)

The following papers were added to this website in November 2010. They include all the key papers that I am aware of since 2008.

Finance and Resources Committee 29 January 2008

Finance and Resources Committee 17 June 2008

Finance and Resources Committee 9 September 2008

Audit Scotland Report on Common Good 2008/09

CEC Report on External Audit including response to Common Good 2 April 2009

Finance and Resources Committee 25 August 2009

Finance and Resources Committee 21 January 2010

Corporate Asset Management Group report on common good 2 September 2009 (I can't find this anywhere on CEC website)




Correspondent

Andy Wightman