A series of political changes took place at Aberdeenshire Council yesterday (Monday, June 8) following a special meeting of the Full Council.

The council is now led by an administration, ‘The Partnership’, comprising the 28-member SNP group and the four-strong ‘Progressive Alliance’ between Scottish Labour and Progressive Independent Councillors.

At the meeting, Cllr Hamish Vernal was elected as Provost and Cllr Allison Grant as Deputy Provost.

Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes and Cllr Richard Thomson were appointed as co-leaders of Aberdeenshire Council.

In an arrangement thought to be the first of its kind in Scottish local government, Cllr Kitts-Hayes and Cllr Thomson agreed to job-share the positions of Leader and Depute Leader.

In addition to being chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, Cllr Kitts- Hayes will attend COSLA Leaders’ meetings and work on the City Region Deal project, while Cllr Thomson will chair the Community Planning Board, the Policy Budget Steering Group and the Council’s Review of Future Governance Committee.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Kitts-Hayes said: “This partnership arrangement, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, marks a historic day for Aberdeenshire Council.

“The new Partnership Administration is committed to working together for the benefit of the residents and communities of Aberdeenshire. We’re looking forward to getting on with the job.”

Cllr Thomson said: “The SNP group has played a constructive role over the past three years as the main opposition. However, we have always said that we stood ready to help form an administration should the opportunity arise. Together with our partners, we’ve stepped up to that responsibility today.

“There’s much to do in Aberdeenshire in terms of making sure our council is delivering for our residents as well as it can, while ensuring fairness in what are still difficult financial times.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to work together effectively and that collectively, we’ll rise to the challenge.”

Leader of the Scottish Labour Group, Alison Evison, said: “Ours is a progressive agenda, based on principles of equality, fairness, openness and accountability, which can deliver for all residents and communities across the whole of Aberdeenshire.

“This is a very positive agreement which has seen our respective groupings put aside our differences nationally in order to concentrate on what we all agree needs done locally.”

DIGG member, Martin Ford, said: “We have not signed up to an agreement to become part of the administration – we have a limited agreement.

“On everything else we will be taking our own independent decisions.”

A number of changes were made to policy committee arrangements, as follows:

Policy & Resources Committee:

Chair: Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes

Vice-chair: Cllr Richard Thomson

Education, Learning & Leisure Committee:

Chair: Cllr Alison Evison

Vice-chair: Cllr Charles Buchan

Infrastructure Services Committee:

Chair: Cllr David Aitchison

Vice-chair: Cllr Stephen Smith

Social Work & Housing Commitee:

Chair: Cllr Anne Allan

Vice-chair: Cllr Raymond Christie

Scrutiny & Audit Committee:

Chair: Cllr Gillian Owen

Vice-chair: Cllr Ross Cassie

There were no changes to area committee chairs or vice chairs. Membership of outside bodies also changes and further details will be circulated in due course.

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