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Vice president Bell

Council convener Malcolm Bell (right) with the Scottish Provosts' Association newly appointed president Graham Garvie,convener of the Scottish Borders Council (centre) and association's secretary Tom Kerr, provost of West Lothian Council.

COUNCIL convener Malcolm Bell has been elected vice president of the newly launched Scottish Provost Association.

One of the roles of the association of local authorities’ civic heads will be to encourage better voter turnout in council elections and to rejuvenate local democracy in Scotland.

Bell said the SIC had only recently moved to a system whereby the role of the civic head as an apolitical and impartial figure is distinctively different from that of the council leader.

All Scottish local authorities apart from Orkney have now implemented such as system.

“They have civic responsibilities in their own councils, which take a considerable amount of time on top of the duties which are required of any councillor.

“It was felt that their common status within local government could lead to an association, which would add value.

“It is important to build an association that focuses on real ways in which, working mutually, civic heads are enabled to be more effective in their role,” he said.