Falkirk’s first citizen is fighting the town’s corner and gaining a fuller understanding of his role with help from fellow provosts.
Provost Pat Reid was not able to attend the first meeting of the Scottish Provosts’ Association in Edinburgh earlier this month, but he will be attending future events and believes the association has a valuable part to play in helping communities throughout the country.
Provost Reid said: “I think it’s important we get together to discuss things of mutual importance. In the past there was a similar association which was made up of a lot of former-provosts, but this one features serving provosts and is more professional and quite business-like.
“We do have things of common interest that can help us improve what we do. It’s always good to learn from other people in the same role.”
In Scotland there are no directly-elected mayors so local councils are presided over by either a provost or lord provost. The role is typically apolitical, with council leaders like Falkirk’s Craig Martin, acting as the political head of the administration.
Provost Reid said: “Provost is the only statutory position in the council, but it is not as political as it once was. It’s more of a civic role at the moment and I tend not to get involved in the political side of things.
“It’s akin to the role of the speaker in the House of Commons.”
Vice president of the new association Malcolm Bell, convener of Shetland Isles Council, said: “There’s no doubt, in terms of the political landscape over the next few years, we’re in for a difficult time.
“Provosts and civic heads have an important role to play in that landscape and in their communities.”