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As you probably know we had our second meeting with GCC today.

As explained last week we agreed a confidentiality protocol which means before details can be shared an agreed minute with suggested public/private designation has to be provided. So we have to wait for this.

What I can tell you is that the atmosphere at the meeting was a huge improvement on last week. No concrete results, as this is going to be a long hard process, but if the next meetings are conducted in the same spirit then there is some hope.

My biggest concern at the moment remains the desire of officers to pursue the appeal. We are told that this will be a political decision but it’s not going to council until 22nd February 2018 by which time we will already had the leave to appeal decision. If they get leave they will have to submit the formal appeal to UKSC. if it’s refused officers will submit a new leave to appeal (LTA) application to UKSC before the council meeting due to the court time limits. As I’ve said many times before once you get on appeal conveyor belt it’s very difficult to get off it.

I don’t know why a cabinet decision can’t be taken well before February, but this seems to be the somewhat slow process GCC has in place.

If appeal continues full and final settlement is much more difficult if not impossible.

What officers don’t seem to understand is that there are huge risks to the council as a result of the delay an appeal causes. It really is a DOUBLE OR QUITS option. If they lose again it doubles the potential cost to the council, possibly hundreds of millions more.

I hope they will reconsider.

In the meantime it was nice for a change to have a good constructive meeting. Long may it continue.

The next event is the Court of Session LTA hearing next Thursday in Edinburgh. Then we’re off for the holidays. Next meeting is 9th January 2018.

Hope this helps