SBC leader pays tribute to retiring chief executive

SBC cheif executive David Hume.
SBC cheif executive David Hume.

A “change in his personal circumstances” has led to Scottish Borders Council’s chief executive David Hume retiring with effect from August 15.

Mr Hume arrived at Scottish Borders Council nine years ago as the local authority was trying to get itself out of the mire of a £3.9 million overspend in the education department.

Not long after that came more adverse publicity of the Miss X case, this time exposing the shortcomings of the council’s social work department and it was clear that strong leadership was absolutely essential if the council was to get itself back onto a more stable financial footing while at the same time delivering services to a standard expected by the Borders public.

By 2005 they had started to turn things around, a positive HMI inspection of the education department indicated that they were back on track, and similarly a review of the social work department also showed that lessons had been learned. Despite facing the same spending pressures as all local authorities Scottish Borders Council has faired better than many, and the decision of senior officials and councillors to be proactive rather than reactive has kept them ahead of the game.

“Steering the council through these most turbulent times was a major achievement for which Mr Hume deserves the utmost credit and his contribution has continued to be felt as we have transformed the way we do business in recent years,” said council leader, Councillor David Parker.

“The council is most grateful to David for his loyal and dedicated service over the last nine years. He has been instrumental in the council’s success, and has demonstrated enormous commitment to the council and the Scottish Borders.

As the economic downturn started to tighten its grip on public and private sector budgets, Scottish Borders Council started to look at new ways of delivering services and while that decision had its critics, when councils across the country were shedding hundreds of jobs earlier this year, SBC had already gone through a period of streamlining, anticipating the difficult times ahead.

After making his decision, Mr Hume, who is currently on sick leave, said: “In the last nine years we have implemented a programme of change and improvement which has transformed the council, and improved the quality of life in the Scottish Borders.

“As chief executive of the council it has been a privilege to lead and direct these changes. However the greatest privilege of all has been to work with council colleagues, colleagues from other agencies, and the people of Border communities who never fail to demonstrate their remarkable characteristics of commitment, integrity and intelligence. I thank them all.”