For some, the summer holidays have come to an abrupt end and our young people are enthusiastically returning to school to begin the new academic year full of hope and dreams and armed only with the optimism of youth and a determination to succeed.

It’s been another fantastic year for our senior pupils in their exams, many of whom have now moved into work, apprenticeships, college and university and are seeking out the opportunities and challenges their new adult life will present.

Well done to you all. Their worried parents will be hoping that their son or daughter is happy and they don’t get up to half the things they did when they were teenagers.

It’s been a typical Scottish summer, a bit of sunshine here and there and the odd bit of rain. Apparently a bit of summer rain is good for the farmers but maybe not so much for the council’s bio-diversity areas where previously manicured grassed areas and well maintained open spaces have been replaced by litter strewn jungles - even though summer meadows full of flowers, bees and ladybirds were promised.

The council had some of its social work services inspected by the care inspectorate which showed that we had fallen well behind other Scottish councils on self-directed care.

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This is about giving vulnerable people and carers a choice about the type of care they get and when they get it.

Unfortunately, we were ranked last out of 32 local authorities in Scotland on the percentage of social care clients who made an informed choice regarding self directed care.

In 2015/16, the Scottish average implementation rate was 26 per cent, but by 2016/17 while the national average increased to 39 per cent, West Dunbartonshire was floundering at just three per cent.

We were also ranked 28 out of 32 Scottish local authorities on the percentage of adults that used direct payments or personalised managed budgets to meet their support needs and the Care Inspectorate identified that there was evidence of poor personal outcomes in 32 per cent of the case studies they read.

Hopefully we will see much greater progress over the coming years

Finally, it was great to learn this week that two projects from the previous Labour administration are up for awards. The new council building in Church Street in Dumbarton has won a national award in Scotland and has now reached the UK finals. It’s also good to see that Levengrove Park (pictured above) is in the running for a Green Flag award from Keep Scotland Beautiful.

We are all immensely proud of these and wish them the best of luck.