Councillors have received an apology after a senior official inadvertently misled them about selling advertising space in council-owned schools.
News of the plans created widespread outrage last week, with a Scottish Government minister calling on the council to abandon the idea.
This issue arose during a public discussion about selling advertising space on council property when housing and environment executive director Barbara Renton told the council’s strategic policy and resources committee: “We’ve been looking at any asset where we can sell the space.
“We’ve been quite successful in terms of roundabouts, but not so successful in terms of anything else, although we have been working with our schools and our head teachers about advertising within the school arena as well and whether that could bring in additional income.”
However, in a clarification note to members of the committee afterwards, officials have now said the plans were less well-developed than had been suggested at the meeting.
The note says: “While the possibility of advertising in schools is being looked at by the transformation project, this is at a very early stage.
“While the Executive Director (Housing & Environment) did say at committee that the team are working with head teachers and schools on this idea, this was based on her understanding at the time.
“We have since clarified with the team that while this is part of the planned process they will follow if the possibility of advertising in schools is taken further, it hasn’t actually happened as yet.
“We’re sorry for the confusion this may have caused.”
The note goes on to clarify the current situation.
“Offering advertising in schools as part of the transformation project has not been discussed with head teachers nor has it been explored in any detail. It has purely been mentioned as a possibility for further exploration,” it says.
“If this was to be considered further, it would only be after full risk assessments and consideration of all possible impacts, as well as restrictions that would need to be put in place.”
Councillors discussed the idea after it was revealed that previous plans to raise money by selling space on other assets, including vehicles, verges, junctions, public toilets and recycling centres, had been unsuccessful.
Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey, who first questioned the idea during the committee session, said critics would be relieved by the explanation.
“I was reassured to hear that these plans aren’t as far developed as was reported to the meeting,” he said.