Local Authority News
At a meeting on 31st August 2016 meeting of the Caithness Committee councillors had the chance to discuss the work underway to create a new community partnership in the area to support local planning arrangements. The Highland Community Planning Partnership Board agreed at their meeting on 30th June to establish 9 local partnerships across the Highlands, one of which will cover Caithness.
Calum Maclennan (18) from Alness took up the role of Highland Youth Convener this week and started the job by saying he was looking forward to spending the next 12 months working with the Highland Youth Parliament, Area Youth Forum and Pupil Councils in secondary schools across the Highlands. As the tenth Youth Convener, Calum will be based at High Life Highland's Head Offices in Inverness fulfilling the bursary position until August 2017.
Members of the Caithness Committee have agreed a set of strategic Council priorities for the area and confirmed their commitment to working in partnership with others to improve the health and well-being of local people. In the document, "A Vision for Caithness, Land of the Norse Yarls", the priorities are listed under a number of headings which include Infrastructure for Growth, Area Promotion, Health and Wellbeing, Transport, Education and Social Equality.
The new Civic Leader of Caithness is Councillor Gillian Coghill who takes over the role from Councillor Gail Ross. One of four councillors representing the Landward Caithness Ward, Councillor Coghill, who was appointed at the start of today's Caithness Committee, is delighted with her new role which is an honorary post and carries no remuneration.
Parents and carers of primary and secondary school children who are eligible to claim for assistance with school clothing for their children are to benefit from an 11% increase in the grant being made available by The Highland Council. Members of the Highland Council's Resources Committee have agreed to increase the amount of school clothing grant per pupil to £90 for all applications received from 1 April 2016 for the 2016/17 academic year.
The Redesign Board of The Highland Council is preparing to agree a list of functions identified for review. The Redesign Board, which is a partnership between Members and staff, was set up on 18 April 2016 to make proposals on redesigning The Highland Council, in the context of our new duties to involve communities more in local decisions and services affecting them.
The Leader of the Council has welcomed the announcement by Police Scotland of their plan to delay the closure of the Inverness Control Room and transfer of command and control to Dundee until June 2017. Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "The HMICS (Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabularies Scotland) Report set the bar high for standards of assurance and we need to have a guarantee that all these standards have been met before any changes can take place.
All Scottish councils with responsibility for island communities involved. A new Islands Strategic Group will be created, bringing all six local authorities with responsibility for Scotland's 93 inhabited island communities together.
Funding applications totalling £558,000 from the Highland Council's Capital Discretionary Fund have been agreed by Resources Committee, for four local proposals in the Highlands. £18,000 was awarded to Evanton Community Trust towards the urgent repair and reinstatement of three local footpaths.
The Council's Resources Committee has agreed to select WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd as its Preferred Bidder for the future delivery of its ICT Core Services. However, the Council is still in a commercially confidential procurement process and an announcement of a formal award of contract will not be made until around 12 September following the required legal "standstill period".
A business case for the council's proposal for a regional sports hub has been submitted to the council's finance service. Councillors agreed in March 2015 to progress an ambitious Regional Sports Facility for the Highlands, which could include a significant contribution by Sportscotland to the project.
People submitting building standards applications to The Highland Council will benefit from a major new improvement to the Council's digital services that will be on offer from Wednesday 24 August. The eBuilding Standards Service will allow customers to submit all Building Standards applications to Highland Council electronically in the same way customers can already make planning applications electronically using ePlanning.
The Highland Council has been made aware by its contractor Hub North Scotland (Wick) Ltd., of delays affecting the completion of the Wick Joint Campus which includes: • A new Wick High School; • East Caithness community facilities which will be managed and operated by High Life Highland (HLH); and • Newton Park Primary School replacing the former Pulteneytown and South Primary Schools. Regrettably it seems unlikely that the campus will be ready to open in October, as envisaged.
The timetable for the election for the return of a councillor for the Culloden and Ardersier ward of The Highland Council has been announced today (Thursday 17 August) The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor John Ford. He was one of four Councillors representing Ward 18 which has an electorate of 9,137.
Leader of Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson, has asked the Chief Executive for an overview of the delivery of education capital projects, to see where further improvements can be made and any problems can be avoided. Cllr Davidson said: "During the past year we have learnt many lessons from previous projects and this has led to many improvements in project management and better reporting to elected members.
The Inspector of Crematoria Scotland has described Inverness Crematorium as being well run by staff who display a caring and professional approach to their duties. The comments come following a recent inspection focussing on the issues raised following some national high profile investigations and enquiries into the inappropriate scattering of ashes in other areas.
Grass cutting in Skye and Lochalsh is to be brought in house from next year and the Council is to carry out an options appraisal to allow members to decide how future grass cutting will be carried out in the rest of the Highlands. Grass cutting and burial ground maintenance forms part of the Council's Amenity Services which also includes war memorial maintenance, management of public conveniences, play park maintenance and burial and cremation services.
Members of The Highland Council's Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee have agreed to adopt the Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance as statutory supplementary guidance to the Highland-wide Local Development Plan. This means that from today the Guidance will be used as material consideration in any applications and will have full weight in the planning process as part of the Development Plan once Scottish Ministers have given it their final scrutiny.
One hundred and thirty probationer teachers were recently welcomed to the Highlands (on Friday 12 August), at an induction course held in the Highland Council Chamber. Councillor Drew Millar, chair of Education, Children and Adult Services said: "I am very pleased to see so many people keen to start a career in education.
Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson is supporting calls for the reintroduction of an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) for waters around the west of Scotland and the Western Isles. Cllr Davidson said: "I strongly support the calls from our colleagues in the Western Isles who have to deal with the serious consequences of having an oil rig threaten their coastline.