Lessons Learned From CHaP Project
11th March 2011
The Highland Council has learned lessons from the Caithness Heat and Power Project in Wick, and introduced measures to ensure the corporate failings are not repeated in any future project.
A total of 39 actions have been put in place in a response to an internal audit of the Wick-based enterprise and these actions have been acknowledged by external audit and the Accounts Commission.
The Council also believes that strong political and managerial leadership, recognised in recent external audits, is in place to prevent similar shortcomings in governance and financial stewardship of a project.
At a special council meeting to consider the findings of the Accounts Commission in respect of the Caithness Heat and Power project, the Council accepted the failings of the project in the early stages of the business, between 2004-2007.
Council Leader Councillor Michael Foxley said: "It is critical that the Council learns lessons from this project. There were real failings but when the extent of these came to light, the Council acted promptly, openly and effectively to ensure that these were highlighted and addressed. The Council has liaised closely and fully with Audit Scotland and continues to do so in taking the project forward.
"Since 2007 the Council has changed significantly. External audits have found there is a strong political leadership within the Council, with an Administration that works consistently and effectively and a strong Opposition, which closely scrutinises proposals. These audits have also recognised the strong managerial leadership that now exists within the Council. This combination should avoid a similar position developing again."
The Council noted that tenants served by ChaP had suffered no detriment, with heat and power maintained at all times.
The Council agreed:
(i) To note the Controller of Audit's report, of 9th February 2011, on the Caithness Heat and Power project, prepared under section 102 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
(ii) To note the Accounts Commission's response to the Controller of Audit's report.
(iii) That the actions taken by the Council are sufficient to address the specific issues raised with regard to this project and are sufficient to ensure that no similar failings occur within future projects. This agreement should be confirmed to Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission.
(iv) That Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission will be kept fully informed of the progress of the project.
(v) That the Head of Internal Audit & Risk Management will undertake a follow up review in order to ensure that all actions have been implemented and are effective and agree that this report is presented to the Council.
(vi) To acknowledge and support the important role of its statutory officers.
The Council's response will be relayed to the Accounts Commission and published in the local media and on the Council's web site: www.highland.gov.uk
With Storm Caroline hitting the Highlands yesterday, today's heavy snowfall and the forecast for a drop in temperatures over the next 48 hours, the Highland Council's crews and winter vehicles have been busy in action. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over the coming months 200 plus staff will be providing winter maintenance services.
Wick Campus, including Wick High School, Newtonpark Primary School and High Life Highland Leisure facilities will remain closed on Friday 8 December 2017. The closure is due to high winds during Storm Caroline today which caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached.
Following the high winds forecast and experienced this week due to Storm Caroline, The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged. Roads affected by fallen trees this morning were near Beauly; Achnagarron near Invergordon and Lochaber which staff are clearing.
The high winds during Storm Caroline today have caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached. The school was already closed to pupils today due to the adverse weather.
Road condition reports by The Highland Council's Community Services for the morning of Thursday 7 December 2017 are as follows: Caithness and Sutherland: Most roads are affected by snow and ice. Treatment in progress.
The Highland Council expresses its deep disappointment at the news of further branch closures by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson said: "This will cause real difficulties for many customers and small businesses.
Highland consumers who have lost money to a scam involving payment through Western Union wire transfer between 1st January 2004 and 19th January 2017, are being encouraged by Highland Council Trading Standards to file a claim for a refund with America's Federal Trade Commission in a bid to get some or if not all of their money back. In January 2017, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million for turning a blind eye to scammers and other criminals who used its service to trick customers into paying for bogus prizes, loans, jobs, discounted products and other financial rewards in exchange for money upfront.
The Highland Council and Department for Work and Pensions are implementing plans to improve accessibility to their services. This joint venture will see the jobcentre staff co-locating with the Council and other services in the council's new modern office developments in both Fort William and Wick.
City-region deal investment means that Inverness can now be branded a digital city. Ness WiFi, a free WiFi service, which was successfully piloted earlier this year, has now been rolled out across Inverness city centre, extending to and including areas such as the High Street, the Castle, Eden Court, and the bus and railway stations.
Leisure and cultural venues currently run by council arm's-length bodies will continue to benefit from charity relief from non-domestic rates. Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today confirmed that the Scottish Government will not be accepting the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end this benefit.
[Printer Friendly Version]