Council Budget Consultation With The Public 2012
19th August 2012
The Highland Council has today (Monday 20th august 2012) launched a three-month long public consultation to help bridge a projected budget gap of almost £30 million over the next two financial years. A series of Ward Forums as well as briefing events with business, voluntary and specialist groups are planned before 19 October to complement the views expressed by staff, trade unions and the Council's Citizen Panel of 2,300 residents.
The public can also access the budget information and comment online.
The aim is to bring a report to the full Council in December and agree the budget for 2013/14 and 2014/15 in February of next year.
The savings required by the Council in 2013/14 and 2014/15 are £29.7 million. Already proposed are savings of £17.8 million, leaving a gap of £11.9 million.
The public will be asked to comment on four main areas of operation:-
Ways of working
Infrastructure and resources
Council Leader Councillor Drew Hendry said: "The assistance we received from the public two years ago was invaluable and therefore we intend to build on this success in repeating the exercise. The financial environment looks challenging even beyond the next two financial years so the consultation will also assist in our longer term budget planning."
Leading the consultation is Councillor Dave Fallows, Chairman of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee. He will be attending the public consultation meetings and moderating a budget blog on the Council's web site, which will be launched on Monday 27 August. Each week, he will introduce a new subject for discussion, starting with education.
He recalled the success of a similar budget consultation in 2010 when the comments of the public helped the Council agree a package of savings for three years totalling £55 million. The public had told the Council it needed to look at income generation, management costs and making the best use of its assets.
The Council had since introduced advertising in Council publications and on its web site; reduced management costs by £1.3 million; and transferred the running of culture and leisure services to a not-for-profit organisation - High Life Highland.
The Council had also moved to fortnightly bin collections and reduced costs on street lighting through dimming and off-peak switch off of lights.
He said: "Following the close of our consultation, all comments will be collated and analysed. The findings will be considered and firm budget proposals will be developed. Some of these proposals will be considered when the Council meets in December and the final proposals at a meeting of the Council in February, next year. We will assess any proposals for the impact they may have on different groups within our community."
Budget Consultation Events
Have your say on our Budget Consultation by coming along to one of our consultation events that are taking place across the Highland area.
A full list of dates and venues are outlined below. Each event will start at 6.30pm.
Please contact the appropriate Ward Manager should you have any queries.
3rd Portree High School, Portree
4th Caol Community Centre, Fort William
11th Norseman Hotel, Wick
12th venue to be confirmed, Aviemore
13th Durness Village Hall, Durness
17th Lochcarron Village Hall, Lochcarron
19th Mercat Centre, Milton
20th Inverness High School, Inverness
24th Brora Community Centre, Brora
26th Rosebank Primary School, Nairn
1st Victoria Park, Dingwall
30th Culloden Academy Complex, Inverness
The Highland Council welcomed a visit from Jeane Freeman MSP, Minister for Social Security, on Thursday 20 October. The purpose of the visit is to discuss the Scottish Welfare Fund and Universal Credit and the visit presented an opportunity for senior members and officers to demonstrate best practice in Highland and to put forward views towards the consultation on devolved Social Security in Scotland.
The Highland Council is anticipating it may have to make savings of Â£47 million to Â£72 million over the next 3 years, with a budget gap of some Â£26 million next year (2017-18) The financial environment is very challenging, with an unprecedented degree of uncertainty which makes planning very difficult. There will be a very short timescale to react and provide options for budget savings once the Scottish Government settlement is made known on 15 December.
Dornoch is the only Scottish finalist in the Great British High Street Awards and local Councillor Jim McGillivray is calling for people to cast their vote to give the Sutherland village a chance of winning. He said: "Across all fourteen categories of the awards, Dornoch is the only Scottish finalist, and we're up against Leominister and Stockton on Tees in the Rising Star category, both of which have much larger populations than we do.
The Redesign Board of The Highland Council will recommend keeping Catering, Cleaning and Facilities Management/Janitorial Services (CCFM) in house within the Council. Options for the future management of Catering, Cleaning and Facilities Management/Janitorial Services (CCFM) were considered by the Redesign Board today.
The Highland Council is asking people in the Highlands - â€˜Are you ready for winter?'. The Council is again supporting the Scottish Government's Ready Scotland campaign at www.readyscotland.organd urges people in the Highlands to take some time to get ready for winter and all kinds of severe weather.
Trish Robertson has been elected as Culloden and Ardersier Ward Member for Highland Council. The by-election for a councillor to serve the Culloden and Ardersier Ward (No 18) on The Highland Council has been won by Trish Robertson - Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The timing of the Scottish Government's 2017-18 Budget has been confirmed to Parliament. Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has told MSPs that, subject to Parliamentary approval, the Draft Budget 2017-18 will be introduced to Parliament on 15th December 2016.
Voluntary organisations and personal licence holders who obtain occasional licences for the sale of alcohol under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 for events they are organising may shortly also require to obtain a public entertainment licence under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for the same event. Premises with a premises licence or an occasional licence for the sale of alcohol under the 2005 Act have both up till now been exempt from the requirement also to hold a public entertainment licence ( PEL) under the 1982 Act.
Business cases totalling a value of around Â£48 million have been submitted as part of the City-Region Deal. If approved, the money will be drawn down so that work can start on progressing a number of exciting projects in the Highlands.
Speaking after the first meeting of the Islands Strategic Group co- chaired by Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands and Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, the Highland Council Leader, Margaret Davidson (Independent) said: "I was delighted to take part in this first meeting of the Islands Strategic Group as it meets to consider the strategic issues affecting all the inhabited island communities of Scotland. I am keen that we help identify and design solutions to the unique needs and challenges these communities face.
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