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 will be taking over responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions across the whole of the Highlands from Monday 3 October 2016. Money raised through Penalty Charge Notices will be spent on maintaining this new service.
The Highland Council has awarded a 7 year ICT Services contract to WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd. The Council has procured a cost effective, value for money, corporate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solution that will deliver excellent operational performance and contribute to the continuous improvement of services.
At a Wick stakeholders meeting held on Monday 19 September at Wick High School, representatives from Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction gave an update on reasons for the delay and outlined a revised programme for the Wick campus delivery. The meeting was chaired by Highland Councillor for Wick Bill Fernie who expressed the Council's disappointment at the delay, and re-stated the Council's priorities to ensure that the flagship facility is completed to the standard expected, and accepting handover only at that point.
Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent Councillor) has written to The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence, to express her concerns about the future of Fort George. In her letter she said: "I am deeply concerned at the continued uncertainty around the future of Fort George as an active military barracks.
The Highland Licensing Committee has agreed changes to the activities which are required to have a public entertainment licence so the Highland Council is advising community groups, members of the public, event organisers, charities and businesses to make sure they are aware of the different requirements so not to face the disappointment of having their event or activity cancelled. In particular organisers of public Hogmanay events are being asked to check if their event now falls within the revised definition and, if so, they are being encouraged to submit their applications early.
The Highland Council has informed staff, parents and pupils of ongoing issues with the new Inverness Royal Academy building and the actions being taken to address them. The Council is working with, Hub North Scotland Limited, Morrison Construction and its sub-contractors, to resolve issues which include: problems with the school's gas installations and the impact this is having on some classes; intermittent power and ICT issues; and management of pupil flow during lunch breaks.
Officers from the Environmental Health Service have been contacting food businesses, retailers, suppliers and hoteliers across the Highlands following the Food Standards Scotland ban of cheese made by Errington Cheese Ltd, which has been linked to an E.coli 0157 outbreak in which a three year old child died. The recent cheese ban relates to Dunsyre Blue, Dunsyre Baby, Lanark Blue, Lanark White, Maisies Kebbuck, Cora Linn and Sir Lancelot.
The Highland Council is seeking public opinion on Draft Traffic Regulation Orders for the introduction of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in the Highlands. The Draft Traffic Regulation Orders are available now on the council's website at www.highland.gov.uk/parking www.highland.gov.uk/parking The public have until 30 September 2016 to submit any objections in writing to The Legal Manager, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX Decriminalised Parking Enforcement will allow responsibility for enforcing parking and waiting and loading regulations to be transferred from Police Scotland to The Highland Council.
A number of televisions seized by Trading Standards have been sent to a local charity for recycling. The televisions were amongst several items that Trading Standards Officers have seized over recent months.
Schools will be empowered to make more decisions about their pupils' learning, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said today. In a statement to the Scottish Parliament Mr Swinney announced a major review into the way Scotland's schools are run, which places at its heart the presumption that decisions will be devolved to school level.
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