Chair Appointed For Caithness And Sutherland Area Committee
20th August 2012
Councillor Deirdre Mackay who represents the East Sutherland and Edderton Ward has unanimously been elected as Chairman of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee.
The committee met yesterday (Monday 20 August) for the first time at The Highland Council's Drummuie Offices in Golspie. Councillor Deirdre Mackay was nominated by Thurso Councillor Donnie Mackay and seconded by North West and Central Sutherland member, Councillor Linda Munro.
After taking the chair for the meeting she thanked her fellow councillors for their support and said: "I come from Caithness but live in Sutherland so this post has real meaning to me. Both counties are different in many respects but yet have so much in common. Local democracy was a key issue in the recent election so I am delighted that our Area Committee has been delivered so quickly and that local decision making has returned to Caithness and Sutherland in 12 short weeks.
Speaking after the meeting had ended Councillor Mackay added: "Today we approved capital projects worth over £8.5m and heard how a further £100m of public funding investment is getting ploughed into Caithness for energy sector projects and new schools and offices. We are now in a great position to really drive things forward and focus on what's important, that's the people we represent, and what we can do, through this committee, to improve their lives."
At the full Council on 31 May 2012 members agreed that a Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee be established along with the Inverness City Committee as part of a year-long pilot with a view for paving the way for a further three Area Committees.
Leader of The Highland Council Drew Hendry congratulated Councillor Deirdre Mackay on her new role. He said: "Today the Area Committee, and local democracy returned to Sutherland after five years and I am sure Deirdre will work hard to ensure the new Committee is a success with tangible results. This is a great opportunity to tailor how we do business taking into account local circumstances. As well as the area committee taking on the responsibility and scrutiny for local service delivery and deciding on how delegated budgets are spent, an important priority will be to work with partners to promote tourism and boost the local economy with a focus on making sure people are guaranteed efficient and effective services."
Next Wednesday (4 February) the four housing partners of the Highland Housing Register in Caithness will be hosting special sessions in Wick and Thurso to let people know about an exciting new way of allocating some of its properties, giving applicants much more choice about the housing they will be offered. For a period from 16 February 2015 onwards, vacancies will be advertised to promote choice.
Paper and can banks are to be phased out of The Highland Council's network of Recycling Points during February and March. The decision was taken at a meeting of The Highland Council on the 18th December, at which the budget for 2015/16 and the indicative budget for the following 3 years was agreed, a package of savings totaling ¬£42.8 million.
PROPOSALS for changing customer service provision in 22 locations across Highland are being considered as part of a public consultation. Council staff and members of the public are being asked for their views on proposed changes to how services are currently provided.
The Highland Council's new website has risen to the top 6% of UK Local Government websites, according to an independent survey into online presence. The website, launched in July 2014, aims to focus more on the needs of the customer and provides a platform to deliver more services online.
Early in February the first two in a series of workshops specifically for anyone working in the local food and drink sector will take place to highlight how social media can be best used to increase profit, support other local businesses and promote the area. The workshops follow on from the project The Highland Council ran last year across the Highlands to investigate the potential and appetite for developing an industry-led local food and drink network that could co-ordinate and drive future activities to support the local food and drink sector in the region.
The Highland Council wishes to clarify that if anyone is seeking information on their Winter Maintenance Policy and gritting maps then this information can be found on the Highland Council website. The Highland Council Winter Maintenance Policy states: "The treatment of roads will be carried out based on a hierarchical system dependant on route priority".
LEADER of The Highland Council, Drew Hendry and Chief Executive Steve Barron praised council workers following a week of severe weather affecting the region. Storm force winds caused havoc, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power for days, bringing trees and branches down across roads and railway lines, damaging buildings and causing network and telecommunications problems across the area.
Proposals to deliver the Scottish Government's report on "Developing Scotland's Young Workforce" in the Highlands have been welcomed by Members of The Highland Council‚Äôs Education, Children and Adult Services Committee this week. Members were informed that an implementation strategy for Highland‚Äôs young people will need to take into account: ¬∑ industry engagement in developing general education Curriculum for Excellence; ¬∑ specific vocational pathways leading to industry recognised qualifications; ¬∑ college systems focussed on employability; ¬∑ apprenticeship opportunities and advanced qualifications through work based learning; and ¬∑ a systematic approach to business sector engagement.
Highland Council Members have agreed the terms of reference for a review of the Facilities Management model which is being rolled out in schools across the Highlands. In 2010 the Council previously agreed to take forward the Facilities Management model, the benefits of which were expected to: ¬∑ create of a universal support function to assist Head Teachers with property and grounds management; ¬∑ create a standardised operating model under specialist line management arrangements; ¬∑ create standardised job descriptions ensuring a consistent approach to facilities management across all schools; and ¬∑ is affordable within the Council's current budget allocation.
Two Highland Council roads and 12 schools remain closed or affected today (Monday 12 January) following the severe weather. Newhall Bridge B9163 on the Black Isle is closed until further notice, due to structural damage.
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