Redesign Board set to agree a range of council functions for review
29th August 2016
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 Board identified five Outcomes for the Council which were agreed by Council in June. Some 270 functions were listed and grouped under each of the outcomes. The Board are now set to agree a review of around 120 of these functions which will be taken to full Council in September for approval.
Convener Isobel McCallum, Chair of the Redesign Board said:"It is good practice for any organisation or business to regularly review its activities to look for opportunities for improvements and income growth, and to identify where there can be efficiencies and cost reductions.
"Our aim is to streamline how our services are delivered through more efficient ways of working.
"This is a careful and managed approach to exploring how we deliver our services, involving our staff, our communities and the public."
Vice Convener Councillor Bill Lobban and Vice Chair of the Redesign Board explained:"The Redesign Board has taken an overview of individual council services and has come to the conclusion that 120 functions are worthy of review. These were selected on the basis that there could be an opportunity to deliver them differently or more efficiently.
"The board is open to a range of options and we welcome input from the public, partners and our staff whilst also taking into consideration the impact of any future national reviews and programmes."
"Once Council has approved the areas for review and how they will be prioritised, the Board will consider which reviews should take place first."
Councillor McCallum went on to say:“What is really important is that staff are fully engaged in the process as they are the people who know most about the services they provide. Our value is that we believe everyone can have new ideas for doing things better. We want to hear them, especially when they challenge us."
Wick councillor Bill Fernie one of the Redesign Board members, who is also Chairman of the Resources committee and Budget Leader of Highland Council said,"It is essential that the work of the board carries on and even though the reviews take up to two years I will with my budget team take account of the early work when considering our next budget later this year. We are under no illusions that things will get any easier as it looks likely that further reductions in our grant allocation from Scottish government will continue. Likely council tax rises will not help as that money is to be ring fenced by Scottish Government to help attainment in schools. Despite al of the restrictions we are going to try and make many changes and preserve as many services as we can while making them more efficient."
The Board's recommendations will be taken to Council on 8 September 2016 for approval.
Redesign Board agenda and papers:
Mears signs new cost savings deal on PPP Highland schools project. Mears has signed a new deal with the Highland Council which will see millions of pounds saved over the lifetime of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) Highland Schools Project.
The Highland Council and partners are advising motorists of temporary road closures and speed restrictions which will be in place next weekend (22 - 23 April) during the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. The restrictions and prohibitions which are being put in place are for participants' safety and to allow the Etape to take place on public roads.
A Local business has been found in contempt of court after breaching an Enforcement Order previously issued following action taken by Highland Council Trading Standards. On the 12th April 2017 at Inverness Sherriff Court Ms Diane Urquhart, Director of Inverness Fireplace and Heating Centre and Mr Michael Armour also of Inverness Fireplace and Heating Centre were found in breach of an Enforcement Order issued under the Enterprise Act 2002 and in contempt of court.
The Highland Council advises that Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) bills for 2017/18 are now being issued. NDR is also known as Business Rates.
Voters are reminded of the deadlines for both registering to vote and applying to vote by post in the forthcoming Highland Council elections on Thursday 4 May. Registration: To be able to vote in the elections, voters must be 16 years or over on 4 May 2017 and must be registered to vote.
In response to a call for evidence on the impact of city-region deals in Scotland, by a Scottish Parliament Committee, Highland Council Director of Development and Infrastructure, Stuart Black said:"It is very early days to assess the impact of the City-Region Deal, however, it is anticipated that the impact of the Deal on Inverness and the wider Highland region will be significant in securing the long term productivity and economic growth of the region and position it as a region of digital opportunity. Regional partners estimate that the City-Region Deal funding of £315m could unlock up to an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.
With Scottish Council elections taking place in just a few weeks, voters in the Highlands are being urged to make sure they are registered to vote and are able to take part on polling day, Thursday 4 May. The call for voters to sign up comes as the Electoral Commission launches a national voter registration campaign to encourage as many people as possible to register ahead of the elections taking place this year.
The Highland Council has awarded a contract to a world leading engineering design firm to carry out comprehensive flood protection studies for two Highland coastal towns. Thurso on the north coast and Golspie on the east coast have both suffered from flooding incidents over the years that has affected domestic and business properties and resulted in both towns being identified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) in the Highland and Argyll Local Flood Risk Management Plan.
The elections for the 74 seats on The Highland Council, being held on Thursday 4 May, will involve 165 candidates contesting all of the 21 multi-member wards. Caithness will now only have two wards instead of three.
The 2017 Highland Council election has been officially called today (Monday 13 March) with the Returning Officer seeking nominations from candidates wishing to stand in the local government elections which take place on Thursday 4 May. A total of 74 Councillors will be appointed to represent the Council in 21 electoral wards, each with three or four elected members.
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