Local Authority News
The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today. Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.
Members were today asked to note the good progress being made in relation to the local authority's Recovery Action Plan despite the significant challenges faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted that important work on the 11 key priorities continues at pace.
The Highland Council is issuing a reminder that no more than 20 people should attend a funeral service in person. No changes to these restrictions on funeral services were announced by the Scottish Government following the three weekly formal review of coronavirus controls last week.
Move towards a more sustainable delivery of humanitarian assistance proposed as Highland navigates COVID-19 recovery phase. Staff and Communities have been praised for their outstanding response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Highland Council is reminding communities the service point network remains closed, in line with COVID 19 guidance. Anyone who wishes to access Council services can do so online, over the telephone or by email.
Today's announcement from the First Minister is very much what we have been anticipating and preparing for in our return to Highland education settings. It is a great reassurance that we can now continue with our work to achieve a full return of pupils and staff, including those who were previously shielding, in August.
From 29th June, Highland Council Registration Offices resumed birth registration. As birth registrations were suspended since late March, The Highland Council's Registrars are now working through a backlog and it is important that they register births in date order wherever possible.
The Highland Council announced on Thursday 23 July 2020 additional materials will start to be accepted at many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region and some opening times extended as part of the planned phased reopening. Wood and scrap metal have now been added to the range of items that are accepted at the majority of facilities where the layout and size of the site allows.
The Highland Council can now confirm that the Bulky Uplift Service is being re-instated from today, Monday 20 July 2020. The service was suspended on the 23rd March due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and the need to prioritise staff to provide essential waste and recycling collections.
Following the Council's announcement that contract work valued at over £60 million for new housing development projects across the Highlands has resumed, the Chair of the Housing and Property Committee has confirmed that capital investment works for the Council's current housing stock will be re-starting shortly. Contractors have supplied The Highland Council with detailed work plans for safe working, encompassing social distancing and following all guidance relating to Covid-19.
Members of The Highland Council's Recovery Board have welcomed proposals that will enable them to scrutinise progress being made on the Council's Recovery Action Plan from the coronavirus pandemic at any time they choose in ‘real-time’. Chair of the Recovery Board, Depute Leader Alasdair Christie said: "I am delighted that Members will soon be able to look into the Recovery Action Plan in real time through the Council’s performance management system to see what the progress is on the plan.
The first meeting of Highland Council's new Tourism Committee was held virtually today (16 July 2020). Cllr Maxine Smith was appointed as Chair and Cllr Gordon Adam as Vice Chair.
The Highland Council is advising drivers in Sutherland that two temporary road closures will be in place from the start of August to enable SSE and Network Rail to carry out works. Part of the U2437 Trentham Street in Helmsdale will be temporarily closed to all traffic from 8am on Monday 3 August until 10pm on Friday 4 September for SSE to carry out works.
The Highland Council is warning the public to be on their guard for the latest COVID-19 scam which is circulating around the country. Information on this scam was received by Highland Council Trading Standards, through a national intelligence network.
Many Highland Council tenants may be missing out on help towards their rent from Universal Credit because they have not notified the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of their annual rent increase which came into effect on the 30th March 2020. Those tenants who have not yet reported their rent increase could be facing a shortfall in the help they receive towards their rent, putting them at risk of rent arrears.
Following the freezing of some charges and suspension of enforcement for others during the lockdown period, The Highland Council has been following a phased return to normal operations since the 26th of June. Further details are given below.
The Highland Council is updating parents and carers of its position on early learning and childcare (ELC). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scottish Government removed the statutory requirement for Local Authorities to deliver 1140 hours of ELC from August.
The Highland Council is planning to re-open play areas across the region throughout summer. Advice was provided by the Scottish Government on 28 June as to the safety measures that should be applied.
Margaret Davidson, the Leader of the Highland Council has given her strong support to the efforts of the Scottish Government to obtain greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Government. The Scottish Government have sought flexibility to offset capital underspend against resource expenditure, more flexibility over resource borrowing and greater flexibility over the use of the reserve for capital.
The Caithness Committee met virtual today for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and it's agenda focused on the actions taken by the Council and the third sector to deal with the effects of Coronavirus in Caithness. The Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Paul Senior, gave members an update on the plans and preparations underway to prepare for the return of pupils and staff to Caithness schools in August.