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Local Authority News

FREE Business Workshops For New and Existing Businesses
FREE Business Gateway Workshops For New and Existing Businesses.   Thinking of starting your own business in the next few months, or developing your existing business - then contact Jennifer Irvine, Regional Development Officer, Business Gateway, Caithness.  
Substance Abuse training Aims To Save Caithness Children's Lives
People who work with children and young people in Caithness have recently been trained to identify and understand the signs of solvent abuse.   Training was organised and sponsored by The Highland Council's Youth Action Team and Caithness Drug & Alcohol Forum and delivered by the charity Re-Solv that specialises in volatile substance abuse training.  
Making It Easier To Pay Council Bills
The Highland Council is to consult with the public over plans to extend the number of ways the public can pay Council bills, such as Council Tax, Non-Domestic Rates and rent.   A bonus for the Council is that it can save at least 400,000 per year through changing the way it collects payments.  
2,300 People Join Highland Citizens' Panel
A total of 2,300 householders have signed up for the new Citizens' Panel established by The Highland Council to gauge satisfaction with Council services.  A performance survey will this week be posted or emailed to panel members seeking their views on a wide range of council services, including contact with the council; satisfaction with services; community life; and how the council can save money given the challenging economic environment and reductions in public funding.  
Council Staff Terms And Conditions Agreed
New harmonised and non-discriminating terms and conditions of employment for staff of The Highland Council have been agreed and will be implemented no later than 1 October 2010.   Following a ballot, trade unions have accepted collective agreement on the Council's proposals and the wording of the agreement will soon be signed by all parties.  
Funding Releases Huge Boost For Marine Tourism
The Highland Council has agreed funding of 100,000 over the next three years to complete a funding package which will expand the marine tourism industry between the west of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.   This will see new infrastructure and ancillary harbour services provided at Mallaig and Lochaline and project development work carried out for Kinlochleven, Inverie and the Small Isles.  
Council Appoints New Gaelic Development Manager
The Highland Council's new Gaelic Development Manager is Kenneth Murray, a native Gaelic speaker from Lewis, who is a former Chief Executive of Brd na Gidhlig.   He previously worked for the Forestry Commission, both in Edinburgh and Inverness for 25 years, latterly as Parliamentary and Cultural Programmes Manager.  
Council Reaffirms Support For Scotland's Housing ExpoThumbnail for article : Council Reaffirms Support For Scotland's Housing Expo
1st - 31st August At Inverness - Scotland First Housing Expo Over 50 New Houses - See The Competition Winners All Building Now The Highland Council has reaffirmed its continued support for Scotland's Housing Expo which will take place throughout the month of August at Milton of Leys, in Inverness.   Members of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee on Wednesday 26 May 2010 agreed to underwrite the event up to a maximum of 100,000 to provide resources for the Board until ticket sales and all sponsorship funding is received.  
Scotland's Education Is Changing - Parental Newsletter
Parental newsletter - May 2010 Issued By Highland Councils Education Service Scotland's education is changing.   Curriculum for Excellence will enable young people to become Confident Individuals, Successful Learners, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors to society and at work.  
Highland Council Advice Service Wins Top Scottish Award
A value added service offered by The Highland Council in partnership with a number of other national agencies including Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Transport Scotland has received national recognition at the Homes for Scotland Awards 2010.   The Pre-Application Advice Service for Major Developments, a cross Council service led by the Planning and Development Service, received an award in the Key Agency Working category.  
Highland Schools Introduce National Music Programme
Schools throughout the Highlands are to benefit from a training event being held this weekend in Inverness which will see participants learning how to deliver the national programme "Active Learning through Music".   On Saturday 22 May around 70 participants attended the event held at Millburn Academy.  
Highland Wins National Competition For Internet Safety ResourcesThumbnail for article : Highland Wins National Competition For Internet Safety Resources
A Highland play aimed at protecting children from cyber-bullying has won a national award and is to be used as a national teaching resource.   Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced the launch of an action plan and marketing campaign to improve the safety of children on the internet and prevent problems such as cyber bullying, internet fraud and online grooming.  
Updated Plan for Gypsy Travellers
Highland Council updates Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee have welcomed progress on the implementation of a Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands.   Members also agreed to a new set of actions for inclusion in the plan and revisions to the Unauthorised Encampment Policy and Procedures.  
Moving the Development Plan Forward
The Planning Environment and Development Committee of Highland Council will consider a report setting out the latest thinking on the vision and spatial strategy of the Highland wide Local Development Plan.   This latest stage in the plan's preparation has been reached following an extensive public consultation held between August and November 2009.  
Highland Housing Register allocations policy updated
Changes to the criteria on how social rented housing is allocated in the Highlands have been approved by members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee.   From September 2010, The Highland Council and partners that allocate Council and housing association properties throughout the Highlands will implement a revised Highland Housing Register Allocations Policy.  
National recognition for Highland LibrariesThumbnail for article : National recognition for Highland Libraries
The excellence of The Highland Council's Library service in implementing new technology has won national recognition.   Highland Libraries has become the first Library Service in Scotland to receive accreditation by the E4libraries project.  
Care Commission rates Highland Fostering and Adoption Services as excellent
A report published by the Care Commission on their inspections of The Highland Council's Fostering and Adoption Services has rated the service as "excellent" on all quality indicators.   Members of the Council's Housing and Social Work committee welcomed the findings of the report and commended carers, staff and managers for their work.  
Support confirmed for education policy on English as an Additional Language in the Highlands
A new policy and guidance on English as an additional language will be introduced in schools and educational establishments throughout the Highlands.   Members of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee welcomed the new policy which aims to provide a plan of action for the appropriate education of pupils for whom English is an additional language.  
New operator for Wick district heating system
The Highland Council has moved a step closer to finding an operator to run the district heating scheme at Pulteneytown, Wick, currently operated by Caithness Heat and Power Ltd, a company owned and run by the Council.   Following a procurement exercise, the Council has identified a preferred bidder to provide a suitable renewable energy solution for the existing customers of Caithness Heat and Power.  
Highland Director of Social Work to retire in August
Harriet Dempster, Director of Social Work Services, The Highland Council, is to retire in the summer after 36 years service in social work and 11 years at the helm in Highland.   At its meeting on Thursday, the Council paid tribute to Ms Dempster's contribution to the council and wished her well in her retirement.