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Local Authority News

New Director of Social Work appointed
The Highland Council's recruitment panel for director-level appointments has unanimously appointed Bill Alexander as its Director of Social Work.  Mr Alexander will take over from Harriet Dempster, who retires at the end of August after 11 years at the helm of the service.  
Council Publishes Consultation Reports On Highland School Closures
The results of statutory consultations carried out by The Highland Council to amalgamate or close rural primary schools which the Council considers are no longer educationally viable will be available for public viewing from Wednesday 14 July for three weeks.   Under the terms of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010, the Council has recently carried out consultations in Lochaber, Skye and West Ross to: * Amalgamate Fort William Primary School and Upper Achintore Primary School in a new school on a site yet to be identified.  
Extended Licenses For Royal National Mod in Caithness
Opportunity for local businesses to apply for extended licences during Royal National Mod The Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Divisional Licensing Board have designated the Royal National Mod being held In Caithness between 8th and 16th October 2010 as a special event of local significance for Caithness and have agreed to grant applications for extended hours, until 1.30am, for on-sales premises for the duration of the event.   Premises licence holders wishing to take advantage of the additional hours should make an early application for extended hours to the Clerk to the Licensing Board at the Council Offices, Market Square, Wick.  
Highland Residents Beware Of Free Home Alarm Offers
Highland residents warned to be on guard against free home alarm offers Highland Council Trading Standards are warning all residents to be on their guard when answering 'cold-call' telephone sales calls offering a 'free home fire and security survey', if they agree to a home visit by sales staff.   This warning follows on from previous warnings by Trading Standards as a result of firms continuing to target elderly and vulnerable consumers in the Highland area.  
Build-up to New Waste Collection Trial Begins
In a move to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill The Highland Council will be running a new 6 month trial of new waste collections in Skye and Lochalsh.   During the next few weeks all residents will receive a card in the post giving details of the new service which starts on the 6th September.  
Council Care Homes Refurbishments Continue
Afternoon party marks official opening of Lochbroom House Lochbroom House, a care home for 11 older people in Ullapool, was officially reopened yesterday (Tuesday 6th July) following a 1.4 million refurbishment.  The centre is the ninth Council care home to be refurbished under its 3.5 million programme of improvements.  
Residents and Day Attenders go on-line At Bayview, ThursoThumbnail for article : Residents and Day Attenders go on-line At Bayview, Thurso
Residents and Day Attenders from Bayview House in Thurso can now go on-line to keep in touch with families and friends.   B.T connections have provided funding for a laptop and internet access for the Care Home residents while the Dounreay Communities Fund donated 250 towards a laptop and broadband connection for Day Attenders of The Highland Council run facility.  
Highland Communicite Encouraged To Apply For Broadband Improvement Fund
Highland Communities encourages to put forward projects for Broadband improvement funding Rural communities across the Highlands are being encouraged to put forward bids for a share of a million Euro fund that could bring enhanced Broadband to their area including improved coverage and faster connections.   Following an announcement last week by the Scottish Government that funding was now available, The Highland Leader Programme is encouraging interested communities to make contact with their local LEADER representative to start the application process.  
Highland Students Graduate In Teacher TrainingThumbnail for article : Highland Students Graduate In Teacher Training
Eighteen Highland students graduated through the University of Aberdeen this week at a ceremony held in the Town House, Inverness.   Celebrating their qualifications as new teachers were sixteen students receiving the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education by Distance Learning (Primary).  
Highland Council To Build 55 New Council Houses
Council welcomes Scottish Government funding for new home building in the Highlands.   Fifty five new homes are to be built in the Highlands by The Highland Council with the help of 1.65 million from the Scottish Government's 'Incentivising New Council House Building Fund'.  
Council Tenants Invited To Have Their Say On Rents Review
Around 13,600 Highland Council housing tenants will receive a letter and questionnaire this week inviting them to make their opinions known on a review of council house rents and service charges throughout the Highlands.   In May 2010, members of the Council's Housing and Social Work Committee approved a major review of the Council's housing rents and service charges and the council is currently consulting tenants individually and local tenants groups.  
Young People Asked Their Opinions on Highland Council's BudgetThumbnail for article : Young People Asked Their Opinions on Highland Council's Budget
Highland Youth Voice, the elected youth parliament for the Highlands recently met for their summer conference and was invited to take part in the Highland Council's discussions on the budget.   The young people were joined by Council Chief Executive Alistair Dodds, Budget Leader David Alston, Convener Sandy Park and Director of Finance, Alan Geddes to discuss the budget proposals.  
Council Consults On Rented Housing Pressured Area Status
People in the Highlands are being asked to make their views known on 'Pressured Area Status' concerning socially rented housing provided by The Highland Council and housing associations.   Many communities in Highland are already covered by Pressured Area Status designation which over the last 5 years has helped to prevent social rented housing being sold through the Right to Buy.  
Wick High Included In Council Capital Programme
The Highland Council today (Thursday 24th June 2010) included funding for a replacement Wick High School in its new five-year building programme.   The estimated cost of the new school is 34.3 million - 18.4 million of which will be funded by the Scottish Government.  
School Upgradings Gven Piority I Council Capital Programme
School projects are given priority in the spending plans agreed by The Highland Council for the next five years and beyond.  More than 150 million has been set aside for school improvements or new schools.  
Options For New Wick High School
The public is being invited to a "drop in " session and a public meeting later this month to consider the options open to the Council for the upgrade/replacement of Wick High School.   The "drop in" session is being held on Monday 28 June at the Assembly Rooms, Wick, between 10 am and 5 pm.  
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.