Local Authority News
Tenants of The Highland Council are being urged to consider insuring the contents of their homes to avoid the cost of having to replace furnishings and equipment lost by a major incident, such as flooding, burglary or fire. With its insurance partner Allianz, the Council is providing low cost home contents insurance for tenants.
In a move to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites, The Highland Council has altered its free Bulky Uplift policy so that from the beginning of July 2008 black bag waste will be removed from the list of approved items for these pre-arranged collections. Currently the free uplifting service can be booked to remove any article of household waste which cannot fit into a normal domestic bin, any item which weighs over 25kg and up to 10 black bags.
The Highland Council has been awarded the Charter Mark Standard for excellence in customer service delivery for its network of 37 Service Points and its Service Centre at Alness. After first achieving Charter Mark status in 1999, this is the fifth time that the Cabinet Office has presented the Council with this UK Government award which recognises top quality service delivery.
Funding for local tourism projects in the Highlands has received a welcome boost from The Highland Council. The Council has revealed that it contributed over £84,000 to community tourism projects around the Highlands during 2007/08 and that it intends raising the upper limit on individual grants available in the new financial year.
Young people from across the Highlands recently got the chance for the third year running to play the "Apprentice" by shadowing senior officials within The Highland Council's Glenurquhart offices in Inverness and partner agencies. The executive of Highland Youth Voice, the youth parliament for the Highlands, have found this event to be the best way of developing their links with policy makers and decision-takers.
The Highland Council has agreed to form a working group to review the political arrangements that have been in place since the new council was elected in May, last year. The group of 15 members of the Independent/Scottish National Party Administration will examine:- ~ the strategic committee structure; ~ the Planning Applications and Review Committees, Licensing Committees and Licensing Board, currently set up in each of the three operational areas; ~ the operation of the wards and ward forums; and ~ the potential for technological solutions to secure improved access to the democratic process for elected members and the public.
Highland Councillors are calling on the Boundary Commission for Scotland to reconsider proposals for new Scottish Parliamentary boundaries in the Highlands so that the area is represented by four directly elected constituency MSPs instead of the current three. The Commission is consulting on a proposal to establish three constituencies, called North Highland, West Highland and East Highland.
Trading Standards Officers of The Highland Council are taking part in a national campaign ~ Scams Awareness Month - to crack down on the misery and heartache caused by unscrupulous scammers, whose sole aim is to persuade consumers to part with their money. Working jointly with the Office of Fair Trading, they are focusing on consumer education to help the public spot a scam and are encouraging the public to hand in to designated Council offices scam literature received this month.
The Highland Council is set to spend an additional £1 million in the new financial year in keeping Highland communities cleaner and tidier. The commitment to community works is a priority of the Council Administration and, subject to confirmation by the full Council on 14 February, communities will see:- - Increased levels of education and enforcement in littering and dog fouling by employing three enforcement officers (£90,000); - Increased standards of litter picking and street cleaning by employing an additional 17 street cleansing staff (£500,000); - Increased standards of grounds maintenance by employing the equivalent of 34 additional seasonal grounds maintenance operatives (£410,000).
Pulteney House, Wick, a care home for 18 older people, was officially reopened today (Friday 1st February) following a £431,000 refurbishment. This is the sixth Highland run care home to be refurbished under the Council's programme of improvements at a total cost so far of £2.3 million.
A footbridge, which forms an important pedestrian link to Thurso Cemetery, is to be replaced by The Highland Council at a cost of £400,000. The bridge was lost in the floods of October 2006 - and with it went one of the town's most popular walks.
The first Ward Forum for The Highland Council electoral ward of Wick will take place in the Norseman Hotel, Wick on Tuesday 11 September from 7.00 pm - 9.00 pm. The meeting will be held in public and there will be a 20 minute session at the close of the meeting for the public to ask questions.
To help meet the increasing demand for building warrants and completion certificates, The Highland Council's Resources Committee has agreed to create three additional posts of building standards officer. The new staff will be based in the Council's offices at Dingwall, Fort William and Kingussie.
Energy management measures are beginning to pay dividends for The Highland Council and further investments are proposed to meet targets set by the Council's Administration to reduce energy use and carbon emissions by 15% and increase renewable energy sources by a minimum of 4,000 kw by 2010. The Highland Council's Resources Committee was told this week that at the end of the first year of the Council's energy management performance plan, an overall decrease in energy consumption of 16% was achieved and almost £1 million of costs avoided.
A bid is to be made by The Highland Council to the Scottish Government for a further £1,668,000 of grant aid to fully fund the repairs to council properties/infrastructure and community assets caused by the storm damage of October last year. In March, the Council has received a grant of £4 million towards the repair bill.
A new section of website focusing on the regeneration efforts in Caithness and North Sutherland has been launched. The importance of the work now going on cannot be underestimated and a look at the bottom of this page shows the bodies involved in this new process to find a new future for the far north post Dounreay.
Highland Council's new leadership team visited Dounreay on July 20 to see how Scotland's biggest nuclear clean-up project is changing the face of the north Highlands. Recently-elected convener Councillor Sandy Park was accompanied by the authority's new chief executive Alistair Dodds on a tour of the £2.9 billion project to decommission the fast reactor experiment.
Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are calling on consumers to be on their guard when buying on the internet after a survey highlighted that 40% of on-line business failed to fully comply with the Law. A recent in-depth survey has uncovered a variety of problems for consumers such as hidden costs and denial of cancellation rights.
Public Urged To Be On Their Guard Against Romanian Street Traders Selling Fake Gold Jewellery The Highland Council's Trading Standards Unit and Northern Constabulary are urging the public to be on their guard against Romanian street traders who are operating in the Highlands. Trading Standards officers within the Council's TEC Services and Northern Constabulary have received complaints regarding street sellers approaching members of the public and businesses offering "fake" gold rings, chains and bracelets.
The process for the development of a new Highland Council office in Wick took a step further forward this week when members of the Council's Resources Committee agreed to ask four developers to submit outline solutions for the development to the Council. At the end of 2006 and early 2007 the Council advertised its requirements for a new office to provide accommodation for between 150 - 200 staff currently based in a number office buildings in Wick.