Local Authority News
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.
Highland councilors will be asked at a meeting of the Resources committee on 14th February 2007 in Inverness to approve the use of contractors who are registered with Constructionline, an Approved List register of assessed companies. See www.constructionline.co.uk Several councils and other public bodies in Scotland already require contractors and consultants in the construction industry to be registered with Constructionline as part of the pre-qualification requirements when applying for property-related construction tenders.
With only two weeks before Christmas Day, The Highland Council's Trading Standards Service is advising shoppers during this busy time to be aware of their consumer rights. Head of Trading Standards, Nigel MacKenzie said: "Some shoppers have taken the option to shop on-line this Christmas in order to beat the car park queues and crowds thronging around the busy towns throughout the Highlands.
Christmas could break the bank for the more than 6.6 million people already behind on payments, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) warned today launching its Christmas debt awareness campaign. The campaign asks shoppers to think of the debt they may be racking up ahead of January when the bills arrive.
An E-learning system developed by The Highland Council to train staff on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit fraud awareness is such a success that it is now being used by 270 other local authorities across the UK. The training package entitled "Focus on Fraud Awareness" makes the process of delivering quality training to a large number of front-line staff spread across a large geographical area both effective and efficient.
The Highland Council's TEC Services has approved increased taxi fares following consultation with the trade and public and these will take effect from Monday 18 September. The Council undertook a review of the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hires cars fitted with taxi meters in accordance with the requirements of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
A report going to The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee on Thursday (I June) will show that following the introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed places, the enforcement strategy adopted by the Council, has been effective, and compliance by businesses and customers in Highland has been extremely high. Councillors will be told that of the 778 premises inspected so far, 572 have been found to be fully compliant and the remaining 206 required advice in meet the strict requirements of the legislation.
The building enabling work for Caithness Horizons has begun, with the contract for the first phase of work being awarded by Highland Council to local firm MM Miller (Wick) Ltd. Caithness Horizons has held its first annual general meeting and is delighted to announce that directors Paul Cariss, the company's chairman, and Tina Wrighton of UKAEA have both been co-opted back onto the board.
COUNCIL ENCOURAGED WITH RESPONSE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY LEASING SCHEME Highland Council's Housing Service has been greatly encouraged by its public appeal earlier this month to private property owners to consider leasing their properties to the Council. Members and officials have welcomed the response from 24 people from throughout the Highlands who have contacted Housing staff to enquire about the Council's private leasing scheme.