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Local Authority News

Crack Down On Hardline Debt Collectors
Trading Standards Officers have joined forces with Money Advice Service colleagues on The Highland Council to tackle the "unacceptable and aggressive practices" of debt collectors.   Gordon Robb, principal trading standards officer, highlighted the joint effort to address the problem while presenting the annual report of the Council's trading standards service to a meeting of the Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee.  
Throughout Scotland's Housing Expo a series of seminars, organised by Sust, will offer an opportunity for housing and building specialists to hear expert opinion on a range of special interest topics related to the industry.  Sust is the Scottish Government's Sustainability in Architecture Programme which is part of Architecture and Design Scotland.  
Council Tax Rebate Scam
The Highland Council's Finance and Trading Standards teams have been alerted to the fact that Highland residents are currently being targeted by a Council Tax rebate scam.   The "phishing" scam involves attempts by callers to obtain bank details over the phone, on the false promise of being entitled to receive a rebate on their Council Tax payments.  
Council To Consider ArmsLength Organisation For Culture And Leisure
Highland Council to consider delivery of community learning and leisure services by arms length organisation.   Members of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service have agreed to the principle of setting up an arms length organisation to deliver the local authority's community learning and leisure services.  
Care Information Service Available by Phone and Online
The Care Information Scotland telephone helpline and website offers a single point of information on the care available for older people throughout the country.   Care Information Scotland (CIS) was launched earlier this year by the Scottish Government.  
Investigation Into Offspring Of Cloned Cow
A Council spokesman confirmed that officers from the Council's Environmental Health team had visited the farm at Auldearn yesterday (Tuesday) to interview the farmer who owned 2 of the bulls born in the UK from embryos from a cloned cow.   The visit was to confirm information on the bulls and their offspring.  
Fresh Focus For Rural Priorities
Move to benefit more applicants and help smaller projects Changes are being made to the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) to ensure rural Scotland gets maximum benefit from the Programme.   This will increase the number of business development proposals financed through the SRDP and strengthen the role of local decision-making in community development projects.  
Pioneering New House Building Model To Be Considered
Highland Councillors are being asked to consider investigating the feasibility of a pioneering new model of providing much-needed affordable homes in the Highlands.   It could see a new build programme of 650 houses over a five year period.  
Council To Outsource Culture And Leisure
Council asked to agree principle of outsourcing its leisure and cultural services.   Highland Councillors are being asked to agree the principle of establishing an arms-length organisation to deliver all activity concerning its leisure and cultural services.  
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.