Local Authority News
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Highland Council's new Gaelic Development Manager is Kenneth Murray, a native Gaelic speaker from Lewis, who is a former Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. He previously worked for the Forestry Commission, both in Edinburgh and Inverness for 25 years, latterly as Parliamentary and Cultural Programmes Manager.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.