Local Authority News
School closures - 30th November 2010 Caithness 52. BOWER PRIMARY 53.
As forecasters predict snow this week in the Highlands, The Highland Council has published on its web site route maps setting out its snow clearing and gritting priorities for local roads. Eight leaflets outline the Council's route and footpath priorities and provide advice and contact numbers for motorists.
Plans for greater say in care services Robison announces new Self-directed Support strategy A new strategy to give people more control over how social care and support is provided to them was today (TUES 23rd November 2010) launched by Minister for Public Health Shona Robison. The Self-directed Support (SDS) strategy aims to ensure as many people as possible can choose how their funding for social care support is spent.
The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee has agreed savings proposals for grounds maintenance. Earlier in the year, the Council agreed that a tender for routine grass cutting be issued to establish the potential level of savings to be gained from contracting out this area of service.
The Highland Council has welcomed the announcement by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to award Scrabster Harbour Trust £5 million to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure. Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: "The news of the approval of £5m from HIE should be very welcome not just in the north but throughout the Highlands.
The Highland Council is launching the third and final phase of consultation on a major review of Community Councils. This seeks final comments on a proposed new Scheme for Community Councils, including a model constitution, standing orders and code of conduct for Community Councillors.
Twenty community transport schemes in the Highlands will continue to receive financial support, totalling almost £500,000, from The Highland Council in the next financial year Members of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee have agreed to extend grant support into 2011/12, providing that the community groups work with Council officials to identify combined efficiency savings of at least £15,000. Committee members were informed that one service, the Sound of Mull Passenger Ferry, which is jointly funded by Argyll and Bute Council, has seen a reduced level of usage and is currently receiving a subsidy of £49.96 per passenger from The Highland Council.
Members of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee have agreed that the Council will write to Network Rail to press for improved safety measures at automatic open level crossings in the Highlands. The action follows an update to members on the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) into the fatal accident at the Halkirk level crossing in September 2009.
At the start of Planning, Environment and Development Committee of Highland Council last week, members were given an update on the latest developments surrounding the Council's efforts to unlock the potential of the Nigg Fabrication Yard. Committee Chairman, Councillor Ian Ross reported that he and the Convener have recently written to the landowners expressing concern that the opportunity to realise the undoubted potential of the site is rapidly closing and time is clearly of the essence.
Members of The Highland Council's Planning, Environment and Development Committee have agreed to allocate £134.4K to 19 community based path upgrading and improvement projects. The money comes from the first phase of the Highland Core Path Implementation Programme which is supported by the Council and LEADER.
Building on the success of the first Highland Tenant Conference held last year, 92 delegates from across the Highlands gathered in Inverness on Saturday for the 2010 event. Achievements of tenant and resident groups across the Highlands were showcased.
Regular meetings between senior Highland councillors and the Scottish Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, are delivering benefits for the Highlands. This is the view of Council Leader, Michael Foxley, Chairman of the Transport Environment and Community Service Services Committee, John Laing, and the Provost of Inverness, Jimmy Gray, who have been meeting with Mr Stevenson on a quarterly basis to discuss progress on the Joint Action Plan which was developed to track progress on the outcome of the Scottish Government's Strategic Transport Projects Review, and other key transport projects in the Highlands.
The Council has launched its 'Reduce Water Waste' campaign, which aims to raise awareness and promote water minimisation in schools and amongst all council staff and councillors. Reducing water use will: Save money and energy Reduce our carbon emissions Contribute to the continuing health of our valuable ecosystems Visit www.highland.gov.uk/waterminimisation for useful tips on how you can save water.
Highland residents have been making full use of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling facilities that were introduced at Recycling Centres across the region in January 2010 - so much so that the Highland Council has won two "WEEE Collector of the Month" awards. The Recycling Electrical Producers' Industry Consortium (REPIC) has a contract with The Highland Council to collect WEEE from the Council's Recycling Centres.
Preparations for the potential delivery of The Highland Council's Community Learning and leisure Services through an arms length organisation took a further step forward last week. Members of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee agreed that the preferred business model for any arms length organisation which might be set up by the Council would be a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and with the option of a trading subsidiary.
Highland Council has committed to the continuation of an innovative approach to the funding and delivery of social care services. The Council was one of three authorities who piloted the use of Self Directed Support for the Scottish Government, over the last two years.
The North Territory hub Programme Board has announced that Alba Community Partnerships (comprising of Cyril Sweett Investments Ltd and Miller Corporate Holdings, part of The Miller Group) has been selected as the preferred bidder for the hub North Territory. hub North was the second hub territory to move into procurement and expects to deliver projects with an estimated value of £435 million over the next 10 years.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee have expressed their disappointment and concern that Rok plc has gone into Administration. Rok have a number of Council contracts and also provide a sub-contracting service on other projects.
A fairer system of charging Council house rent has been agreed by The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee following consultation with tenants and an examination of rent structures of other local councils and recognised rent systems. Consultation indicated that the size and the type of the property were important to tenants in setting rent charges as was the condition and energy efficiency of a property.
Highland council house tenants , who have spare accommodation, are to be offered an incentive to move to a smaller council home that better meets their needs. The Highland Council's Housing and Social work Committee agreed on Wednesday 10th November 2010, a downsizing policy to encourage and support tenants of Highland Housing Register landlords to transfer to a smaller home.