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Local Authority News

Care Commission rates Highland Fostering and Adoption Services as excellent
A report published by the Care Commission on their inspections of The Highland Council's Fostering and Adoption Services has rated the service as "excellent" on all quality indicators.   Members of the Council's Housing and Social Work committee welcomed the findings of the report and commended carers, staff and managers for their work.  
Support confirmed for education policy on English as an Additional Language in the Highlands
A new policy and guidance on English as an additional language will be introduced in schools and educational establishments throughout the Highlands.   Members of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee welcomed the new policy which aims to provide a plan of action for the appropriate education of pupils for whom English is an additional language.  
New operator for Wick district heating system
The Highland Council has moved a step closer to finding an operator to run the district heating scheme at Pulteneytown, Wick, currently operated by Caithness Heat and Power Ltd, a company owned and run by the Council.   Following a procurement exercise, the Council has identified a preferred bidder to provide a suitable renewable energy solution for the existing customers of Caithness Heat and Power.  
Blind Persons' Companion Reduced Travel Costs
The Highland Council and ScotRail have announced that from Sunday 23 May a scheme will commence allowing reduced cost rail travel for companions accompanying a blind person who has a Scotland Blind Persons Travel Card.   The scheme will cover all internal rail journeys for companions within the Highland Council area and to and from Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow for a single fare of £0.50p or a return fare of £1.00.  
Highland Director of Social Work to retire in August
Harriet Dempster, Director of Social Work Services, The Highland Council, is to retire in the summer after 36 years service in social work and 11 years at the helm in Highland.   At its meeting on Thursday, the Council paid tribute to Ms Dempster's contribution to the council and wished her well in her retirement.  
Consumers warned to be on their guard for doorstep callers in the Highlands
Highland Council Trading Standard Service is calling on consumers, to be on their guard against rogue itinerant traders calling door to door.   Vulnerable consumers such as the elderly appear to be targeted by gangs offering to carry out work on home repairs and maintenance.  
Council budget blog launched
A budget blog opened on Monday 10th May 2010 on The Highland Council's web site:, giving the public the chance to have their say on options for achieving major savings over the next three years.   The blog, fronted by the Council's Budget Leader Councillor David Alston, is an important part of the Council's budget consultation which will run until the end of June.  
Audit Commission's findings on best value audit welcomed
The Highland Council has welcomed the findings of an audit on the Council's performance of its statutory duties on best value and community planning, which concludes the council is improving well and is well placed to deliver future improvement.   The Commission found that the council benefits from strong political and managerial leadership.  
New Path Improvement Scheme for Highland Communities
Highland Council's Outdoor Access Team have secured £585,000 of funding over the next three years to help pave the way for a programme of improvements to the core path network across the Highlands.  The new Core Path Improvement Scheme is expected to deliver a minimum of 45 projects over the next 3 years at an average cost per project of £13,000.  
Campaign promotes seagull control in the Highlands
A campaign to raise awareness of the problem of seagulls nesting in urban areas in the Highlands has been launched today (Tuesday 11 May) by The Highland Council.   Although the Council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls, it recognises the misery that gulls cause many homeowners and businesses throughout the nesting season, which is just about to begin.  
Very Good Report For Highland Child Protection Services
HMIe publish the report 'Joint Inspection of services to protect children and young people in the Highland area' Scottish Government Inspectors had found that the performance of Highland's child protection services is 'very good' and have commended best practice across the authority.   A report published today (Tuesday) is part of the second national cycle of child protection inspections in Scotland.  
Highland Convener Gathers Support In Brussels
Highland Convener gathers support in Brussels for continued EU funding for Scotland's rural areas The future of the Common Agricultural Policy and its likely impact in Scotland was discussed at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) on Monday 3 May with CoR member Councillor Sandy Park, Convener of The Highland Council, actively participating in the discussion stressing in particular the challenges facing Scotland's farmers and rural communities.   Councillor Park, who was attending his second meeting of the CoR's Natural Resources (NAT) Commission following his nomination to the CoR by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said: "The future of CAP post 2013 is an issue which is generating huge interest and a great deal of political debate back home in Scotland.  
Give It A Grow During Compost Awareness Week
'Give it a Grow' is the message being put out by The Highland Council to mark the tenth annual Compost Awareness Week, which runs from 2-8 May 2010.  This year Zero Waste Scotland and The Highland Council are encouraging us all to try our hand at new composting activities in order to do our bit for the environment.  
Highland Council Wants Views On Community Care
Public urged to make their views known on Highland community care consultation Members of the public have eight weeks left to make their voice heard in a consultation on changes to community care services in the Highlands.   The deadline for comments on The Highland Council and NHS Highland's plans for changing Community Care is Tuesday 15 June 2010.  
Extended Licensing arrangements for Scottish Cup Final
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Divisional Licensing Board have recognised that The Scottish Cup Final between Ross County and Dundee United on the 15th May 2010 is a special event of local significance.  They have decided to allow on-sales premises to remain open until 1am on Sunday 16th provided that the premises licence holder makes an application for extended hours.  
Increased Interest In Postal Voting
The number of people in the Highlands seeking to vote by post at the General Election has increased again.   Across the three parliamentary constituencies, 21,908 voters have registered their interest in voting by post, 9,734 more than at the General Election in May 2005, and 16,224 more than in June 2001.  
Nominations For 2010 General Election In Highland Announced
A total of 21 candidates are seeking election on Thursday 6 May in the three Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies.   Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Constituency has attracted five candidates; Ross Skye and Lochaber Constituency, seven candidates; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Constituency, nine candidates.  
Offenders In Community Service Clean Up
Offenders subject to community service orders across the whole of Scotland will be busy collecting litter and cleaning up local areas this weekend to support the Keep Scotland Beautiful Spring Clean campaign.   In Highland 75 offenders who are being supervised by the Criminal Justice Service within The Highland Council's Social Work Service are scheduled to take part in the first national-wide Community Service clean up event.  
UK Parliamentary Election 2010
Alistair Dodds, Chief Executive of The Highland Council, is the Returning Officer for the following three parliamentary constituencies:- * Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (8,752 sq km) - 47,263 electors; * Ross, Skye and Lochaber (12,779 sq km.) - 51,934 electors; * Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (4,953 sq km.) - 72,390 electors.   He will be assisted in running the election by Senior Depute Returning Officer, Michelle Morris, as well as Depute Returning Officers, Ian Hargrave, Bob Cameron, William Gilfillan and John Bruce.  
Community Council Review - Phase 2 Consultation
The Highland Council is launching the second phase of a major review of Community Councils, which focuses on a proposed new Scheme for Community Councils, including a model constitution, standing orders and code of conduct for Community Councillors.   The consultation, which runs until 30 June, also provides the opportunity for communities to further consider any potential boundary changes, which featured in the first phase of public consultation from September to December 2009.