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Local Authority News

Internal Audit Report into Caithness Heat and Power
Caithness Heat and Power is a joint project supported by The Highland Council since its inception in 2004 because of its potential to provide renewable energy in an area of fuel poverty via an innovative biomass district heating system at Pulteneytown, Wick.   The project has, to date, failed to achieve its objective due to problems relating to technology, and an internal audit report by The Highland Council's Head of Audit and Risk Management into the enterprise has highlighted that the Council's and the company's governance arrangements covering the project should have been stronger .  
Council Service Centre Opens at Weekend
The Highland Council is responding to the high number of enquiries received from the public about the bad weather to open its Customers Service Centre this weekend.   The Centre will be operational between 9 am - 5 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  
Council Calls For Patience During Wintry Weather
The Highland Council's Convener Councillor Sandy Park is calling for patience when it comes to clearing Highland roads and pavements.   Since the recent wintry conditions have started the Council's entire fleet of 114 road, and 54 pavement gritters and over 200 winter maintenance staff have been working flat out within the Council's gritting policy to keep roads clear.  
New Recycling Service For The New YearThumbnail for article : New Recycling Service For The New Year
Do you have an electrical item that's lost its spark? By the end of January 2010 facilities will be in place at Recycling Centres across Highland to recycle all waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).   Householders in Highland will be able to recycle any electrical item with a plug attached, or items operated by a battery.  
Highland Council extends deadline for Framework Agreements to 22 January 2010.
Consultants, contractors and skilled trades businesses are being advised they have until noon on Friday 22 January next year to submit an application to The Highland Council to be included on frameworks for construction work up to a value of £25,000, and for design consultancy services for projects of all values.   The deadline is important because if companies miss it, there will be no opportunity for them to be considered for Council contracts/consultancy for at least another two years.  
Future Jobs Fund bid success for Highland
More than 200 temporary jobs for young jobless people are to be created in the Highlands as a result of a successful bid by The Highland Council to the UK Government's Future Jobs Fund.   Of the 313 Scottish jobs approved by the Department of Work and Pensions in a fifth round of funding, 203 are to be created in the Highlands at a cost of £1.3 million.  
Developing a Highland Citizens' Panel
The Highland Council is to form a Highland Citzens' Panel to gauge representative views of the Highland population on Council services and spending priorities.   The Council will switch the current spending on externally commissioning its public performance survey each year to funding the panel and surveying it instead.  
Refuse Collection and Kerbside Collections Over The Festive Period
In the Highland Council area over the festive period, there will be changes to the collection schedule for kerbside refuse and blue recycling boxes/bins.   There will be no refuse collections on Christmas Day and New Year's Day and all waste and recycling centres will be closed on Christmas Day and 1/2 January.  
Free School Meals For More Highland Pupils
The Highland Council is urging parents and carers in the Highlands not to waste their cash but to take advantage of the fact that more people are now entitled to free school meals.   Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie said: "The eligibility criteria for free school meals and school clothing has been extended, and this means that some people who were previously not entitled may now be.  
New Social Work Chief Turns Down Salary Increase
The Highland Council has appointed Bill Alexander to the temporary post of Chief Operating Officer in the Social Work Service.   Over the next six months, Mr Alexander will step aside from his substantive role as Head of Children's Services to work directly to Harriet Dempster, Director of Social Work, to lead the modernisation of social work services for adults.  
Contractors Need To Re-Register For Council Contracts By 8 January 2010
The Highland Council calls on building construction and consultancy companies to register interest Consultants, contractors and skilled trades businesses are being advised they have until Friday 8 January next year to register an interest in working for The Highland Council on future contracts with an individual value of up to £25,000.   The Council is also urging consultants to register an interest by this deadline for future consultancy work for projects of all values.  
Victims of cyberbullying to receive support in the Highlands
Guidance on tackling bullying via the Internet and mobile phones is soon to be distributed to all staff in education, culture and sport establishments throughout The Highland Council's area.   Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of the Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "Members have given their full endorsement to new Cyberbullying Guidance which was created by a multi-agency/organisation working group.  
Free Offer Should Ring Alarm Bells
Highland Council Trading Standards Service is warning householders to be on their guard if they receive a phone call informing them that they have won a free house alarm.   Unsuspecting consumers are being 'cold called' by phone with the news that they have won a 'free' alarm and that a representative will be round to fit it for them.  
Success Of First Highland Education FestivalThumbnail for article : Success Of First Highland Education Festival
The two day Highland education festival held at Dingwall Academy on Tuesday and Wednesday has been a resounding success with over 1800 teaching staff, learning support auxiliaries and classroom assistants from schools across the Highlands attending.   Featuring the Curriculum for Excellence work taking place in Highland schools, both days brought teaching staff together for workshops and training sessions and to hear from keynote speakers to demonstrate the depth and variety of good practice in the Highlands.  
Clampdown On Dog Fouling In CaithnessThumbnail for article : Clampdown On Dog Fouling In Caithness
Recent enforcement action in Caithness has seen seven fixed penalty fines issued by The Highland Council in a matter of weeks in a clampdown of dog walkers who do not clean up after their dogs.   Dog Warden, Anne Macdonald, who also deals with stray dogs as part of her job, has been working on joint enforcement patrols in Caithness with Area Education and Enforcement Officer James Sanderson.  
Planning for the Future in Caithness - Public Meeting
Residents, Community Councils and community representatives in the Caithness Wards of Wick, Thurso and Landward have the opportunity to say what they think the area should be like in the future at their Joint Ward Forum on Tuesday 8th September.   In the run up to this meeting there will also be an opportunity for people to take part in two special information days as part of the Council's consultation on the new Highland-wide Local Development Plan.  
Thurso Precinct Refurbishment CompletedThumbnail for article : Thurso Precinct Refurbishment Completed
Work on the refurbishment contract in the Thurso Pedestrian Precinct has now been completed apart from the laying of coloured bitumen over the tarmac area running through the centre of the precinct and a few other minor works.   The project which cost just over £370,000 was financed by The Highland Council's T.E.C and Planning & Development Services was designed by the councils Wick based engineering team who consulted with the Community Council and members of the public before finalising their plans.  
Call For New Foster Carers To Come ForwardThumbnail for article : Call For New Foster Carers To Come Forward
The Highland Council is joining in with the UK-wide campaign Foster Care Fortnight which starts today (Monday 11 April), to attract more local people into fostering.   The fortnight is co-ordinated by fostering charity Fostering Network, to raise the awareness of fostering and highlight the shortage of foster carers across the whole of the UK.  
Council clamps down on irresponsible dog owners
The Highland Council has issued a clear warning to irresponsible dog owners that it will not tolerate owners allowing their dogs to foul public areas without clearing up after them.   The Council this week announced that during a crackdown week in April, officers issued eleven fixed penalty notices to members of the public and warned that this was just the start of the clampdown with other enforcement weeks to follow.  
Council calls talented young people to apply for trust scheme
For the second year running young Highland people are to benefit from the Duncraig Educational Trust Scheme which provides grants totalling around £25,000 each year.   The Highland Council is the governing body of which makes available scholarship, grants and assistance for young Highland people who have particular or exceptional talents in specific identified areas.