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Local Authority News

Making It Easier To Pay Council Bills
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.  
Council Staff Terms And Conditions Agreed
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.  
Funding Releases Huge Boost For Marine Tourism
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.  
Council Appoints New Gaelic Development Manager
The Highland Council's new Gaelic Development Manager is Kenneth Murray, a native Gaelic speaker from Lewis, who is a former Chief Executive of Brd na Gidhlig.   He previously worked for the Forestry Commission, both in Edinburgh and Inverness for 25 years, latterly as Parliamentary and Cultural Programmes Manager.  
Council Reaffirms Support For Scotland's Housing ExpoThumbnail for article : Council Reaffirms Support For Scotland's Housing Expo
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.  
Scotland's Education Is Changing - Parental Newsletter
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.  
Highland Council Advice Service Wins Top Scottish Award
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.  
Highland Schools Introduce National Music Programme
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.  
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.  
Highland Wins National Competition For Internet Safety ResourcesThumbnail for article : Highland Wins National Competition For Internet Safety Resources
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.  
Highland Housing Register allocations policy updated
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.  
National recognition for Highland LibrariesThumbnail for article : National recognition for Highland Libraries
The excellence of The Highland Council's Library service in implementing new technology has won national recognition.   Highland Libraries has become the first Library Service in Scotland to receive accreditation by the E4libraries project.  
Updated Plan for Gypsy Travellers
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.  
Moving the Development Plan Forward
The Planning Environment and Development Committee of Highland Council will consider a report setting out the latest thinking on the vision and spatial strategy of the Highland wide Local Development Plan.   This latest stage in the plan's preparation has been reached following an extensive public consultation held between August and November 2009.  
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.  
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.