Local Authority News
High Life Highland have expressed delight at today's announcement from the First Minister that gyms and swimming pools can reopen from Monday 31st August 2020. Steve Walsh Chief Executive of High life Highland said, "I am absolutely delighted with the news that we are able to welcome our customers back earlier than we had first thought.
Committee examines measures in place to manage revenue budget shortfall and thanks staff for their Covid-19 response. At a meeting of the Communities and Place Committee on Wednesday 19th August 2020 councillors had the opportunity to review the arrangements being put in place by the service to manage a forecasted budget gap of £4.84m.
Committee discusses capacity pressure for Council burial grounds and excellent work of Caithness volunteers flagged up. The Highland Council is responsible for 268 burial grounds across the Highlands and a report discussed at the Communities and Place Committee on 19th August 2020 highlighted that 33 of the sites have an estimated capacity of less than 6 years.
Advertisements for the recruitment of a Depute Chief Executive and for a replacement Executive Chief Officer Health and Social Care (ECO H&SC) will go to press in two national papers, week commencing 17 August. The revised structure of the executive team was agreed by full Council on 9 May 2019, including the post of Chief Operating Officer/Depute CEO, with a salary agreed at previous Director level.
In a report being presented to The Highland Council's Recovery Board on 24th August, Steve Walsh, High Life Highland's Chief Executive, has outlined the charity's road to financial recovery thanks to its bounceback campaign. Mr Walsh explained, "It now seems like an over-used phrase, but when the pandemic hit in March it was clear that High Life Highland, along with every other organisation was facing unprecedented challenges.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Property Committee have agreed a one-year capital investment plan of £15.667 million to be spent improving existing housing stock - £1 million of which will be specifically to fund aids and adaptations for disabled tenants. The money will be allocated on an area-by-area basis with local members making decisions on projects to be carried out during 2021-2022.
On Tuesday 11 August 2020, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, announced in the Scottish Parliament a change to the way that SQA results would be decided. In some cases, the moderation process carried out by the SQA during July and August had meant that candidates might be awarded a lower or higher grade than their teacher had estimated.
All Highland Council school lets will remain suspended to assist in the Government's goal in suppressing the coronavirus. We will review this position in October and will reopen the lets booking process, in line with national Covid-19 guidance, when it is deemed safe to do so.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Property Committee have had the chance to discuss the progress made to implement a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan aimed at tackling homelessness. In November 2018 the Scottish Government and COSLA published the "Ending Homelessness Together" Action Plan which included the recommendation that all local authorities produce Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans to document how they would tackle homelessness.
Pupils travelling by dedicated school transport. ‘Dedicated school transport' means transport which is only available to pupils.
Members of today's postponed Corporate Resources Committee have supported recommendations contained in item 9 of today's report, regarding critical issues around COVID-19 school trip refunds. Those members who would have been in attendance at today's meeting were contacted by the Chair of the Committee, Cllr Alister Mackinnon, due to the importance of a decision being made on this item.
Notice is hereby given under section 11(2) (b) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 ("the Act") that Highland Council proposes to make The Highland Council (Limekiln Forest, Reay, Caithness) Order 2020 ("the Order") under section 11(1) of the Act. The effect of the Order will be to exempt a 7.8km length of forest track at Limekiln Forest, Reay, Caithness (part of Limekiln Forest Core Path CA11.03) from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable in respect of the land by virtue of Part 1 of the Act.
Pupils whose results were downgraded by the SQA are to receive new grades based solely on teacher estimates. The SQA's alternative certification model was put in place after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Highland Council, NHS Highland and Police Scotland are working closely to ensure that we all stay alert to the threat of COVID-19. The public are being asked to be vigilant and observe all guidance especially when attending licensed premises.
Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) update. At yesterday's (6 August) meeting of the Education Committee, Members were updated on the Council's provision of ELC, as part of the return of school and ELC settings.
Members at yesterday's (6 August) meeting of Education Committee, heard about the success of schools across Highland communities and, specifically, drivers of success from Highland Head Teachers from Portree High, Dingwall Academy, Thurso High, Kingussie High, and St Clement's School in Dingwall. Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: "The achievements and resilience of our young people across the Highlands has to be congratulated along with the positive results we have heard about today.
An update on the recruitment of teaching positions in Highland was presented to Members of the Council's Education Committee yesterday (6 August 2020). Head of Education, Nicky Grant, said: "I want to thank our staff members who have stepped into these vacancies while we continue in our recruitment of teaching and support staff.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are urging drivers to slow down near schools as term starts next week across Highland and pupils return to schools from 12th August onward. Highland Council is warning parents and pupils that part time flashing 20mph signs around Highland Schools will not be operating as normal - due to a technical error caused by inactivity of the signs over the long period of lockdown.
The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today. Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.
Members were today asked to note the good progress being made in relation to the local authority's Recovery Action Plan despite the significant challenges faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted that important work on the 11 key priorities continues at pace.