Local Authority News
At his final meeting of The Highland Council (Thursday 25 October 2018), Chief Executive Steve Barron received tributes from Councillors across the chamber. Mr Barron retires after 10 years' service with the local authority, the last 5 of which were as Chief Executive.
Each year we survey our Citizens' Panel on their views on performance and attitudes and the results are used to help inform Council decisions and drive continuous improvement activity across the organisation. The survey shows that what is important to people is maintaining good quality services, providing value for money, listening to local people and being efficient.
Six Rural Infrastructure Fund projects have been successful in attracting £1.1m of funding from the £3m available in the first round of the Scottish Government's Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. These funds are in addition to significant Council and LEADER funding for new facilities to help meet the needs of growing visitor numbers.
Tributes have been paid to The Highland Council's Director of Care and Learning, Bill Alexander who retires on 19 October after eighteen years leading the council's Care and Learning Services. At the Council's Care and Learning meeting held on Thursday 18 October 2018, Chair of the Committee, Cllr Andrew Baxter; and Leader of the Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson praised Mr Alexander for his long service to the Council.
The Highland Council has paid tribute to Mr Des Devine, former Surveyor at the Council who died earlier this week. Steve Barron, Chief Executive said: "It is with great sadness that we heard that Des Devine passed away this week after a long and brave battle with cancer.
Following a pre-planning drop-in session at the end of September 2018, The Highland Council has given the public a further 28 days to share their views and comment on the proposal for a new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Longman landfill site in Inverness. The public can now visit the Council's website to find out more about the MRF and to share their views on the proposal.
Dr James Vance, Head Teacher at Culloden Academy has been appointed as interim Head of Education Services with The Highland Council's Care and Learning Service. Dr Vance, who starts his new employment in January 2019, will be based at the Council's headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River Ness at land 430m south west of Highland Rugby Club, on Bught Road, Inverness Using an Archimedes screw the hydroelectric scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 100kW and an average annual renewable energy output of approximately 600,000 kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated will return an income to the Council through the Feed in Tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure centre.
Joint operation identifies poor standards of food safety and staff living accommodation. Highland Council Environmental Health Officers were required to take formal enforcement action regarding poor standards of food safety during a recent multi-agency operation led by Immigration Enforcement.
Highland Council residents are being urged to remember to recycle when they visit Recycling Centres. Historically, the general public have viewed Recycling Centres as the ‘dump' or the ‘tip’, however times have changed and with the need to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill and increase how much we all recycle, the Council would like encourage householders to take the time to separate their items before they go to a Recycling Centre.
The Highland Council is carrying out the formal review of its Polling Districts and Places. This review is required in terms of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 as all polling districts and polling places should be reviewed at least every four years.
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council. Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council is looking for experienced staff or existing managers to drive the Early Learning and Childcare initiative forward, to ensure our youngest children get the best start in life and are ready to succeed. The Council will be almost doubling the provision of early learning and childcare over the next two years.
The Highland Council is encouraging local community groups to participate in the Scottish Government's Local Governance Review. Members have today considered the work to date preparing for The Highland Council's contribution to the Local Governance Review.
High Life Highland today announced that it has been successful in an application to the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, to support its HLH Leadership Programme. "Choose to Lead" will be a Leadership Award that will be recognised by the SCQF Framework and accreditation of the award will be carried out by the University of The Highlands and Islands.
Progress on the Highland Council's review of its public conveniences has been welcomed by the Council's Administration. Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Environment Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "It's important that we put the review into context and acknowledge that Highland Council is the largest provider of public conveniences in the UK.