Lessons Learned From CHaP Project
11th March 2011
The Highland Council has learned lessons from the Caithness Heat and Power Project in Wick, and introduced measures to ensure the corporate failings are not repeated in any future project.
A total of 39 actions have been put in place in a response to an internal audit of the Wick-based enterprise and these actions have been acknowledged by external audit and the Accounts Commission.
The Council also believes that strong political and managerial leadership, recognised in recent external audits, is in place to prevent similar shortcomings in governance and financial stewardship of a project.
At a special council meeting to consider the findings of the Accounts Commission in respect of the Caithness Heat and Power project, the Council accepted the failings of the project in the early stages of the business, between 2004-2007.
Council Leader Councillor Michael Foxley said: "It is critical that the Council learns lessons from this project. There were real failings but when the extent of these came to light, the Council acted promptly, openly and effectively to ensure that these were highlighted and addressed. The Council has liaised closely and fully with Audit Scotland and continues to do so in taking the project forward.
"Since 2007 the Council has changed significantly. External audits have found there is a strong political leadership within the Council, with an Administration that works consistently and effectively and a strong Opposition, which closely scrutinises proposals. These audits have also recognised the strong managerial leadership that now exists within the Council. This combination should avoid a similar position developing again."
The Council noted that tenants served by ChaP had suffered no detriment, with heat and power maintained at all times.
The Council agreed:
(i) To note the Controller of Audit's report, of 9th February 2011, on the Caithness Heat and Power project, prepared under section 102 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
(ii) To note the Accounts Commission's response to the Controller of Audit's report.
(iii) That the actions taken by the Council are sufficient to address the specific issues raised with regard to this project and are sufficient to ensure that no similar failings occur within future projects. This agreement should be confirmed to Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission.
(iv) That Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission will be kept fully informed of the progress of the project.
(v) That the Head of Internal Audit & Risk Management will undertake a follow up review in order to ensure that all actions have been implemented and are effective and agree that this report is presented to the Council.
(vi) To acknowledge and support the important role of its statutory officers.
The Council's response will be relayed to the Accounts Commission and published in the local media and on the Council's web site: www.highland.gov.uk
Highland Council is issuing a reminder to owners of private water supplies and landlords of tenants on private water supplies that it is their responsibility to arrange for the provision of water to their properties. As a result of the prolonged recent dry weather Highland Council's, Environmental Health Team is receiving a few calls from individuals on private water supplies that are drying up.
The Highland Licensing Board has begun consultation on its next Statement of Licensing Policy for the period November 2018 to November 2023. The aim of the Policy Statement is to promote consistency in decision-making on all types of liquor licence applications and to give applicants advance notice of the Board's likely approach to determining licence applications.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce the recent appointment of 5 Head and 10 Acting Head Teachers across the region's schools. All the new teachers will be in their posts by the new term in August 2018.
The Highland Council has approved the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive to replace Steve Barron when he retires in the autumn. Applicants are invited to apply for this important top position to lead one of the largest local authorities in Europe, by the 31 July.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap of up to £124.9 million. Over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 the Highland Council has already had to approve budget savings of £102.1 million as well as agree Council tax rises of 3% in each of the last two years in order to deliver a balanced budget.
The Highland Council has been awarded two commendations and a first place at the 2018 Scottish Regional Energy Efficiency Awards (external link) for the Highland Home Energy Efficiency Programme. These awards recognise the efforts made to eliminate fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK.
The purchase of a significant site on the southern side of Inverness' Bridge Street was completed on Thursday 28 June 2018, it is confirmed by The Highland Council. As announced at the start of June by Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council, and Mr Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, the purchase will support the development of Inverness Castle and the regeneration of the surrounding area of the city centre.
PROGRESS of City-Region Deal projects has been reported to The Highland Council at its meeting today, 28 June 2018. The city-region deal is made up of ten discrete projects, each led by one of the partners.
Council has considered and agreed recommendations from a review of car parking by the Redesign Board. A peer review of car parking was requested by the Redesign Board, with the scope of the review agreed in November 2017.
Nine Highland students graduated this weekend (Saturday 23 June 2018) through the University of Aberdeen in partnership with Highland Council following an eighteen month distance learning PGDE (Primary) Programme. Applications for the next DLITE PGDE Programme for Primary and Secondary teaching are now being accepted.
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