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
The Highland Council has agreed to use City-Region Deal funding to part fund new mid-market housing projects throughout the Highlands. The affordable housing projects will be developed by Albyn Housing Society and Highland Housing Alliance in Ullapool, Fort William, Alness, Inverness, Aviemore, Grantown, Drumnadrochit and Newtonmore and will deliver 61 new homes targeted at young people working in the area.
The Highland Council is set to make it easier for the public to report incidents of fly tipping and be advised when action is taken. As part of an evaluation of its street cleaning service an in-depth LEAN review of how the council deals with fly tipping has been carried out to look at ways of improving responsiveness and customer satisfaction.
Highland Councillors agreed a council tax increase of 3% which will mean an increase of £35.93 per annum on a Band D property. Overall, the budget gap of £15,146 million has been met by a package of savings which includes increasing Council Tax income by £3.448 million, increasing income by £3,059 million, setting a target of £2,250 million to be saved through Redesign and reducing expenditure by £5.1 million.
Redesign is about the Council being more open-minded to new ways of delivering services, more commercially-minded to raise income to support services and jobs across the region and being more community-minded, listening locally and supporting more community-run services. The Highland Council is seeking to release over £2.2 million in savings this year through redesign projects.
An election will take place for Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council on Wednesday 21 February 2018. The maximum permitted membership for the Community Council is 7 and as 8 nominations have been received, the 1349 electors in the community council area are being invited to cast their vote via a postal ballot.
Over three thousand people visited Inverness Town House last weekend to see for themselves the completion of interior works on the public historic Grade A listed building following recent renovations. Around 2,000 visitors passed through the Town House doors on Saturday 10th and another 1,200 people on Sunday 11th February.
Nomination packs for prospective candidates for the Caol and Mallaig Ward by-election are now available from The Highland Council's website. The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor Billy MacLachlan who was one of three Councillors representing Ward 11.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time. It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.
In recognition that roads are a high priority for communities in Highland the Administration at The Highland Council will be putting forward a budget on Thursday (15 February) that protects the budget for local roads. Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: "We have nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads in the Highlands and this network is vital to our rural communities and lifeline services.
The Highland Council is asking stakeholders and members of the public for feedback on new draft guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts. Not only does the draft Shopfront Design Guide: Planning Guidance provide advice to help promote good quality applications but it encourages developers and applicants to consider design at the earliest stage in their proposals.
[Printer Friendly Version]