Introduction of the Care and Learning Service at The Highland Council
25th April 2014
A new Service within The Highland Council is introduced on Monday 28 April, with the creation of the Care and Learning Service, which is a merger of Education Culture & Sport and Health & Social Care.
This fulfils the Council's commitment to better integrating education, health and social care services to promote improved outcomes for children, families and communities. Health and social care services were brought together in 2012, and this integration will now include schools and education provision.
This also completes the Council's plan to reduce the number of Services from seven to five, reducing management costs by £350,000 per year.
Care and Learning will be the biggest spending of the five Council Services, with a budget of £373 million, more than half of the Council's annual spending. It will have 7,500 employees, which includes 2,700 teachers.
The Service will be responsible for a range of services to children and families, including schools, child health, social care and additional needs services. It will also have responsibility for mental health officers and criminal justice social work, as well as catering and cleaning across the Council. It will commission the adult social care service from NHS Highland, and also the culture and leisure service from High Life Highland.
The new Director of the Care and Learning Service is Bill Alexander, formerly Director of Health and Social Care.
Hugh Fraser, Director of Education Culture and Sport Service, has announced his intention to retire at the end of September, after more than 37 years service as a teacher and in education management.
Mr. Fraser and Mr. Alexander will continue working together over the coming months and until Mr. Fraser's retirement, to ensure the success of the Service merger.
Mr Alexander said: "This is an exciting development, as we move forward with the integration of these valued services. There will be no obvious, immediate changes because of the creation of this new Service today. However, I am confident that this alignment of education, health and social care will provide better outcomes for children, families and communities in the years to come.
"The management team for the new Service is now in place, and over the coming months we will be fully integrating the two major services. We have already seen positive results from the integration of health and social care, with an excellent recent inspection of our children's services. These new arrangements will enable our staff in schools, teams and units to continue to build on the very good services that we offer to Highland people."
The Council has also changed the name of the strategic committee to which the new Service reports. It will be known as the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee (formerly Adult and Children's Services Committee).
On 1 April, the Council established three new Services - Community Services, Corporate Development and Development and Infrastructure - which complement the Finance Service and the Chief Executive's Office.
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions. She said: "No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.
At Highland Council work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds. The Scottish Government's proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017.
Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. The business case for the ‘FitHome' assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government.
An article in the Press and Journal today 9th January 2018 highlights the cuts in staffing levels across Scottish councils with Highland being one of the highest. In 2009 Highland had 9953 Full-time Equivalent Staff and in 2017 it had dropped by 21% to 7838.
Highland Council Trading Standards team has recently seen an increase in scams targeting Highland businesses. The most common scams reported by businesses relate to marketing and publishing but other frauds such as those involving demands for payment for unsolicited goods sent to businesses (such as ink cartridges which were never ordered) are also on the rise.
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government. The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council's Trading Standards team to be aware of their consumer rights and to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain. Consumers have extra protection when they shop online.
The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.
Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Steve Barron said: "The Council is continuing to do all it can to support employees who lost their jobs following the change in contract for the processing of recycled waste. Evanton-based William Munro Construction laid off the staff after Highland Council transferred a recycling contract.
The Highland Council has successfully prosecuted a food business after discovering unsafe hygiene practices in the transportation of food. An investigation by officers of the Council's Environmental Health Team discovered that N E Meats Ltd of Newcastle had been transporting and delivering foods from the North of England to the Highlands without any temperature control measures.
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