Dates set for Council budget consultation
14th May 2014
Dates have been set for a series of 13 budget events being held by The Highland Council to consult with the public over spending priorities between 2015-2019 during which time the Council has to find savings of an estimated £63 million.
The forums will also include the first stage of public consultation on the Customer Service Review (including Service Points) agreed at the Council meeting in March. The feedback from the public and focus groups will help shape the Council’s budget setting priorities.
The schedule is: -
· Monday 19 May: Invergordon Social Club.
· Friday 23 May: Golspie Community Centre
· Tuesday 27 May: Wick Assembly Rooms
· Wednesday 28 May: Bonar Bridge Hall
· Thursday 29 May: Lochcarron Village Hall
· Monday 2 June: Final Centre, Portree High School
· Wednesday 4 June: Culloden Academy Complex, Inverness
· Thursday 5 June: Victoria Park, Ross County FC, Dingwall
· Monday 9 June: Inverness Town House
· Tuesday 10 June: Aviemore Community Centre
· Thursday 12 June: Nairn Court House
· Monday 16 June: Caol Community Centre
· Wednesday 18 June: Glenurquhart High School
All meetings start at 6.30pm.
Councillor Maxine Smith, the Council’s Budget Leader and new Chair of the Resources Committee, said: “The Council is keen to raise awareness of the implications of the budget constraints and importantly to engage with our communities to identify the services they want to protect and retain. It is vitally important therefore that communities participate in the local consultations to help identify which areas must be protected. I would really encourage people to come along and have their say.”
The themes of the budget events are: -
What services should be provided and who should provide them?
How should we provide our services?
How can we organise our customer service provision (Service Points) in the future to deliver efficiency savings? We need to save £355,220.
Can we provide some services less, some less frequently or stop providing some services altogether?
What more could the Council do to generate income to pay for services?
How do we prevent costs in the future?
Members of the public attending the budget forums will also be given information about:
• the £63m of savings to be made and why we must do things differently to avoid cutting services;
• how much some services cost;
• what we have saved already; and
• what the public have told us before, how we used that information and why we need their help again.
There will be a further consultation from mid-September to early November, involving the Council’s Citizens’ Panel of 2,700 adults and see the creation of a new Communities’ Panel to consult with as well. This new Panel will be drawn from groups representing communities across the Highlands, including community councils, other established community groups including those representing people with disabilities. An on-line survey for others interested will be also be available. These surveys will be developed from the consultation responses from stage one and would have a greater focus on specific proposals with detailed projections of savings and impacts.
Services are currently undertaking consultation with staff across the organisation to identify savings that can be considered for inclusion in the budget strategy and the outcomes will be fed into phase 1. Further consultation will then take place with unions and staff, as part of phase 2 consideration of detailed proposals.
Recent outcomes of Redesign work were noted by Members at yesterday's Highland Council meeting. In the first year of the programme, 8 redesign projects were undertaken using a "Lean" approach and 36 staff have been trained as facilitators.
Motorists are being advised that The Highland Council is currently preparing to carry out resurfacing works at the following locations: • B862 Fort Augustus - Whitebridge - Torness - Dores – Inverness Road; specifically at Errogie Village (North Gateway), Errogie Village (South Gateway), and Compass Farm; and • B851 Errogie – Strathnairn – Daviot Bridge – Culloden Moor Road; specifically at Aberarder House. Advanced works notification signage will be provided at various locations from Thursday 15 March 2018.
The Highland Council has agreed a capital programme of £482m over the next 5 years. The Highland Council serves the largest geographical area in Scotland (over 30%) and has just under £2bn of assets on its balance sheet comprising, amongst other things, 203 operational schools, over 6,700km of roads and over 2,000 properties.
The Highland Council's Enforcement Officers have stepped up patrols in Caithness in a move to tackle the problem of littering, fly tipping and dog fouling. A number of fixed penalty notices have been issued recently including an £80 fine for dog fouling in the Stafford Lane and Back Bridge area of Wick, a £200 fine for fly-tipping on Ackergill Street and another £80 fine for dog fouling in Lybster.
Speaking ahead of today's Council meeting to agree the Council's Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council said:- "This programme delivers significant investment in a range of key projects across the Highlands. We are investing in schools, roads, bridges, harbours and flood prevention schemes that will benefit our communities.
Highland Council is to make a special case for extra capital investment in the road infrastructure after a winter period which has seen the Highlands battered by some 57 days of severe weather. Highland Council area is particularly subject to severe winter weather, which has a significant impact on the roads and other infrastructure.
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.
The £48.5m Wick Community Campus built by Morrison Construction has been announced as a finalist at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018. The project is entered in the category for "Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy" against eight other finalists from across the UK with the winner to be announced during a ceremony at Milton Court Concert Hall on 24 May 2018.
A Partnership for Procurement event was held in Inverness today (Thursday 6 March) to raise awareness and the capability of the third sector to successfully bid, supply and deliver services for the public sector. Partnership for Procurement (P4P) is a new initiative funded through the Scottish Government's 10 Year Social Enterprise Strategy; supporting social enterprises and third sector organisations to better access public contracts and build partnerships.
Across the Northern Alliance local authorities an exciting project has been rolled out to raise attainment in literacy, language and communication. The programme is being delivered in around 50% of primary schools across the Northern Alliance and is aimed at supporting practitioners to take a developmental approach to supporting early literacy development.
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