Next budget forum to be held in Strathy, Sutherland
27th June 2014
The next Highland Council budget forum will be held at 6.30pm on Tuesday 8 July in Strathy Village Hall, Strathy, Sutherland.
It is the latest in a series of budget events being held to consult the public over spending priorities between 2015-2019, during which time the Council has to find savings of an estimated £63 million.
The forum will 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.
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.
Close to 100 professionals met yesterday for what is one of the largest Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) events of its kind in the country that specifically targets Gaelic Education staff. The event took place in Merkinch Community Centre, Inverness for Highland Council's annual Gaelic Education In-Service.
The safety of children walking and cycling to and from school and traffic calming measures in Wick were under the spotlight at yesterdays meeting of the Caithness Committee (Wednesday 21 February 2018). Local Councillors have given the go-ahead for proposals to introduce a 20mph speed limit and traffic calming measures across Wick designed to get motorists to slow down when driving around the town.
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.
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