Highland Opportunity Ltd to wind up.
13th February 2016
The Board of Highland Opportunity Ltd (HOL) has agreed to commence the wind up of HOL and its subsidiaries and to transfer some of its services to The Highland Council.
Chair of Highland Opportunity Ltd. Dave Fallows said: "Following consideration of a review of HOL undertaken by Highland Council at our Board meeting on 14 January it is with considerable regret that we had to take this difficult decision to wind up HOL."
He added: "Highland Council expects to maintain the front line services of Business Gateway, Loan Fund and Prince's Trust and there will be no reduction in these services including in rural areas."
A recent shareholder review considered whether, in the current climate of financial constraint on the public sector HOL was the most efficient way to deliver services.
The review considered a number of options and the Board considered each carefully and agreed that HOL should be wound up and some activities transferred to The Highland Council.
Chair Cllr David Fallows said: “Board Members all voiced their support for the organisation and the valuable work it has done and continues to do across the Highlands. The decision we have taken in no way reflects on the services delivered by HOL and in fact the Board is very much committed to ensuring front-line services continue. However the Board, with regret, did go on to make the decision to bring some activity in-house to Highland Council and to wind up the company.
He added: “Undoubtedly the key issue which influenced this decision is the recognition that the current financial reductions facing the Scottish public sector is having a significant and detrimental impact on The Highland Council which now has to make some extremely difficult choices about where it can reduce budgets and where it needs to continue to deliver services.
“The Board has had to prioritise front-line services and accept that the cost of management and administrative overheads need to be radically reduced. This mirrors the decisions that Highland Council will have to make over the next few weeks as it seeks to balance its own budget.”
The Highland Council is working with HOL to put in place a plan for the transition of services to the Council and for the transfer and/or winding up of the other services. This will include support for staff and a commitment to keep them informed of decisions and processes, some of which are intended to conclude within the next 6 months.
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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