Redesign Board set to agree a range of council functions for review
29th August 2016
The Redesign Board of The Highland Council is preparing to agree a list of functions identified for review.
The Redesign Board, which is a partnership between Members and staff, was set up on 18 April 2016 to make proposals on redesigning The Highland Council, in the context of our new duties to involve communities more in local decisions and services affecting them.
The Board identified five Outcomes for the Council which were agreed by Council in June. Some 270 functions were listed and grouped under each of the outcomes. The Board are now set to agree a review of around 120 of these functions which will be taken to full Council in September for approval.
Convener Isobel McCallum, Chair of the Redesign Board said:"It is good practice for any organisation or business to regularly review its activities to look for opportunities for improvements and income growth, and to identify where there can be efficiencies and cost reductions.
"Our aim is to streamline how our services are delivered through more efficient ways of working.
"This is a careful and managed approach to exploring how we deliver our services, involving our staff, our communities and the public."
Vice Convener Councillor Bill Lobban and Vice Chair of the Redesign Board explained:"The Redesign Board has taken an overview of individual council services and has come to the conclusion that 120 functions are worthy of review. These were selected on the basis that there could be an opportunity to deliver them differently or more efficiently.
"The board is open to a range of options and we welcome input from the public, partners and our staff whilst also taking into consideration the impact of any future national reviews and programmes."
"Once Council has approved the areas for review and how they will be prioritised, the Board will consider which reviews should take place first."
Councillor McCallum went on to say:“What is really important is that staff are fully engaged in the process as they are the people who know most about the services they provide. Our value is that we believe everyone can have new ideas for doing things better. We want to hear them, especially when they challenge us."
Wick councillor Bill Fernie one of the Redesign Board members, who is also Chairman of the Resources committee and Budget Leader of Highland Council said,"It is essential that the work of the board carries on and even though the reviews take up to two years I will with my budget team take account of the early work when considering our next budget later this year. We are under no illusions that things will get any easier as it looks likely that further reductions in our grant allocation from Scottish government will continue. Likely council tax rises will not help as that money is to be ring fenced by Scottish Government to help attainment in schools. Despite al of the restrictions we are going to try and make many changes and preserve as many services as we can while making them more efficient."
The Board's recommendations will be taken to Council on 8 September 2016 for approval.
Redesign Board agenda and papers:
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
A report published today by the local authority spending watchdog looks at how councils are using the estimated 130 ALEOs (arms-length external organisations) in Scotland, which have an annual spend of more than £1.3 billion, and the impact they are making. ALEOs can take many forms - such as companies, community organisations or charities.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have given their backing to new shop front guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts throughout the Highlands. The Guidance sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, who represents the Thurso and Northwest Caithness Ward, has been elected as Chairman of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee. He takes over from Councillor Donnie Mackay who has held the role since June 2017.
Members of the Caithness Committee have on Wednesday 16th May 2018 approved the Council's 2018/19 structural maintenance programmes for roads in the area for the coming year which reflects both the strategic network and the importance attached to local roads by rural communities. The revenue budget for road maintenance activities in Caithness for 18/19 is £1.214M of which £0.539M is allocated for winter maintenance with a further capital budget of £0.785M The Highland Council's allocation to areas for structural road maintenance is based on the results of the annual Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey, safety inspections, service inspections and input from local members.
The Highland Council remains on track to deliver much-needed affordable homes across the Highlands as recent figures produced show all new home completions in Highland are on the up. In its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 the Council has a pledge to approve a minimum of 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
AVIEMORE now has access to free WIFI in and around the centre of the town thanks to a project led by the Highland Council and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. The free WiFi, called "High-Fi", is aimed at stimulating economic growth and will increase digital inclusion across the Highlands.
The Highland Council has considered Audit Scotland's report on Local Government in Scotland, Challenges & Performance 2018. Audit Scotland recognises that councils will continue to face difficult decisions with limited resources.
The work of the Redesign Board has been considered by Council today. The Redesign Board is fundamentally changing the way the council does things.
The annual Local Scrutiny Plan (LSP) 2018/19 for Highland Council was considered by Council today (10 May 2018). The plan is based on a shared risk assessment undertaken by representatives of all the scrutiny bodies who engage with the council and shows no additional scrutiny is required of the Council during 2018/19.
[Printer Friendly Version]