Council performance meets with approval
7th September 2017
Good progress has been made in the delivery of the Council's Programme, Highland First, for the period 01 April 2016 to end 31 March 2017.
Of the 72 commitments, 64 (89%) are either complete, progressing well or performance is being maintained. These also reflect a number of areas of work which are also longer term commitments for the Council.
Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson said:"I am extremely pleased with the progress which has been made, particularly in the work of devolving power to local committees and setting up the Commission on Highland Democracy, protecting the road and winter maintenance budgets and making additional capital available for roads projects. The range of services available online have also substantially increased and this has delivered real savings.
"There has been tremendous progress in achieving the City-Region Deal and we are reaping the fruits of success in a number of projects including free wifi for Inverness and 14 other towns in the Highlands, and the West Link nearing completion of phase one, together with the delivery of affordable housing and housing infrastructure bringing benefits across the region.
"I think we can be proud of our continued success in growing our early year's workforce and training uptake and our influence on national policy on welfare reform, being recognised as a centre of expertise. We are working well with partners to bring forward policy to focus on reducing poverty.
She continued: "Performance in some areas is affected by economic circumstances and constraints on funding. Whilst there is much to be very proud of, we know that there are a small number of areas where we have had a mixed performance including sickness absence within the Council's workforce. On-going work to target reduction has included a dedicated member of staff to support managers in dealing with long term absence, a review of occupational health and compulsory training on attendance management for senior managers.
"She added: "We also recognise that we need to do much better for those children we have in the care system and those living in deprivation to help them achieve the very best possible outcomes in life and we will put renewed effort into this."
The full report can seen at
The Highland Council and its Commercial and Procurement Shared Services partners Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils are running a series of events to help businesses supply to the public sector. Some of the events are hosted by other organisations and we will be signposting suppliers to these as well.
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.
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