Highland Council responds to SPA decisions on the Inverness Police Control Room
29th September 2017
The Scrutiny Lead for The Highland Council, Cllr Matthew Reiss responded to the decisions made today by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) at their meeting in Inverness.
He said: "We are naturally deeply disappointed by the decisions today to close the Inverness Control Room and to spread the National Database Enquiry Unit between Inverness and Govan.
"The staff in the Inverness Control Room are extremely dedicated, skilled and experienced, and have served the Highlands and Islands well over many years. At least these decisions offer some certainty about their future and some hope and opportunities in terms of a new role in the national Database Enquiry Unit.
"We will not forget however that we were promised a National Database Enquiry Unit serving the whole of Scotland and an uplift in staff jobs and this promise has been broken. We were also told that the 14 serving officers in the Control Room would become additional officers in the community in the Highlands. We now hear that this additional resource will be gone within a few months as the current resource returns to establishment numbers."
He continued: “I was pleased however, to hear DCC Livingstone's clear commitment to decentralisation and the need to distribute staff jobs across the country."
Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson added: “I welcome the fact that the concerns which have been consistently raised by the Highland Council have been acknowledged by the SPA and I do feel that we have gone a long way to drive a greater transparency and engagement. But I am very disappointed that we will lose our valued Control Room and that we will not get the single NDEU based solely in Inverness as in the long term commitments previously made.
“It has been made clear today that the SPA will hold Police Scotland to account for their new commitment to decentralisation, looking for timescales for actions. As always, actions speak louder than words and we have had too many false promises from Police Scotland."
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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