Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Highland Council New approach in budget setting

18th January 2019

The council is taking a new approach in preparing the budget from 2019-22.

In recent weeks, the Chief Executive, Donna Manson, Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon and other senior councillors and officers have been out talking with staff, groups and communities across the Highlands in over 50 engagement sessions.

The engagement feedback was presented to Members as part of a two day cross-party seminar this week which was considering both budget and governance of the Council.

Councillor Mackinnon said:"The seminar was very good and generated excellent discussion between members of all political groups. There is a positive feeling of change and members have really shown the will to work together to tackle what are huge challenges for the Council.

"We need to remember that we still have some £575m to spend on services in the Highlands and our aim is to target resources towards the things which will produce the best possible outcomes for communities.

"We have identified a number of key themes which have emerged from our public and staff engagement and these will form the basis of real change in how the council works, how the council prioritises and how we spend the budget.

“A strong message also came through about the importance of building trust with communities and involving local people in decisions which affect them. This tells me that we need to be better connected and visible at a local level."

Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: “As Councillors, we have been listening to what the public and staff are telling us and we will act on this as we develop our future structure and governance arrangements as well as our budget plans.

“We have had a very positive few days and the level of collaboration has been terrific. We have a huge challenge ahead of us and we need to work together to find a way forward which is best for our communities."

Donna Manson added: “Members have a wealth of talents and experience between them and it has been heartening to see everyone working together in cross-party groups, sharing ideas and problem solving.

She added: “It has been very important to me to get out and meet with staff and communities and listen to what people have to say about the Council. I have heard about where we can do things better and what needs to change, but equally important I have heard about lots of good practice and really dedicated hard working staff who care about the communities they serve and the people they work with."

Four key themes emerged from the council's engagement process.

The first theme is making the Council more efficient - A loud and clear message is that we need to be far more efficient, streamline our processes and cut out waste. People want us to focus our resources on getting the best outcomes and the best value for money.

A second theme demonstrates a huge amount of support in developing a more commercial Council and increasing income generation. People want us to be more commercially minded and many people we have spoken to have said they are prepared to pay a bit more to protect essential services and jobs.

The third theme focuses on redesign and continuous improvement. People want us to be outward looking, to be more productive and make better use of digital tools and learning from best practice elsewhere.

A flexible well managed workforce is the final theme. Both communities and our staff told us that we need a more flexible and agile workforce, with appropriate training and skills and levels of autonomy, delivering services locally.

The budget will be set at the Highland Council meeting on 14 February.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

1/4/2020
Supporting Local Highland Businesses During Covid-19
The Highland Council is working hard to release business grants to eligible local businesses as quickly as possible.   The Council has received over 2,000 applications since the scheme was introduced last week and has set up systems to process these applications quickly while ensuring the necessary information is received.  
1/4/2020
Busy First Week For Highland Council's Covid-19 Helpline
Since The Highland Council's dedicated helpline went live last Wednesday afternoon staff have dealt with over 1,600 calls.   The helpline has been set to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support.  
1/4/2020
Help available for Council Tax payers in Highland
Council tax payers in Highland who have lost their jobs or are experiencing a drop in their income are being encouraged to apply as quickly as possible for a reduction in their council tax.   This help, known as the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme', is available for lower income households, including home owners.  
1/4/2020
Billing Pause For Business Rate Payers In Highland
Around 19,000 business rate payers in Highland will not receive their annual rates bill this April.   The Highland Council recognises the exceptional economic challenges for local business and has therefore decided to pause business rates bills in respect of financial year 2020/21.  
1/4/2020
Shielding For The Extremely Vulnerable In Highland
What is 'shielding'? If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS.   Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising contact between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.  
31/3/2020
Stay At Home Guidance - Parks, Open Spaces And Public Toilets
During this time of restrictions it is important that we all stay active, for our physical health and mental well being.   Recreation outside is an important element of this, but it is essential that each of us practice good social distancing while outside.  
28/3/2020
Highland Council Helpline Now Up And RunningThumbnail for article : Highland Council Helpline Now Up And Running
The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.   The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.  
27/3/2020
Highland Council To Launch E-vouchers For Free School Meals
Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020.   This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed.  
25/3/2020
Key Worker Hubs Set Up By Highland Council
The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers.  Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.  
25/3/2020
Highland Council helpline now up and running from 2.00pm Today
THE HELPLINE GOES LIVE TODAY FROM 2:00pm ONWARDS.   The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.  

[Printer Friendly Version]