A Connected Highland - Council Agrees 22 strategic improvement priorities
7th March 2019
Council has agreed 22 strategic improvement priorities and a Highland Improving Performance Programme for the Council which aims to make the connections across services and communities and drive the improvement.
The proposed strategic improvement priorities are identified from the Council's knowledge of where performance needs to improve and where the Council has already set ambition for improvement. Feedback from staff, communities and members, performance data, and learning from major change and redesign projects has helped to identify where change and improvement is needed.
The improvement priorities align with the Council's Programme and partnership outcomes. A set of improvement targets will be developed for Council in May 2019 and thereafter monitored through new governance processes.
Chief Executive Donna Manson said: "To deliver the Council's ambition, the Council will need to be far more connected and create new corporate ways of working together, being open to challenge and finding more imaginative solutions for local services.
"We need to adopt a systematic and structured approach to self-evaluation that enables critical reflection and is supported by performance evidence from a range of sources. We will aim to build reliable data on which we can draw, covering quality, cost and efficiency and provided in a way that is timely and enables meaningful comparisons across local areas, with other local authorities and with national/international standards.
"We also need to be able to draw on feedback from service users, professional opinion and peer review in order to shape sustainable, efficient and high-performing services."
She added: “Leadership and management development is fundamental, but all staff and members have a role to play in performance improvement."
Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson welcomed the report. She said: “Striving for an ambitious and high-performing Council will impact positively on Highland communities. Our Programme aims to make the Highlands a stronger, healthier and more resilient region in which people choose to live, work, do business and visit. Investing in improvement across the Council will help us achieve and maintain our ambitions for Highland."
The report can be found here https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4093/highland_council
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The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant schemes, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, have now paid out £59,628,750 to over 5500 Highland businesses. The Council has now processed 99% of the applications received since the grant schemes opened.
Blueprint for safe return to classes. Detailed guidance on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August has been published.
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
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Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses. The Highland Council's Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.
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