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Highland Council Continuity

1st May 2020

The Members, staff and resources of Highland Council continue to be focussed on responding to the COVID-19 emergency. Staff across all services and areas are working hard, often in roles different to their normal jobs, to ensure a proactive, well organised and co-ordinated approach is taken across Highland.

All Council business is being discharged in accordance with the Government's physical distancing guidelines including officer meetings. Meetings use telephone and video conferencing to enable participants to take part remotely and without the need to travel. These arrangements are being kept under constant review to improve reliability and accessibility of the technology and ensure consistency with public health guidelines at all times

All of the Council's Strategic Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are meeting regularly with their respective Executive Chief Officers to consider ongoing service issues, local requirements and changes in national policy. If the Strategic Chair and Vice Chair believe it necessary special meetings will be called to consider urgent business requiring Member decision. The Council’s calendar of meetings will be adjusted accordingly.

There will be a special meeting of the Council on Thursday 25 June. The meeting will make use of technology to allow remote participation. The meeting will consider a report detailing the urgent measures taken and powers exercised in response to the emergency but the focus will be on Highland Council recovery - understanding the impact of COVID-19 and planning for the future.

Council Convener Bill Lobban who will chair the full Council meeting on Thursday 25 June said: "It is important that even at a time of crisis such as we are currently experiencing that our elected members have the opportunity to meet, to be informed and to influence our future direction."

In terms of planning, the Council’s current scheme of delegation has been suspended on a temporary basis during the duration of the current COVID 19 outbreak. These revisions to the Scheme of Delegation were agreed by the Scottish Government for the determination of planning applications. These are currently being reviewed with a view to holding a meeting for both NPAC and SPAC as quickly as circumstances will allow and this will probably be a virtual meeting. The Council’s Planning Review Body will be meeting, using video conferencing technology, on 5 May 2020.

 

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