Highland Council's Transformation Programme Progress Update
24th May 2021
Members of today's Recovery, Improvement and Transformation Board were provided with an update of the early progress of the Transformation Programme, which consists of nine key projects that form a major part of the Council’s Health and Prosperity Strategy, which was approved in March 2021.
£3.7m will be invested over 24 months in these key projects, which are projected to generate an estimated £18.7m of savings, efficiencies, cost mitigation and cost avoidance.
The 9 key projects - which range in duration from 12-24 months – are:
1. Economy (including Growth Investment and Planning)
2. Asset Rationalisation and new ways of working
3. Service Redesign
4. Digital Transformation (including Connecting Customers, Digitising records, and Microsoft Cloud Navigator)
5. Social Care (including NHS Partnership Review, Adult Social Care, and Placement Services)
6. Climate Change
7. Waste (including Waste Strategy and Route Optimisation)
8. Roads & Transport
9. Procurement and Contracts Management
The Board were advised that an essential step in getting each project underway has been resourcing and assembling project staff and teams as quickly as possible. A proactive recruitment campaign has been was undertaken including posts on social media as well as traditional promotions via MyJobScotland.
22 appointments have already been made. A further 14 are being progressed through the recruitment stage including interviews are being arranged / held. Steps are being taken to recruit to the remaining 3 posts associated with Asset Rationalisation, Placement Services and Procurement & Contracts. Steps are also being taken to 2 posts in the Economy project that remain unfilled following the initial recruitment process.
The latest position for each of the projects was presented to the Board.
Councillor Alasdair Christie, Depute Leader of the Highland Council and Chair of the Recovery, Improvement and Transformation Board, said: "It is very positive to note the early progress that has been made on this ambitious Transformation Programme. I would like to complement the efforts of all those involved in getting this ambitious Transformation Programme underway so quickly, including progressing prompt recruitment to the projects. Members also received detailed updates on projects including the collaborative approach and partnership working with the NHS in relation to adult social care".
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest Council Tax Collection Statistics which provides Council Tax collection figures for Scottish local authorities, up to and including the financial year 2020-21. In 2020-21 for Scotland as whole the total amount of Council Tax billed (after Council Tax Reduction) was £2.675 billion.
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest Council Tax Reduction statistics. In March 2021, Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction scheme supported 496,580 households (compared to 469,370 in March 2020) and the total weekly income forgone by local authorities was £7.328 million (compared to £6.525 million in March 2020).
The Highland Council has submitted bids to the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund totalling over £80 million. When the Chancellor set out details of the Levelling Up Fund in March 2021 the Council was advised that they could submit one transport bid and one bid for each of the three Westminster constituencies.
Two Highland Council by-elections to take place. Following the recent resignation of two Councillors, preparations are underway to hold by-elections in both the Inverness West ward and the Wick and East Caithness ward.
Boundaries Scotland (external link) has submitted its final proposal for Councillor numbers and wards in the Highland Council Area to Scottish Ministers. The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 required the Commission to review six councils containing inhabited islands - Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
The Highland Council today launches Building Our Future Highland - a campaign dedicated to keeping the public updated on the progress of works for the re-profiled capital programme's education, housing, and property projects across the region. Chair of the Housing and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Thompson said: "I would encourage anyone interested in the development of our housing, property and schools to utilise this new campaign and keep informed on the progress of works in Highland.
Taxi and Private Hire Drivers and Taxi Operators are set to benefit from a new grant scheme, following an announcement from Scottish Government. If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver who previously received support through the Taxi Driver and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Support Fund, and hold a current Driver Licence, you are eligible for an additional payment of £1,500.
Councillor Nicola Sinclair will stand down as an independent councillor for East Caithness on 25th June 2021. She will take up a position as reporter for the Press and Journal returning to her former career as a journalist.
All eligible young people are being encouraged to apply for a weekly, term time allowance of £30 per week from August 2021. The Highland Council administers Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in respect of eligible young people from across its 29 secondary schools.