Redesign Board set to agree a range of council functions for review
29th August 2016
The Redesign Board of The Highland Council is preparing to agree a list of functions identified for review.
The Redesign Board, which is a partnership between Members and staff, was set up on 18 April 2016 to make proposals on redesigning The Highland Council, in the context of our new duties to involve communities more in local decisions and services affecting them.
The Board identified five Outcomes for the Council which were agreed by Council in June. Some 270 functions were listed and grouped under each of the outcomes. The Board are now set to agree a review of around 120 of these functions which will be taken to full Council in September for approval.
Convener Isobel McCallum, Chair of the Redesign Board said:"It is good practice for any organisation or business to regularly review its activities to look for opportunities for improvements and income growth, and to identify where there can be efficiencies and cost reductions.
"Our aim is to streamline how our services are delivered through more efficient ways of working.
"This is a careful and managed approach to exploring how we deliver our services, involving our staff, our communities and the public."
Vice Convener Councillor Bill Lobban and Vice Chair of the Redesign Board explained:"The Redesign Board has taken an overview of individual council services and has come to the conclusion that 120 functions are worthy of review. These were selected on the basis that there could be an opportunity to deliver them differently or more efficiently.
"The board is open to a range of options and we welcome input from the public, partners and our staff whilst also taking into consideration the impact of any future national reviews and programmes."
"Once Council has approved the areas for review and how they will be prioritised, the Board will consider which reviews should take place first."
Councillor McCallum went on to say:“What is really important is that staff are fully engaged in the process as they are the people who know most about the services they provide. Our value is that we believe everyone can have new ideas for doing things better. We want to hear them, especially when they challenge us."
Wick councillor Bill Fernie one of the Redesign Board members, who is also Chairman of the Resources committee and Budget Leader of Highland Council said,"It is essential that the work of the board carries on and even though the reviews take up to two years I will with my budget team take account of the early work when considering our next budget later this year. We are under no illusions that things will get any easier as it looks likely that further reductions in our grant allocation from Scottish government will continue. Likely council tax rises will not help as that money is to be ring fenced by Scottish Government to help attainment in schools. Despite al of the restrictions we are going to try and make many changes and preserve as many services as we can while making them more efficient."
The Board's recommendations will be taken to Council on 8 September 2016 for approval.
Redesign Board agenda and papers:
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 Highland Council has invited people in Thurso to attend a public exhibition highlighting proposals for flood prevention measures along the River Thurso. The Council is currently developing a Flood Protection Study (FPS) for the River to identify solutions that will alleviate the risk of flooding.
Following a Highland Council Trading Standards investigation, Wick Sheriff Court has imposed a court order on a 42 year old local woman who was found to be selling counterfeit goods. The Order places stringent restrictions on her future conduct and any breach of it can lead to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter an objection.
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
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