Brexit - Our Commitment to the Highland Council Workforce
30th April 2018
The Leader Councillor Margaret Davidson and Chief Executive, Steve Barron of The Highland Council have written to employees with a reassurance of commitment to EU national members of the workforce.
Chief Executive Steve Barron said: "In the context of ongoing Brexit negotiations between the UK Government and the EU, we recognise that this could be an uncertain and unsettling time for many staff who could be affected by the outcome.
"We are writing to reassure our EU national employees that they are equally valued and appreciated members of our 10,000 strong workforce. As an employer, the Council is wholeheartedly committed to providing support to each and every member of staff who may be affected as the situation develops.
“At this time, there is no obligation for EU staff to take action and until the UK leaves the EU, European Economic Area nationals can still work freely in the UK. Home Office guidance, however, has been clear that all EU nationals living in the UK will have to obtain status in UK law; this is likely to involve a new process that will start in the second half of this year to enable application for settled status."
He continued: “We believe it is very important that we do all we can to help our employees during this period of change and to help them feel supported to continue living and working in the Highlands. We will also continue to work with Trade Unions to ensure that collectively, we are providing all possible support.
“The Council is also working closely with our partners and both the Scottish and UK Governments to understand the specific implications arising from Brexit which may have an impact on the Highlands and will keep staff updated on developments."
Following a pre-planning drop-in session at the end of September 2018, The Highland Council has given the public a further 28 days to share their views and comment on the proposal for a new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Longman landfill site in Inverness. The public can now visit the Council's website to find out more about the MRF and to share their views on the proposal.
Dr James Vance, Head Teacher at Culloden Academy has been appointed as interim Head of Education Services with The Highland Council's Care and Learning Service. Dr Vance, who starts his new employment in January 2019, will be based at the Council's headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River Ness at land 430m south west of Highland Rugby Club, on Bught Road, Inverness Using an Archimedes screw the hydroelectric scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 100kW and an average annual renewable energy output of approximately 600,000 kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated will return an income to the Council through the Feed in Tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure centre.
The Highland Council is carrying out the formal review of its Polling Districts and Places. This review is required in terms of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 as all polling districts and polling places should be reviewed at least every four years.
Joint operation identifies poor standards of food safety and staff living accommodation. Highland Council Environmental Health Officers were required to take formal enforcement action regarding poor standards of food safety during a recent multi-agency operation led by Immigration Enforcement.
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council. Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
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