Highland Council Local Scrutiny Plan Considered
10th May 2018
The annual Local Scrutiny Plan (LSP) 2018/19 for Highland Council was considered by Council today (10 May 2018).
The plan is based on a shared risk assessment undertaken by representatives of all the scrutiny bodies who engage with the council and shows no additional scrutiny is required of the Council during 2018/19.
The shared risk assessment process draws on a range of evidence with the aim of determining any scrutiny activity required of the Council in terms of it achieving its strategic priorities and demonstrating good corporate performance. It also takes into account any scrutiny needs arising from risks identified at the national level.
The plan notes that Education provision is well organised and well led and recognises the renewed drive for quality improvement in Education. It also highlights areas of challenge for ongoing monitoring.
Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon welcomed the report. He said: "The principles that underpin the Council's values include that we will be fair, open and accountable. This means we will measure our performance, report on it publicly and listen to our communities, to ensure we are delivering services that provide best value for Council Taxpayers. The Local Scrutiny Plan identifies areas of challenge and improvement which require on-going monitoring. Most notably, these relate to the importance of long term financial planning and the need for transformation which is crucial in the context of increasing real term cuts to central funding of Local Authorities."
The Local Scrutiny Plan coordinated by Audit Scotland involves six scrutiny bodies: Audit Scotland; Education Scotland; the Care Inspectorate; Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland; Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate and the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).
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.
A report published today by the local authority spending watchdog looks at how councils are using the estimated 130 ALEOs (arms-length external organisations) in Scotland, which have an annual spend of more than £1.3 billion, and the impact they are making. ALEOs can take many forms - such as companies, community organisations or charities.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have given their backing to new shop front guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts throughout the Highlands. The Guidance sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, who represents the Thurso and Northwest Caithness Ward, has been elected as Chairman of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee. He takes over from Councillor Donnie Mackay who has held the role since June 2017.
Members of the Caithness Committee have on Wednesday 16th May 2018 approved the Council's 2018/19 structural maintenance programmes for roads in the area for the coming year which reflects both the strategic network and the importance attached to local roads by rural communities. The revenue budget for road maintenance activities in Caithness for 18/19 is £1.214M of which £0.539M is allocated for winter maintenance with a further capital budget of £0.785M The Highland Council's allocation to areas for structural road maintenance is based on the results of the annual Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey, safety inspections, service inspections and input from local members.
The Highland Council remains on track to deliver much-needed affordable homes across the Highlands as recent figures produced show all new home completions in Highland are on the up. In its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 the Council has a pledge to approve a minimum of 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
AVIEMORE now has access to free WIFI in and around the centre of the town thanks to a project led by the Highland Council and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. The free WiFi, called "High-Fi", is aimed at stimulating economic growth and will increase digital inclusion across the Highlands.
The Highland Council has considered Audit Scotland's report on Local Government in Scotland, Challenges & Performance 2018. Audit Scotland recognises that councils will continue to face difficult decisions with limited resources.
The work of the Redesign Board has been considered by Council today. The Redesign Board is fundamentally changing the way the council does things.
The Highland Council has today agreed to lead the way in reducing the impact of plastic on our vast coastline. Highland Council has a coastline of almost 4,500 km and is the local authority area with the longest coastline in the UK.
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