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).
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely fro 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 and 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.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
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