Highland Council supports moves to improve local democracy
6th September 2018
The Highland Council is encouraging local community groups to participate in the Scottish Government's Local Governance Review.
Members have today considered the work to date preparing for The Highland Council's contribution to the Local Governance Review.
Members have a keen interest in how local democracy can work better and a number of actions are being taken forward by the Council to enable more local decision-making.
The Council has been involved in and led a range of initiatives to enable communities to make decisions for themselves following on from the Community Empowerment Act. The Community Choices Fund to support participatory budgeting is an example of this which has resulted in very successful events across Highland where communities have awarded funding to a variety of local causes and groups.
The Council will be working towards the goal of at least 1% of the Council budget to be allocated in future through this same method of community choices/participatory budgeting.
Community groups themselves can contribute to and influence the national Review.
Community groups and voluntary organisations can apply for Scottish Government funding to host an event of at least 5 people with grants of up to £300 available. Communities can access this funding on the Scottish Government’s website at: https://beta.gov.scot/policies/improving-public-services/local-governance-review/
Deputy Leader of the Highland Council, Alasdair Christie said: "Localism is a key priority for this Administration and enabling local communities to have a say in decisions which affect them is at the heart of our Programme. The Commission for Local Democracy spoke to people from across the Highlands and delivered some valuable findings which we will endeavour to build into the way in which we work as a council. We will continue to look for ways to involve and better engage with people and to ensure that we are listening."
At his last official function The Highland Council's retiring CEX Steve Barron has paid tribute to two members of staff for their outstanding work. During The Highland Council's Quality Awards event, held last Thursday in Inverness Town House, he took the opportunity to present a special commendation award to the Council's Project Co-ordinator for War Memorials Alf Leslie.
UNISON will start to take steps towards strike action. The local government joint trade unions - who have also run consultative ballots of their members - will be meet with CoSLA to inform them of the results of their ballots, tomorrow Friday 9th November.
A Cook at Broadford Primary School on the Isle of Skye has scooped the Highland Council's Employee of the Year 2018 Award for her commitment to promote healthy eating and for inspiring pupils to get involved from "plot to plate" Annette Burfooot, who has been at the school for 11 years, is described as a skilled and dedicated member of staff who is passionate about promoting healthy eating and regularly goes into classrooms to chat to the children about nutrition and developing healthy eating habits. She also encourages them to proactively get involved in the planning of menus for school meals making the most of fresh herbs and vegetables grown in the school garden.
Highland Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to develop a holistic strategy and action plan to reduce the consumption of single use plastics from its sites and schools, and the wider community. The strategy and action plan was approved at a meeting of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (8 November 2018).
The Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Thursday 8 November 2018) have approved the Council's Strategic Housing Investment Plan for 2019-2024 that will see a minimum of 500 units being built each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
The Highland Council has announced the publication of updated guidance on financial contributions required from new developments towards new infrastructure and services. The Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance now forms part of the Council's Development Plan which is used to determine planning applications in Highland.
Thousands of illicit cigarettes have been uncovered by Highland Council's Trading Standards Officers with a little help from two specially-trained, four-legged detectives. Spaniels Dixie and Daisy from Consumer Protection Dogs were enlisted by the region's Trading Standards team to detect the smell of tobacco.
Nine candidates are standing for election to fill a vacancy for the Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Ward of The Highland Council. The by-election is being held following the resignation of Kate Stephen who was one of four Councillors representing Ward 5.
WICK and Thurso now have access to free WiFi in and around the centre of their towns 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 is ready for winter and prepared to grit council roads as the council's winter maintenance programme started on 14 October 2018. Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.
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