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."
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.
The Highland Council is looking for experienced staff or existing managers to drive the Early Learning and Childcare initiative forward, to ensure our youngest children get the best start in life and are ready to succeed. The Council will be almost doubling the provision of early learning and childcare over the next two years.
High Life Highland today announced that it has been successful in an application to the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, to support its HLH Leadership Programme. "Choose to Lead" will be a Leadership Award that will be recognised by the SCQF Framework and accreditation of the award will be carried out by the University of The Highlands and Islands.
Progress on the Highland Council's review of its public conveniences has been welcomed by the Council's Administration. Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Environment Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "It's important that we put the review into context and acknowledge that Highland Council is the largest provider of public conveniences in the UK.
Caithness Councillors have welcomed information that shows progress being made in respect of destinations of pupils on leaving Wick High School in recent years. The information was presented at the Caithness Area Committee meeting held in Wick on Tuesday 28 August.
The Corporate Revenue Monitoring Statement for Quarter 1 (Apr - June 18), has been considered by the Council's Corporate Resources Committee. The paper sets out actions to address the projected 1% overspend of £5.1m.
One hundred and nineteen probationer teachers were recently welcomed to the Highlands at an Induction Course held in Smithton Free Church Hall. We were also delighted to welcome a group of 13 new Canadian teachers, recruited through our agency partners TimePlan Education who will work in our primary and secondary schools across the authority.
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