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 invited people in Thurso to attend a public exhibition highlighting proposals for flood prevention measures along the River Thurso. The Council is currently developing a Flood Protection Study (FPS) for the River to identify solutions that will alleviate the risk of flooding.
Following a Highland Council Trading Standards investigation, Wick Sheriff Court has imposed a court order on a 42 year old local woman who was found to be selling counterfeit goods. The Order places stringent restrictions on her future conduct and any breach of it can lead to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for 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 an 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.
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