Council Gets Top Marks for Customer Care
9th April 2008
The Highland Council has been awarded the Charter Mark Standard for excellence in customer service delivery for its network of 37 Service Points and its Service Centre at Alness.
After first achieving Charter Mark status in 1999, this is the fifth time that the Cabinet Office has presented the Council with this UK Government award which recognises top quality service delivery.
The Council's Service Centre at Alness handles on average 6,000 to 6,400 telephone calls each week from the public. Last year, 299,188 calls were dealt with and 98% of customers surveyed said they were satisfied with a further 97% saying that they were very or extremely satisfied with the service.
Customers can also get face to face access to a wide range of services five days a week by visiting one of the 37 Service Points in person. Services include payment of rent, council tax and other council bills; arrangement of special refuse collections; application for local authority housing and report repairs and faults; application forms for a range of council benefits, including housing and council tax benefit, free school meals, school clothing grants and travel cards.
During a visit to the Service Centre in Alness, The Highland Council Convener, Councillor Sandy Park took the opportunity to thank frontline staff for the first class service they provide to the public.
Councillor Park said: "Our Service Centre in Alness, and the network of Service Points we have across the Highlands are our front door to the public, a flagship service which puts customer needs and aspirations first. Due to the geographical spread of the Highlands, it is challenging for us to provide services locally but feedback from the public is that they appreciate the service we provide. Everyone within the network deserves tremendous credit for the amount of work that has gone into providing the high level of service which has resulted in Charter Mark success. We are continually monitoring how we are doing and I would like to assure all our customers that we will carry on looking at ways of improving and developing our performance even more."
The Highland Council's Garden Waste service for 2021/22 starts on Wednesday 1 September 2021 and customers have until Monday 2 August to order their permits to ensure delivery in time for the first collections of the new service year. The service will run to 31 August 2022, with a winter break in the months of December, January and February.
No bills for families. Fees for children learning a musical instrument at school will be removed thanks to more than £7 million funding from the Scottish Government.
Polling will take place on Thursday 12 August to elect one of five candidates standing in The Highland Council's Wick and East Caithness ward and one of seven candidates standing in the Inverness West ward so voters are being reminded to make sure they are ready to make their vote count. The Local Government by-election has arisen in Wards 3 and 13 due to the resignations of Councillor Nicola Sinclair, one of 4 Councillors representing the Wick and East Caithness Ward, and Councillor Graham Ross, one of 3 members of the Inverness West Ward.
Nomination packs for prospective candidates wishing to stand in both the Wick and East Caithness and the Inverness West ward by-elections are now available on The Highland Council's website The two vacancies have arisen as Councillor Nicola Sinclair, one of 4 Councillors representing the Wick and East Caithness ward and Councillor Graham Ross, one of 3 members for the Inverness West ward are both stepping down. The Returning Officer, Chief Executive of The Highland Council Donna Manson is encouraging people to put themselves forward as candidates.
The Highland Council and the contractor for the Inverness West Link Stage 2 Project RJ McLeod have confirmed that the new Torvean Swing Bridge will open to traffic during the afternoon of Thursday 1 July following the comprehensive testing and commissioning phase. The bridge has been opened as part of the commissioning process over the last few weeks to allow for systems to be fine tuned and painting work under and on the bridge to be carried out as well as training of the Scottish Canals staff on the use of the new bridge, which is now complete.
The Highland Council is looking to recruit some talented engineering staff to help deliver key infrastructure projects across the Highlands. Senior Engineer, Golspie Senior Engineer Alness Principal Engineer, Inverness Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Trish Robertson said: "The Highland Council is very much focused on being ambitious, sustainable and connected.
A financial plan which will invest a further £10M across a range of projects in phase 2 of the investment strategy for Health and Prosperity and £54M of capital investment in schools. The detailed designs and costings for the five schools identified for investment will be brought to Council in September for approval.
The Highland Council noted this week's announcement on the changes to the Scottish qualifications and assessment system following the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Organisation (OECD) report which backs Scotland's school curriculum in its independent review. Last year, the Scottish Government commissioned the OECD to carry out a review of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).
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.
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest Council Tax Collection Statistics which provides Council Tax collection figures for Scottish local authorities, up to and including the financial year 2020-21. In 2020-21 for Scotland as whole the total amount of Council Tax billed (after Council Tax Reduction) was £2.675 billion.