Highland Council Budget Engagement To Commence
25th October 2018
The Highland Council has agreed to commence a public budget engagement process beginning on 1 November 2018.
The Council is planning for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years.
Over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 the Highland Council has already had to implement budget savings of £102.1 million and council tax rises of 3% in each of the last two years in order to deliver a balanced budget.
Budget Leader, Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "It is imperative to take action now to protect our Reserves from reducing any further. We expect our budget to decrease further in the next 3 years. We also have to do more with less money, and our costs are rising for things like fuel, pay and costs of living.
"We are working with services to produce comprehensive information on our current spending profiles, to identify where there are opportunities for efficiencies and any commercial opportunities. Our focus will be on directing our resources to those areas which will give us the best outcomes and deliver value for money."
Councillor Matthew Reiss, Depute Budget Leader said:"It will not be easy to find more savings on top of those we have already made. Income generation, commercialisation and efficiencies become even more vital in this context in order to protect essential services and we do not have the luxury of the significant reserves we once had to give us any room for manoeuvre.
"It is undoubtedly the case that there will be very hard decisions to make and we will begin a process of engagement next week with staff, trade unions, members across the chamber and with the public, to help us make the right decisions and do the best we can for the people of the Highlands.
"We intend to launch our Budget Engagement process on 1 November and this will involve a range of engagement activities stretching the length and breadth of Highland.
"We want to develop a shared sense of vision and purpose with our communities and our staff, who are central to the success of the council. This is an important opportunity to listen to what is important to people, to reshape our priorities and to focus our resources on improving lives and opportunities here in the Highlands.
"I strongly encourage everyone to get involved in this and make your voices heard. This is Your Council and Your future."
The UK Government will announce its Autumn Statement on 29th October which is about a month earlier than the last two years. The Scottish Government has also confirmed that its own budget announcement will be 12th December, with individual Councils' grant announcements being made the following week (week commencing 17th December).
The council discussed a budget up date on the way forward today -
Towards a Sustainable Financial Future - Revenue Budget Update 2018-2022. See it at Item 15 -https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4035/highland_council
The Highland Council is raising awareness of the opportunity to help shape future growth and development across the Inner Moray Firth area, and is encouraging anyone living, working, investing and being educated in the area to get involved. The Council has announced its intention to review the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.
A report that aims to demonstrate the continuing commitments of Highland Council, it's Education Authority and Highland Licensing Board, to advance and mainstream equality into day-to-day work was approved today by Councillors on the Care, Learning and Housing Committee. Local Authorities, Education Authorities and Licensing Boards are required by legislation to publish a report every 2 years on how they mainstream equality into their work.
The Highland Council is today (12 March 2019) launching a 12 week consultation giving the community until 5 June 2019 to comment on the proposed contents of the Common Good Fund Asset Register. Section 102 Community Empowerment (Scotland) 2015 states that before establishing a Common Good Asset Register the Council must first conduct a public consultation on a list of property (buildings, land, artwork, regalia and funds) it is proposing to include.
People living in The Highland Council area can now find out how to foster and adopt in the comfort of their own homes. Alison Gordon, Highland Council's Fostering and Adoption Resource Manager explained: "We have created this website to try to make it easier for anyone living in the Highlands who is considering fostering or adoption and we have tried to make the process of applying easier.
Council has agreed 22 strategic improvement priorities and a Highland Improving Performance Programme for the Council which aims to make the connections across services and communities and drive the improvement. The proposed strategic improvement priorities are identified from the Council's knowledge of where performance needs to improve and where the Council has already set ambition for improvement.
The Council's Programme "Local Voices: Highland Choices" was approved at today's Council meeting 7th March 2019, along with a Corporate Plan which provides the measures and actions required to deliver and monitor the Programme. The Corporate Plan also underpins the priorities set out in the Council's budget strategy and change programme "A Sustainable Highland" which was approved by Council in February 2019.
Overall the Council's key performance indicators (KPIs) for 2017-18 are performing well with 81% (22) either improving or being maintained. The principles that underpin the Council's values include that the Council will be fair, open and accountable.
Paper discussed at Highland council today 7 March 2018. The debate will be available for viewing later at https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/374561 HIGHLAND COUNCIL Date: 7th March 2019 Report Title: Council preparations for EU exit Report By: The Chief Executive 1.
The motion was proposed at Highland council today 7th March 2019. It was emotively opposed by Caithness councillors.
Motion to Highland council from the leader of the council Margaret Davidson on 7th March 2019 "The Council expresses concern over the proposals set out in the UK Government's White Paper on immigration, particularly that there will be no regional variation and that the salary threshold for skilled workers will remain at £30,000. This will have a significant detrimental impact on the Highlands.
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