Retiring Highland Council Chief Steve Barron pays tribute to staff
13th November 2018
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.
Before inviting Alf onto the stage to collect his certificate Steve Barron said: "The timing of our event is ideal to allow us to pay tribute to some brilliant work done in a 3 year project to restore 121 war memorials across the Highlands in a mark of respect for those who lost their lives serving their country in the Great War.
"Alf Leslie and Hugh Gardner have worked tirelessly to ensure that these powerful symbols of the past have been restored to their original condition. The work has been challenging both technically and in terms of funding. It has required patience, determination and sensitivity but the results are truly amazing. Alf has given his heart to this work and is a worthy recipient of this special award. As Hugh says these memorials were built out of love and have stood for the last 100 years. This project will ensure they are standing for the next 100 years."
He then went on to give a personal tribute to the Council’s Head of Development and Regeneration Allan Maguire who, over a long career has improved the lives and circumstances of at least 20,000 families.
Since joining Highland Council in 2001 Allan has developed the Estates section and the Housing Development team and taken the lead on forging strong partnerships including setting up Housing Development Forums, the Housing HUB and Apprentice Schemes.
He has also lead on the establishment of the Landbank Fund and secured grants to establish Infrastructure Loan Fund. In Allan’s tenure the Highlands have secured over £400m of Scottish Government grant delivering over 5,500 new affordable homes including over 1,000 new Council Houses.
Steve then went on to highlight some of the recent Highland housing projects Allan has worked on including;
the Blar Mor site in Fort William - a major site up to 250 homes + Hospital and STEM centre
Midmills - 31 Council flats; 53 flats by McCarthy and Stone ; 40 studios for artists
Stratton - securing site for 150 houses + primary School and enabling improvements to Barn Church Road
Raining’s Stairs – 10 flats for mid market rent and 6 for Council rent.
Before presenting a very surprised Allan with a special Lifetime Achievement Award, Steve said: "In a career starting in London, for the last 17 years Allan has worked in the Highlands and shown true professionalism, ingenuity, creativity and dedication. The quality and volume of his work in delivering housing projects which have transformed the lives and opportunities of young families is quite incredible."
Photo - CEX Steve Barron pictured presenting Alf Leslie with his special commendation certificate - right STV News Presenter Norman MacLeod who compered the evening.
The Highland Council has today (Tuesday 11 December 2018) announced significant progress in the quality of collection and reporting on the performance of it's town centres through the release of new Town Centre Health Check "Story Maps". The maps contain a huge amount of data on many aspects.
A Highland Council employee, nominated by the tenants she works with, has scooped a national award. Lorna Simpson from Wick has been a Tenant Participation Officer with The Highland Council for the past ten years, covering Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
Highland Council's work to continuously improve Tenant Participation in the region has been recognised by the Scottish Housing Regulator and the Tenant Participation Advisory Service. Members of the Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee have welcomed the recognition received by Housing Staff and commended their ongoing engagement activities.
Members of The Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee have approved the first draft ‘Highland Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan' for 2019 - 2024 which will be submitted to the Scottish Government by the end of this year. The plan provides an analysis of homelessness in the region and the capacity to deliver rapid rehousing within the current patterns of housing need and demand.
Welfare staff within Highland Council's UK Award winning Benefits and Welfare Reform Team have decided to forego their office Secret Santa tradition and instead donate to Blythswood's Highland Foodbank this Christmas. Sheila McKandie, Highland Council's Benefits and Welfare Manager explained:"On a daily basis we work with the dedicated team at Blythswood Highland Foodbank directing people to them who are in urgent need.
The latest outlook for future housing delivery and school roll forecasts across Highland has been announced by the Highland Council today (Tuesday 4 December 2018). The joint publication of the Housing Land Audit and School Roll Forecast provides up to date forecasts for housing delivery and school rolls across the Highland Council area and will be used to monitor, implement and share details of the actions needed to support future housing growth.
Since the referendum decision to leave the European Union, The Highland Council has considered and made representations on a number of issues which have potential implications for the Highland economy and Highland communities. EU funding has brought hundreds of millions of pounds of assistance to the region over the past 40 years which has been critical to the region's growth.
Last week's Resources Committee noted the positive movement in the Council's revenue budget from a projected year end overspend in quarter one of £5m down to £2.2 in quarter two. This has been assisted by concerted effort across services and enhanced control of vacancies and all expenditure.
Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council will be meeting with Scottish Government Ministers in Parliament today, 29 November 2018 to discuss a number of issues of importance to the Highlands. In the morning she will be meeting with Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to discuss community benefit, and digital connectivity in the Highlands.
Following the announcement on 28 November 2018 by Thai Union that they will close at the end of the year their Edinburgh Salmon plant in Dingwall, a multi-agency response to support the staff has commenced. Known as the PACE initiative (Partnership for Continuing Employment) The Highland Council, together with local public sector agencies provide free, impartial advice to staff on dealing with the practical and emotional sides of redundancy, including support to get a new job.
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