Your Voice, Your Council, Your Future - engagement continues with Highland Council
29th November 2018
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.
The Highland Council's month of public engagement activity is well underway with public and staff engagements across the Highlands.
Hundreds of people have watched the budget video, and have completed an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YourvoiceYourCouncil and have attempted the Budget Challenge, an online budget simulator, to see for themselves how they would make choices to balance the budget.
Members of the budget team and the Chief Executive have been meeting staff, groups and communities across the Highlands during November.
Budget Leader, Councillor Alister Mackinnon thanks those for taking part so far and calls for everyone to get involved and make their views known. He said: "It is vital that we understand what is important to communities to help us make the right decisions as we plan ahead for the next three years.
"We are working with staff to identify all opportunities for efficiencies. Income generation is also a fundamental part of our strategy to protect essential services. Our focus will be on directing our reducing resources to those areas which will deliver the best outcomes and provide value for money. This is Your Council and Your future."
Chief Executive Donna Manson said: "The progress on our budget position is very positive, however there is a considerable amount of work still required, and the Council faces a number of risks in the coming months from pay awards, winter conditions, and out of authority placements. The Council’s Executive Leadership Team remains committed to further reduce the forecast overspend to ensure a balanced budget is delivered by year end and no draw down from reserves is required."
She added: “I have enjoyed being out meeting communities and staff across the Highlands and look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming days and weeks. Your feedback is essential to the future shape and sustainability of Highland Council, so please continue to engage with us as we are listening and value your ideas."
The Council also held facebook chats on income generation and education which received many responses and some very positive suggestions.
You can get more information and find out how to complete the survey or take the budget challenge at: www.highland.gov.uk/yourvoice
Themes emerging from the engagement activity will be reported to Council in December 2018.
Donna Manson the new Chief Executive of Highland Council who replaced Steve Barron recently.
Consumer complaints about second-hand cars have topped the complaints "league table" in Scotland for many years. Common problems include mechanical issues, misdescribed cars and history.
Changes to a number of Polling Districts and Polling Places in the Highlands were agreed yesterday (Thursday 5 September 2019) at the meeting of The Highland Council. Members approved a new Scheme of Polling Districts and Polling Places that will be in place for the next four years.
As part of The Highland Council's Redesign, the Council has announced two further appointments to new posts of Executive Chief Officer (ECO). Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure, will take up the post of ECO for Transformation and Economy at the end of the month.
Kings Golf Club Inverness, (formerly known as Torvean Golf Club), has officially opened a new course and clubhouse on the north side of the A82 trunk road, on the outskirts of Inverness, marking the completion of a £12.35M investment as part of the Inverness West Link Road project. The official opening ceremony took place today, Friday 30th August 2019, with special guest Bernard Gallagher, former three times Ryder Cup Captain and the Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael.
The Highland Council is now inviting applications for Community Transport grant funding, to cover the three-year period from April 2020 - March 2023. The Council encourages both current grant recipients and new applicants to submit applications.
During the Caithness Committee on Tuesday 27 August 2019 Members had the opportunity to review progress of the capital programme for the area and scrutinise the amount of money spent to date. The current year's capital investment allocation for projects in the Caithness area is £4,210,000.
Members have, at a special council meeting today, agreed a top priority for the Scottish Government New Schools Investment Programme bid. Members agreed that the proposed Tain 3-18 Campus project is nominated as The Highland Council's priority for consideration by the Scottish Government for inclusion in the initial phase of the New Schools Investment Programme with a delivery timescale by the end of 2021.
At this time of year many householders are thinking of their gardens, keeping them tidy or seeing to those jobs that need done before the weather turns. This is also the same time of year for criminals to take advantage of this and prey on the unsuspecting.
The Council has successfully distributed more than 20,000 Chromebook devices to all its schools to support learners to acquire key technology and life skills in facilitating a digitally enabled generation. Based on the ICT in Learning Strategic Action Plan 2015, The Highland Council started the Chromebook Project in November 2017 where every pupil in P6-S6 will be allocated a Chromebook for their use in school and at home for educational purposes and P1-P5 pupils will have access to Chromebooks at school on a 1:5 ratio.
Considerable effort has been focussed on returning young people to Highland. Since the Councils enhanced Placement Programme began in June 2018, 34 young people have returned to Highland or circumvented OOA (Out of Authority) avoiding costs of over £5M as compared with these young people remaining out of area for a year.
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