Lorna Simpson is named Participation Officer of the Year
6th December 2018
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. Throughout that time she has worked tirelessly to involve tenants in the Housing Service.
She has mentored tenants, individually and in groups, to give them the confidence and knowledge to actively participate and engage with the Highland Council to influence decision making in the housing service.
In 2013, the Caithness, Sutherland and East Ross Forum, locally known as the Brora Forum, was formed The aim of the Forum is to bring together tenants from right across the north Highlands to discuss housing issues and to feed back their views on a variety of issues.
Lorna has put a huge amount of work into sustaining this Tenant Forum. She works with the tenant groups and the interested tenants on a very regular basis to give them the information and the skills to participate fully in the discussions held at the Forum. She works with them to increase their confidence and understanding of housing issues - eight of the Forum members have gone on to sit on Highland Council's strategic groups. Lorna has also arranged workshop sessions for the Forum members on subjects like the Housing Revenue Account and the Capital Investment programme.
Winning the award reflects the high esteem Lorna is held in by the tenants she works with who put her forward for Participation Officer of the Year at the TPAS Scotland annual awards.
The Council's Principle Tenant and Customer Engagement Officer Mandy Macleman said: "Lorna's tenacity, patience and support has been inspirational to the tenants she works with. She has worked with some tenants for years to bring them to a level of knowledge and understanding which enables them to engage with the Highland Council over very complex issues. With tenants who are new to this type of engagement she will work with them for as long as it takes until they are comfortable and confident and ready to fully engage."
Lorna’s award was presented at the 2018 TPAS Scotland Annual Conference in the MacDonald Aviemore Resort by Still Games’ Isa and Tam (Jane McCarry and Mark Cox). These National Good Practice Awards recognise the passion, acknowledge the dedication, and celebrate the achievements of tenants and staff from throughout Scotland.
Tighter controls on what can be taken to the public recycling centres are set to save £300,000 over the next two financial years. This proposal introduces restrictions on construction and demolition waste brought to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), limiting quantities to small amounts generated through minor DIY activities.
The main activities that the social enterprise groups currently carry out directly for Highland Council waste management are the servicing of re-use containers on our household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). These currently divert around 150 tonnes from 11 HWRCs.
Newstart Highland that took over Home Aid in Caithness is set to lose a £75,000 grant from 2019/20. The Highland council agreed the reduction at its budget meeting on 14th February 2019.
Planning and building warrant income is to be increased over 3 years as part of the Highland council 3 year budget plan. 2019/20 - £600,000 2020/21 - £328,000 2021/22 - £182,000 Total - £110,000,000 The current income target for planning and building control fees is £4.867m.
Savings of £610,000 are being asked from Highland Highlife in addition to inflationary pressures of £900,000 to be absorbed by the organisation. The arms length organisation has proved to be an outstanding success in the few years since it was floated by the council.
Highland councillors reluctantly agreed to range of increase charges under the community services part of the budget. Many of the charges reflect inflationary increases The total of £2.063 million will be rolled out as follows - 2019/20 - £771,000 2020/21 - £.636,000 2021/22 - £656,000 The split is as follows - Export licences for fish were included in the above figures but a change was agreed at the meeting that should make the saving in total.
Additional Income projected £216k of is projected for thenext three years - 2019/20 - £118,000 2020/21 - £58,000 2021/22 - £40,000 Through a proactive approach to lease extensions (with premiums) and increases in rental income the council will seek to maximise the performance of the industrial and investment portfolio, including selling off poor performing industrial sites and focusing investment on high performing, high rental sites and properties. Net income £2.776m - excludes income for the Housing Revenue Account and Inverness Common Good Fund.
The Highland council agrred to slash £258,000 from the budget for Early Years organisations for 2019/20 The current budget for Early Years' Grants is £458k per annum. This is primarily an area-based budget where partners are able to apply for funding for one-off grants.
Councillors today 14th February 2019 agreed to increase the price of school meals despite some councillors pointing out that previous increase last year resulted in reduced number taking the meals. Councillors have little room to help as they did in the past to basically subsidise meals.
Highland council agreed today 14th February 2019 to save £150,000 over the next two years in the complicated area of waste haulage contracts. What may seem like a simple hing to deal with is not an easy subject to easy with effectively as it affects every home an business in Highland.
[Printer Friendly Version]