Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Your voice - Your council – Your future

13th December 2018

THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands.

These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.

Like other local authorities, and the wider public sector, Highland Council faces significant continuing financial pressures over the next few years. Options for a three-year budget are being developed to help secure long term financial sustainability for the Council which will include restoring reserves to an appropriate level.

The public and staff engagement process will help to inform the budget proposals and consequent decisions which will be made in February 2019. This includes allocating resources to deliver the Council's strategic priorities and enable the best outcomes across the Highlands.

The budget gap will need to be closed by spending less, by reducing some services, by being more efficient and by increasing the level of income the Council generates from Council Tax and other fees or charges.

Detailed analysis of the feedback is being done and a full report will be published once complete. However, a number of themes are emerging from the overall engagement. These are efficient processes, a flexible workforce, a sustainable local workforce, addressing local priorities and local needs, and income generation.

Many people favour the council increasing income from rather than cutting services. A majority of respondents also indicated that an increase in council tax would be acceptable.

Top priorities for people include caring for vulnerable children and adults, road maintenance, improving educational outcomes, protecting the environment and involving communities in local decisions.

Being more efficient came across very strongly with lots of suggestions as to how the council can be more efficient, reduce waste and raise additional income.

Social media engagement also reflected support for increasing income through charges. There was a strong theme of generating more income in connection with tourism related activities, particularly a tourism levy and charging for campervan facilities.

Further engagement will take place in January based on these themes and budget proposals.

Chief Executive Donna Manson said: "We have been to over 50 engagement sessions over the past month and it has been a really interesting and useful exercise. It has given me a much greater insight into the organisation and into the interests and priorities of the diverse local communities which make up the Highlands.

"Initial analysis of the key themes emerging from the budget engagement point towards the need for change in order to support how we make better use of our financial resources and improve performance and responsiveness across the organisation.

“There is a clear need for the organisational structure, governance and scrutiny processes to change in order to support delivery of the Council’s priorities and enable the Council to be more flexible, efficient and responsive into the future.

“Although it was not possible to be everywhere this time, we will undertake a regular programme of engagement across the Highlands."

Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: “Although we have reducing resources, the Council still has over half a billion pounds to spend on services and our focus will be on an outcome based approach, which will target resources to deliver the most effective and efficient services in the future. This will mean doing things differently in many areas. We don’t always need to spend more to get the best outcomes and deliver the best value for money.

“We have heard what people are telling us and being more efficient is what people really want to see. I hope that we can demonstrate that we are listening and we are responding."

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

25/3/2019
Highland Universal Credit claimants urged to act ahead of annual rent increaseThumbnail for article : Highland Universal Credit claimants urged to act ahead of annual rent increase
Highland tenants claiming Universal Credit are being urged to log on and update their UC claim this April 1st to ensure their entitlement covers their annual rent increase for the year ahead.  Those who fail to do so will face a shortfall in their housing entitlement, putting them at risk of arrears.  
25/3/2019
Ban on Vehicle Tyre Disposal at Highland Council Recycling CentresThumbnail for article : Ban on Vehicle Tyre Disposal at Highland Council Recycling Centres
Householders are advised that from the 1st of April 2019 vehicle tyres will no longer be accepted for disposal at Highland Council Household Waste Recycling Centres.   The Highland Council currently disposes of 22% more waste per person than the Scottish average.  
18/3/2019
Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan reviewThumbnail for article : Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan review
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.  
14/3/2019
Equality mainstreamed in Highland - Council, Education and LicensingThumbnail for article : Equality mainstreamed in Highland - Council, Education and Licensing
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.  
12/3/2019
Highland Council to consult on Common Good Asset List
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.  
11/3/2019
Finding out how to foster and adopt made easier in HighlandThumbnail for article : Finding out how to foster and adopt made easier in Highland
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.  
7/3/2019
A Connected Highland - Council Agrees 22 strategic improvement prioritiesThumbnail for article : A Connected Highland - Council Agrees 22 strategic improvement priorities
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.  
7/3/2019
Council Programme and Corporate Plan approvedThumbnail for article : Council Programme and Corporate Plan approved
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.  
7/3/2019
Highland Council demonstrates improving performanceThumbnail for article : Highland Council demonstrates improving performance
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.  
7/3/2019
Highland Council preparations for EU exit
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.  

[Printer Friendly Version]