Highland Council Analysis Shows £31 Million Budget Gap For 2019/20
9th January 2019
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
The Council has been planning for several months for budget reductions over the next 3 years and has carried out significant public and staff engagement to identify local priorities and areas of potential savings.
Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: "The funding settlement and additional requirements for Local Authorities has increased our anticipated budget gap substantially. We were already preparing for a significant reduction, but this news sets us a huge challenge and may mean we will need to bring forward savings from future years.
"The work we have been doing stands us in good stead and we are much better prepared for a challenging scenario. We have taken a new approach to the budget setting this year, looking at re-basing all budgets, focusing on outcomes and removing all inefficiency. We are also continuing to work on current in-year pressures with tighter financial controls and a freeze on filling vacant posts.
“The situation will require big changes to what we currently do and how we do it and will require support from our workforce and across the political spectrum. Income generation and efficiency are key to managing the situation we are in. We are determined to do the best we can for Highland within the resources we have and to deliver a budget which protects essential services and jobs which support the wider economy."
Chief Executive Donna Manson added: “I would like to thank the public and staff who participated in our public engagement across the Highlands. This has given us a huge amount of information and a much better understanding of how we can do things better. The overwhelming theme has been that the Council can be much more efficient and our aim is to do everything possible to demonstrate that we are listening and acting on what we have heard.
“We will be back out again to meet with partners, groups and communities as we work to develop the detail of the budget in the coming weeks."
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.
[Printer Friendly Version]