Equality mainstreamed in Highland - Council, Education and Licensing
14th March 2019
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 report, "Mainstreaming Equality and Equality Outcomes Progress 2017 - 2019" was welcomed and approved by Members.
Members were informed that the Council is meeting its reporting requirements on:
mainstreaming equality into day-today work and how it promotes equality;
publishing annual details on employee information and how it has used that information;
publishing information on the Council's gender pay gap; and
progress towards achieving equality outcomes
Among the conclusions of the Highland report is that: The Highland Council's Programme recognises the region’s increasingly diverse population and welcomes people of all faiths, nationalities and backgrounds who wish to live, study, work or visit the area. The Council has a strategic goal to protect the vulnerable in its communities, promote fairness and welcome diversity and aims to work with partners and communities to reduce inequality and tackle poverty and discrimination.
The Council has committed to work with local partners to achieve its equality aims. Revised Community Planning arrangements have resulted in the development of the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan which has a focus on tackling inequality and includes equality of opportunity as a cross-cutting theme.
Over the past few years, the Council has already introduced consideration of poverty impacts along with the assessment for equality and rural impacts. This places the Council in a strong position to take forward the requirement of the Fairer Scotland Duty (Act).
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee said: "The report shows that we are continuing to make improvements that are mainstreaming equality into the work of the Council, Education and Licensing Board and the impacts of these improvements are having a positive effect on our service users, staff and communities. We must continue to promote our work on equality by raising awareness among staff and members."
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising users of private water supplies to take preventative steps to preserve their drinking water. Following a mild Winter and Spring, there is increasing pressures on water supplies.
There will be minimal impact on PSA posts due to extensive work done to protect staff through the holding back over 50 vacant posts and identifying other opportunities within the council. We have committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies.
The Highland Council, in partnership with Under One Roof Scotland, are inviting all private landlords to a special seminar specifically to look at issues surrounding common repairs and building maintenance in flats and how to deal with any problems that may arise. Under One Roof Scotland www.underoneroof.scot is an impartial online information site for flat owners and their advisers.
A greatly improved financial position is to be reported to the council's Corporate Resources Committee meeting next week for the financial year 2018/19. The position reflects the overspend reducing by £3M due to management actions in recent months.
Already leading the way when it comes to providing nutritional school meals, The Highland Council has reaffirmed its commitment to put more local fresh seasonal food on school dinner plates. Catherine Pendreigh, Food for Life Partnerships Manager at the Soil Association gave a presentation at today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee on the accreditation already awarded to Highland Council's school meals and how this could be further developed in the future.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have welcomed new funding to stimulate economic investments in Highland town centres to help them diversify and flourish. In partnership with COSLA The Scottish Government have provided £50m capital to set up the Town Centre Fund 2019-2020.
The Highland Council is warning anyone considering buying a puppy to ensure they buy from reputable sources. Concerns have been raised that people are illegally importing dogs from Europe to sell without the correct health checks or paperwork.
Parking Enforcement is coming to a street near you. With the Decriminalisation of Parking Enforcement, and establishment of the Highland Council Parking Services in 2016, the local authority has committed to the roll-out of enforcement activities across all population centres in Highland.
Progress in the transformation of Inverness Castle to become a new visitor attraction for the city was marked today with the announcement of contracts awarded to the architect and the creative director for the project. The Inverness Castle project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal.
The Chief Executive and Budget Leader are meeting with all budget holders this week to set out the need for tight budget controls to continue throughout the year. The Council approved the Council's change programme "A Sustainable Highland" in February, which is set to deliver £37.456m savings over the next three years.
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