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Inverness and Highland City Region Deal projects delivered as governance improved

27th March 2019

Photograph of Inverness and Highland City Region Deal projects delivered as governance improved

Highland Council's Leader has acknowledged the findings of an internal audit report into the progress of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.

The report examines three projects including the Science Skills Academy; Innovative Assisted Living (FIT House) and Inverness Castle.

Councillor Margaret Davidson said: "The Inverness and Highland City Region Deal is delivering on the ground. Earlier this week (Monday March 25) in Thurso, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and partners officially opened the first Norwegian style learning centre or ‘Newton Room' in the UK; and the second Newton Room will be opened on the 2nd April in Caol at Fort William. These Newton Rooms are designed to inspire more young people to become interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics also known as STEM subjects."

The Inverness and Highland City Region Deal is also providing new affordable ‘FitHomes' for people in Highland and free WiFi, called "High-Fi" has rolled out in 15 towns across the region including: Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Inverness, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.

Cllr Davidson added: "The internal audit has identified valid concerns about financial and other governance issues. These have been addressed by additional staff help and financial controls. The wider governance matters will be discussed as soon as is practicable by Group Leaders and the Chair and Vice Chair of Audit and Scrutiny."

Cllr Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee said: "I am heartened to hear of the continued scrutiny of this project and we can be assured that improvements have been made since the report was written. Myself (as Chair) and the Vice Chair of Audit and Scrutiny (Cllr Peter Saggers) welcome the invitation to discuss this report further with the Leaders' Group and to bring it back to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee following discussions with the Service."

The Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is jointly funded by the Scottish and UK Governments. The Scottish Government have committed up to £135 million in the Deal, the UK Government has committed up to £53 million, and the Highland Council and regional partners have committed up to £127 million over 10 years.

 

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