Inverness and Highland City Region Deal projects delivered as governance improved
27th March 2019
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.
New guidance for parents and carers who wish to apply for deferred or early entry to Highland schools for their children has been approved (subject to some additional conditions agreed) by Members of The Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee. The guidance is helping to deliver the Council's Programme priority to ‘expand early years provision and provide the best start for young people across Highland’.
A question from Councillor Ben Thomson to Highland Council meeting next week. To the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee "What reassurance can the Council provide that it is applying discretion where appropriate to the imposition of the 200% Council Tax rate applicable to empty homes? i.e.
Members will be asked to approve a proposal to substantially increase the payment to foster carers at the meeting of Highland Council on Monday 9 December 2019. The new payment proposal recognises the valuable role of foster carers in providing a home and care for the most vulnerable children within their Highland community.
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
Improving literacy and numeracy is giving more young people a better chance of fulfilling their potential in life. Highland Council is committed to tackling poverty and inequality and enabling all our children and young people to reach their full potential, with a focus on reducing the attainment gap for those from more disadvantaged communities across the Highlands.
Helen Budge, Director of Children's Services at Shetland Islands Council, has taken up the mantle as Lead Officer for the Northern Alliance. She will be supported in leading the improvement collaborative by a quality improvement manager, working with Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Highland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland councils to improve the life chances of children and young people.
The Highland Council Modern Apprenticeship Programme recently achieved a top grading following a three-day Quality Assurance Assessment from Skills Development Scotland. The Council's Modern Apprenticeship provision has been designed so it can utilise current resources to deliver high quality training to new and existing employees.
Highland councillors welcome report which says Gaelic and cultural development in the region is progressing well. Highland councillors today warmly welcomed Chief Executive Donna Manson's report to the Corporate Resources committee that highlights the progress being made in relation to Gaelic and cultural development in the region.
Poll cards for people across the Highlands who are registered to vote in the UK Parliamentary Election will start to be issued from Wednesday onwards (20 November). Already 185,469 people living in the Highlands are registered to vote in the UK Parliamentary election.
The by-election for a councillor to represent Inverness Central - Ward 14 on The Highland Council has been won by Emma Roddick - Scottish National Party (SNP) who was one of six candidates who contested the vacancy. Voting was by the single transferable vote and Emma Roddick emerged as the winner at the third stage of the count.
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