Frequently Asked Questions

What are committees?
Committees are meetings of elected Councillors where decisions about Council services, spending and policy are made.

Who are the Members?
There are 80 councillors on the Highland Council, all elected by your votes. The Political Representation is available here . Committees vary in number and are mainly composed according to political representation.

How many committees are there?
At Council Headquarters our Councillors serve on 7 strategic committees, and 1 Joint Committees in which the Council works with the Health services. The full Council, comprising all 80 councillors is responsible for agreeing the annual budget and for approving the Council's policy framework. 

Meetings of the full Council are held in public, at least six times a year, with  annual budget and council tax setting meetings in February. Councillors also serve on their local Area Planning Applications and Review Committees and Licensing Committees as well as the Inverness City Committee.

How are Committees Administered? 
Democratic Services publicise the date for the meeting and also prepare and publish the agenda for the meeting with supporting reports. Committee clerks also attend the meeting to take notes and record the outcome in the Minutes. All Strategic and Joint Committee minutes go before the full council for ratification. Other Council Officers attend the meeting to offer professional advice to councillors before decisions are made.

The Scheme of Delegation to Committees describes what the Committees do.  All meetings are conducted in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders.

How can I find out when the Committees meet?
Dates of meetings are available on this website. Details of programmed meetings may be subject to change, and special  meetings may be arranged, from time to time, these are notified through the weekly diary.

Can I attend?
Most Headquarters Committee meetings take place at the Council Offices, Glenurquhart Road Inverness. Any member of the public is entitled to attend Committee meetings of the Council and listen to the discussions. You can also ask for a set of committee papers at the meeting in order to follow the proceedings.

If there are items that need to be discussed in private, the public will be excluded from the meeting. These items are usually at the end of the Agenda. The reasons for excluding the public and press are laid down in law and must be given to the public.

How can I make my views known?
You can have your say on an issue before it goes to Committee by discussing it with your local Councillor, with Councillors on the Committee or by sending comments to the Council Service dealing with the issue.

What happens at a committee meeting?
At a normal committee meeting the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, relevant Service representative and clerk to the committee usually sit at the top table with councillors in the horseshoe of seats. Seats are available for members of the public at the rear of the Council Chamber. An induction loop, for people who have difficulty with hearing, is available.

The Committee follow an agenda, which is a list of the business to be discussed and decided upon at the meeting. Reports from the Council officials are attached to this. Before the meeting copy of the full agenda is available from the Members’ Assistant at the Chamber reception. You can also look at the agenda before the meeting at local libraries, local Highland Council Service Points, Council Offices or on this website.

The Chairman usually begins by asking for apologies given by any Councillors who have not been able to attend the meeting. Each item is then taken in turn and discussed.

What happens after the meeting?
After the meeting, officers act on the decisions taken. A formal public record of the meeting is written by clerk to the committee and submitted to the next Council meeting.

If you have any comments or enquiries regarding Committee Services, please complete our contact form or telephone 01463 702133