A meeting of The Highland Council will take place in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 10.30am.
Webcast Notice: This meeting will be filmed and broadcast over the Internet on the Highland Council website and will be archived and available for viewing for 12 months thereafter.
You are invited to attend the meeting and a note of the business to be considered is attached.
Assistant Chief Executive
Prayer – Mr R Balfour
1. Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
2. Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to consider whether they have an interest to declare in relation to any item on the agenda for this meeting. Any Member making a declaration of interest should indicate whether it is a financial or non-financial interest and include some information on the nature of the interest. Advice may be sought from Officers prior to the meeting taking place.
2(a). Nigg Yard – Progress Report
There is circulated Report No. HC-57-11 (26kb pdf) dated 26 October 2011 by the Director of Planning and Development which confirms that Global Energy (Holdings) Ltd announced, on 20 October 2011, that they had successfully concluded their negotiations with KBR and the Wakelyn Trust to purchase and lease the Nigg site to pave the way for the development of the former Nigg Fabrication Yard to service the oil, gas and renewables sectors.
The Leader of the Opposition subsequently requested that the Convener allow an emergency item to be considered at the Highland Council meeting to discuss the potential which the yard has to address the employment challenges faced in the Highlands at the current time, notably for young people.
This report therefore provides the context to the change of ownership at Nigg, sets out the scale of the opportunity that Nigg presents and outlines actions which the Highland Council will take forward with Global Energy Group, the Scottish Government and other public agencies to unlock this potential.
The Council is asked to agree to:-
(a) write to the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism expressing its aim
to work with the Scottish Government and its agencies to enable Nigg
Energy Park to realise its full potential as a source of employment
generation in the Highlands;
(b) provide support to Global Energy Group, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
and Scottish Development International to attract inward investment to
Nigg Energy Park;
(c) work with Global Energy Group and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to
promote the local supply chain to enable local companies to build on the
opportunities arising from Nigg Energy Park;
(d) work with Global Energy Group, Skills Development Scotland, Highlands &
Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands to
address skills issues particularly facing young people to enable them to
benefit from new employment opportunities;
(e) complete the necessary due diligence to enable Highland Council to invest
Vacant and Derelict Land Fund monies into the redevelopment of Nigg;
(f) consider future reports on progress at Nigg Energy Park at the Planning,
Environment and Development Committee.
3. Confirmation of Minutes
There are submitted for confirmation as correct records the Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 8 September 2011 as contained in the Volume circulated separately.
4. Minutes of Meetings of Committees
There are submitted for confirmation as correct records, for information as regards delegated business, and for approval as appropriate, the Minutes of Meetings of Committees contained in the volume circulated separately as undernoted:-
|Link to Minutes Index|
- Housing and Social Work Committee - 14 September
- Education, Culture and Sport Committee - 15 September
- Planning, Environment and Development Committee - 21 September
- Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee - 22 September
- Audit and Scrutiny Committee - 22 September
- Joint Committee for Children and Young People - 23 September
- Resources Committee - 5 October
- Gaelic Committee - 6 October
- Inverness City Committee - 10 October
5. Land, Environment and Sustainability Strategy Group
There are circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Land, Environment and Sustainability Strategy Group held on 7 October 2011.
6. Climate Change Working Group
There are circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Climate Change Working Group held on 26 September 2011.
In this regard, there is also circulated Report No. HC-44-11 (62kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Housing and Property which seeks approval of capital renewables projects which will reduce costs, reduce carbon emissions and generate income for the Council.
Members are asked to agree that capital expenditure totalling £2m which has already been approved for the 2012/13 and/or 2013/14 programmes should be brought forward into the 2011/12 programme as follows –
- Procurement of biomass boilers for delivery direct to sites to be agreed at Committee;
- Energy efficient lamp changes to street lighting; and
- Replacement of light bulbs and heating controls in schools and offices.
7. Equalities Working Group
There are circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Equalities Working Group held on 16 September 2011 (47kb pdf).
8. Governance Review Group
There is circulated Report No. HC-45-11 (94kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Assistant Chief Executive which brings forward recommendations from the Governance Review Group in relation to Planning Application Committees and the Land, Environment and Sustainability Strategy Group, Climate Change Working Group and Community Benefit Working Group for consideration.
In this regard, there are circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Governance Review Group held on 14 Oct 2011 (39kb pdf).
Members are asked to consider the terms of the report and agree:-
(i) that, with effect from January 2012, the current 3 Planning Application
Committees should be reduced to 2 Committees to align with the two new
management areas for the Planning Service on the basis that they would
comprise of a ‘North Planning Application Committee’ and a ‘South Planning
Application Committee’ as detailed in Paragraph 2.1 of the report;
(ii) that arrangements for the 2 new Committees should be monitored and
reviewed following a 12 month period;
(iii)that the Land, Environment and Sustainability Strategy Group, Climate
Change Working Group and Community Benefits Working Group should be
replaced by a new ‘Rural Affairs and Climate Change Strategy Group’ with
effect from January 2012 as detailed in Paragraph 3.1 of the report;
(iv)the remit of a new ‘Rural Affairs and Climate Change Strategy Group’ as
detailed in Appendix 1 to the report; and
(v)that the memberships of the new Planning Application Committees and
Rural Affairs and Climate Change Strategy Groups, and appointment of the
Chair of the Rural Affairs and Climate Change Strategy Group, should be
agreed at the December meeting of the Council.
Members are also asked to note:-
(vi)that, in relation to the Inverness City Committee and its associated
Working Groups, a further report will be submitted to a future Council
meeting as detailed in Paragraph 4.1.
9. Membership of Strategic Committees, etc
Members are asked to agree the following:-
(i) Highland Licensing Committee
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross – Mr J Rosie to replace Mrs L Munro
(ii) Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Planning Applications Committee
Mr T Prag to fill the current vacancy in relation to Ward 20 (Inverness South)
10. Question Time
The following Questions have been received by the Assistant Chief Executive in terms of Standing Order 42:-
(i) Mr Allan Henderson (16kb pdf)
To the Leader of the Council’s Administration
“What is being done by Highland Council to bridge the huge gap left in Community Transport services, with the transfer of care for the elderly to NHS, other than meetings of Heads of Services?”
The response is circulated
Mr Henderson will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council’s Administration.
(ii) Mr Drew Hendry (15kb pdf)
To the Budget Leader
“At the Highland Council meeting on 8 September 2011, in relation to the issue of the Highlands having over £140 million housing debt, Councillor David Alston, as Budget Leader, was asked “Can the Budget Leader confirm what official Council meetings and representations have been made to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury since December and can he provide minutes of those meetings?”. The response was “Yes”. Upon direct request for a copy of these minutes, the Budget Leader has been unable to provide them. Can he explain why his letter of 28 September 2011 contradicts his answer to Council on 8 September 2011?”
The response is circulated
Mr Hendry will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Budget Leader.
(iii) Ms Maxine Smith (15kb pdf)
To the Leader of the Council’s Administration
“Can you please outline the full costs to the Highland Council of the Community Council review, including full costs of the election process?”
The response is circulated
Ms Smith will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council’s Administration.
(iv) Mr Dave Fallows (16kb pdf)
To the Leader of the Council’s Administration
“Could the Administration state clearly who will be responsible for setting policy and how policy will be formulated in regard to those aspects of adult care that are the statutory responsibility of the Council to provide, once NHS Highland become the lead agency for delivery, after the integration process is complete?”
The response is circulated
Mr Fallows will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council’s Administration.
(v) Mr Dave Fallows (15kb pdf)
To the Chair of the Housing and Social Work Committee
“The Council currently owns and operates a number of Care Homes which will either be operated under the auspices of NHS Highland under a ‘licence to occupy’ or may at some point be transferred to the ownership of NHS Highland under the new integrated process. How would the Administration deal with any future wish of the Council to build a Care Home or Homes to meet need that cannot be provided by the private sector, both under a ‘licence to occupy’ and post transfer of ownership?”
The response is circulated
Mr Fallows will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair of the Housing and Social Work Committee.
11. Notice of Motion
The following Notice of Motion has been received in accordance with Standing Order 10.1 –
“The Scottish Parliament will shortly consider a Legislative Consent Motion on the Welfare Reform Bill currently passing through the Westminster Parliament.
We, the undernoted Members, would request that the Council write to the Scottish Government and ask them to refuse the Legislative Consent Motion on the Welfare Reform Bill due to the enormously negative impact on Local Authorities and the vulnerable in our communities.
In addition, that we highlight our concerns to the other 31 Local Authorities in Scotland and request that they take a similar stance on this issue”.
Signed: Mr D Chisholm, Mr B Barclay
12. Single Outcome Agreement – Annual Performance Report 2010/11
There is circulated Report No. HC-46-11 (86kb pdf) dated 11 October 2011 by the Chief Executive which confirms that the Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) Annual Performance Report for 2010/11 was considered by the Highland Public Services Partnership on 7 October and submitted to the Scottish Government.
Members are invited to comment on and note the Annual Report and agree that SOA performance be included in the Council’s newspaper supplement with partner input.
Members are also asked to note that the Scottish Government has indicated that Community Planning Partnerships are expected to drive reform and integration locally, improve their SOAs and be more accountable for their performance. New guidance is awaited on how this will be supported and until then the Highland Partnership will work to refresh the information in the current SOA and review local priorities to be ready to implement any new guidance with further reports being brought to the Council in due course.
13. Response to Audit Scotland National Report - Arms Length External Organisations – Are You Getting It Right?
There is circulated Joint Report No. HC-47-11 (32kb pdf) dated 7 October 2011 by the Assistant Chief Executive and the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which provides a summary of the key issues highlighted within the Audit Scotland report entitled “Arms Length External Organisations – Are You Getting It Right?” which is part of an improvement series for Members and Officers.
Members are asked to note:-
(i) the key findings and points for action arising from the Audit Scotland report;
(ii) that actions have been taken by the Highland Council following Internal and
External Audit reports on the governance of Caithness Heat and Power;
(iii)that Internal Audit will undertake a review of the governance arrangements
of all Highland Council Arms Length External Organisations and report on this
to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.
14. Police and Fire Reforms
There is circulated Report No. HC-48-11 (100kb pdf) dated 18 October 2011 by the Chief Executive which provides details of a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Reform of the Police Service and the Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland which draws on input from the Northern Joint Police Board, CoSLA’s Community Safety and Executive Group and discussions with the Scottish Government and Highlands & Islands Local Authority colleagues.
Members are asked to approve the attached response to the Scottish Government’s consultation – subject to consideration of the points raised in Paragraph 2.4 of the report – for onward submission to the Justice Secretary.
15. Planning for Integration of Services for Adults and Children
There is circulated Report No. HC-49-11 (56kb pdf) dated 18 October 2011 by the Chief Executive which provides an update on the planning for integration of services for adults and children, indicates the timetable for further decision making and seeks agreement for some key aspects to support the transition to the lead agency model.
Members are asked to note the work being undertaken on the planning for integration of services for adults and children and that further reports will be presented including, in December 2011, the commissions and proposed management and governance arrangements.
Members are also asked to agree:-
(i) that staff will transfer between organisations on the basis of the Transfer of
Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE) Regulations which
allows them to transfer on their existing pay and conditions of service;
(ii) that property issues be resolved for the initial outset of the Lead Agency
arrangements by means of Licences to Occupy and Shared Occupancy
Agreements on terms and conditions to be agreed by the Director of Social
Work and the Director of Housing and Property; and
(iii)that the Acting Head of Legal Services and Director of Social Work progress
the drafting and negotiation of the required legal agreement with a final
draft being the subject of a further report.
16. Corporate Parenting and the Family Firm
There is circulated Report No. HC-50-11 (40kb pdf) dated 18 October 2011 by the Director of Social Work which provides an update on recent developments about the role of the Council as Corporate Parent of Looked After Children and seeks endorsement of the Family Firm scheme which is intended to become operational in January 2012.
Members are asked to note the success of the local ‘Who Cares? Scotland’ training events and that a report on the monitoring of corporate parenting performance will be progressed through the Working Group to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.
Members are also asked to endorse the ‘Family Firm’ approach in Highland, the proposed launch of the scheme in January 2012 and future approaches to partner agencies and contractors to seek wider engagement in the scheme.
17. Inverness Trunk Link Road – West Link – Formation of Working Group
There is circulated Joint Report No. HC-51-11 (51kb pdf) dated 18 October 2011 by the Directors of Transport, Environmental and Community Services and Planning and Development which seeks approval for the formation of a Working Group to consider the outcome of the Options Appraisal in relation to the Inverness Trunk Link Road (West Link) and makes recommendations on the preferred route(s) prior to further public consultation.
It is also proposed that the Working Group will consider the outcome of the further public consultation and make recommendations to the Council on the preferred route(s).
Members are asked to:-
(i) agree the formation of a Member Working Group to consider the outcome
of the Options Appraisal and make recommendations on the preferred route(s)
prior to further public consultation;
(ii) agree the process set out in Paragraph 4.2 of the report; and
(iii)note the timetable as set out in Appendix A.
18. Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Act 2011: Sixth Review of UK Parliamentary Constituencies
There is circulated Report No. HC-52-11 (41kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Chief Executive which advises of the publication of the Boundary Commission for Scotland’s Initial Proposals for the review of UK Parliamentary Constituencies.
In this regard, copies of maps showing the geographical extent of the Constituencies detailed in the report have been circulated separately
Members are asked to:-
(i) consider the Boundary Commission for Scotland’s Initial Proposals as outlined
in Section 2;
(ii) consider the other possibilities outlined in the Commentary in Section 3;
(iii)determine whether to be represented at the Hearing on 24 November
2011 and by whom; and
(iv)agree that a final response to the Initial Proposals should be considered at
the next meeting on 15 December 2011.
19. Public Sector Equality Duty: Scottish Government Consultation on Revised Regulations
There is circulated Report No. HC-53-11 (91kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Assistant Chief Executive which provides a draft response to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on Public Sector Equality Duty Revised Draft Regulations.
Members are asked to agree the draft response as detailed in the report.
20. Local Government Pension Fund Governance Arrangements
There is circulated Joint Report No. HC-54-11 (46kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Assistant Chief Executive and the Head of Accounting and Budgeting which seeks approval to take forward revised governance arrangements for the management of the Highland Council Pension Fund (the Fund).
Members are asked to agree from 1 January 2012:-
(i) the establishment of a Pensions Committee with the membership and
voting rights as outlined in Section 3.1 and the terms of reference as
outlined in the Appendix;
(ii) the establishment of an Investment Sub Committee with membership and
voting rights as outlined in Section 3.2 and the terms of reference as
outlined in the Appendix; and
(iii)the deletion of the existing Investment Advisory Group.
21. Elections to the Crofting Commission – Response to the Consultation Paper on Draft Regulations
There is circulated Report No. HC-55-11 (31kb pdf) dated 19 October 2011 by the Chief Executive which confirms that at the meeting of the Council on 8 September 2011 Members considered a response to the Scottish Government Consultation on the Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011. The purpose of this report is to seek homologation of a decision made, further to the Council meeting, to amend the response further to consideration of the terms of the legislation.
Members are asked to homologate the amendment of the previously agreed response as detailed in the report.
22. Timetable of Meetings – Proposed Amendments
Members are advised that, following consultation with the respective Chairs, it is proposed that the meeting of the Highland and Islands Fire Board (originally scheduled for 25 November) should now be held on 24 November and the meeting of the Planning Review Body (originally scheduled for 24 November) should now be held on 8 December 2010.
It is also proposed that, in relation to the Timetable of Meetings for 2012, a further meeting of the Planning Review Body should be scheduled for 21 June 2012 in order to deal with any notices which may be pending at that time.
The Council is asked to note the proposal in regard to the meeting of the Highland and Islands Fire Board and to agree the revised arrangements for the Planning Review Body as detailed.
23. Membership – South East Community Health Partnership (CHP)
Members are asked to agree that Mrs Bet McAllister should be appointed to the South East Community Health Partnership to fill the current vacancy.
24. Deeds Executed
Members are invited to note that a list of Deeds (26kb pdf) and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 8 September 2011 is available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website
25. Exclusion of the Public
The Council is invited to resolve that, under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the public should be excluded from the meeting during discussion of the following item on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 6, 8, 9 and 12 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.
26. Caithness Heat and Power
There is circulated to Members only Joint Report No. HC/56/11 dated 20 October 2011 by the Chief Executive and Depute Chief Executive/Director of Housing and Property.
Members are asked to agree the recommendations as detailed in the report.