| Strengthening the Highlands | What we will do for children and families |
| What we will do for the economy | What we will do for our environment |
| What we will do to make Highland Council more effective and efficient |
- Ensure sustainable, quality social care services for older people in the five communities involved in the care homes project.
- Work with partners and all levels of Government to alleviate poverty by:
- a) increasing benefit uptake;
- b) advising more people how to maximise their income through advice on welfare rights and benefits;
- c) encouraging use of free or concessionary priced services; and
- d) providing specialist money advice.
- Commit a further £100,000 to promote benefit uptake across the Highlands from 2009-10 – completed 2009/10
- We will work alongside NHS Highland to reduce the length of time that people are delayed in hospital, and to shift the balance of care to community services including better integrated services.
- Secure an increase of 600 houses suitable for older people and people with disabilities.
- We will increase the support to community based organisations that provide social, learning and health promoting activities for older people.
- We will provide services to adults who need support that maximises their independence, help promote and retain their dignity, and enable them to contribute to decisions about their care.
- We will -
- a) work with the Scottish Govt and our partners, especially NHS Highland, to meet the health and care needs of our population and reduce inequalities in health. This will include reducing alcohol and drug misuse, suicide prevention, smoking cessation, reducing obesity and tackling poverty with particular emphasis on changing attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol and supporting those in need with better prevention and treatment services.
- b) We will Ensure that adults who may be at risk of harm are better supported and protected.
- We will improve Council houses by investing £28m to improve energy efficiency in 4000 houses and £9m to replace 1200 kitchens and 600 bathrooms over the next 4 years from 2008-9. We will set out a plan to ensure that all Council owned houses meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.
- We will work with the Scottish Government and partners to prevent and reduce homelessness and provide responsive services to homeless people.
- Work with partners, especially the police and the Scottish Government, to improve community safety by working to reduce crime and fear of crime; anti-social behaviour; alcohol and drug related crime; reconviction rates; violence against women and hate crimes. We will work also to improve levels of safe driving.
- We will deliver the Highland Archive Strategy and work to sustain a network of local archive facilities, by working with partners where appropriate.
- We will encourage use of the Council owned Highland Museum and Art Gallery in Inverness, the Highland Folk Museum, and support a range of community run museums across the Highlands with advice, training and grant aid.
- Endorse the ‘Year of Homecoming’ in 2009 and develop a Highland strategy to ensure we play a major role in the celebrations – completed 2009/10
- With our partners, develop an Events and Festivals Strategy and continue to support a range of initiatives such as Am Baile, the Fèis Movement, the Blas Festival and the Royal National Mod.
- With our partners provide opportunities for Life Long Learning.
- Implement the Gaelic Language Plan and review it annually. We commit ourselves to the principle of equal respect for Gaelic and English languages and we recognise the diversity of indigenous language and dialects within the Highlands.
- Support the development of sporting activities and, in particular, encourage the development and growth of shinty.
- We will continue to strengthen the Compact with the Third Sector, recognising its value for Highland communities.
- We will support the roll out and transition to the new Community Council Scheme and provide support for Community Council elections in 2011.
- Use the national standards of community engagement. – integrated into 5.01,5.03 & 5.07
We will also represent the interests of the Highlands by working with partners, including the Scottish and UK Governments, to promote services for communities and older people.
- We will work with our local authority partners to campaign for fair and equitable fuel prices across the Highlands and Islands, and promote alternative renewable fuels to replace hydrocarbon based fuels. We will support the development of a strategic network of rural filling stations across the Highlands
- Seek the support of the Scottish and UK Governments for the removal of the remaining discount on Council Tax for Second Homes.
- We will transfer the delivery of Community Learning and Leisure to an Arms Length Organisation (ALO).