Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 26 October 2017

Agenda: Read the Agenda

A meeting of the Highland Council will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 10.35am.

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.

Yours faithfully,

Stewart Fraser
Head of Corporate Governance 


1. Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
A’ Gairm a’ Chlàir agus Leisgeulan

2. Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

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.

3. Membership of the Council
Ballrachd na Comhairle

The Council is advised that, following the By-Election held on Thursday, 28 September 2017, Mr Alasdair Rhind, Morningside, Scotsburn Road, Tain IV19 1PU has been elected as a Member of Ward 7 (Tain and Easter Ross). 

4. Confirmation of Minutes     
Daingneachadh a’ Gheàrr-chunntais

There are submitted for confirmation as a correct record the Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 7 September 2017 (pp.239-262) as contained in the Volume which has been circulated separately.

5. Minutes of Meetings of Committees
Geàrr-chunntasan Choinneamhan Chomataidhean

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 Volume circulated separately as undernoted:-

Badenoch & Strathspey Area Committee, 5 September
Isle of Skye & Raasay Committee, 11 September
Sutherland County Committee, 13 September
City of Inverness Area Committee, 14 September
Nairnshire Committee, 21 September
Audit & Scrutiny Committee, 28 September
Lochaber Committee, 4 October
People Committee, 19 October

6. Highland and Western Isles Valuation Joint Board 
Co-Bhòrd Luachaidh na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean Siar

There are circulated for information Minutes of Meeting of the Valuation Joint Board held on 27 June 2017 (approved by the Board on 22 September 2017).

7. Membership of Committees, etc
Ballrachd Chomataidhean, is eile

Members are advised that, following the By-Election for Ward 7, the political make-up of the Council is now as follows:-

Independent – 30/SNP – 21/Scottish Conservatives- 10/Liberal Democrat – 9/ Labour – 3/Green Party – 1.

The formula in respect of the number of places on Strategic Committees remains as 10/7/4/3/1.

Members are also asked to agree the following –

North Planning Applications Committee – Mr A Rhind to be included (Ward 7)

8. Question Time 
Am Ceiste

The following Questions have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance in terms of Standing Order 42 –

(i) Mr A Jarvie

To the Chair of the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee

“How many times have electric car charging points, either owned by or situated on Highland Council property, been used both in the past 12 months and since they were originally installed?”

The response is circulated.

Mr Jarvie will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair of the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee.

(ii) Ms M Smith

To the Leader of the Council 

“What measures are the Administration putting in place to ensure the Highlands gets maximum benefit from the £6million rural tourism infrastructure fund?”

The response is circulated.

Ms Smith will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council.

(iii) Mrs G Campbell-Sinclair

To the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee

“Please provide a list of the number of agency staff, as well as their equivalent grades and costs to the Council, on a monthly basis from July 2016 to August 2017”.

The response is circulated.

Mrs Campbell-Sinclair will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee.

9. The Council Programme – Progress Report 
Prògram airson Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd

There is circulated Report No. HC/39/17 dated 16 October 2017 by the Chief Executive.

The Council is asked to:-

(i) note the progress that has been made to engage collaboratively on the development of the Programme;
(ii) consider and approve the revised commitments under the 5 priority themes at Appendix 1 (to follow); and
(iii) consider and agree the proposed next steps.  
10. Redesign of Highland Council – Progress Report
Bòrd Ath-dhealbhaidh – Aithisg Adhartais

There is circulated Report No. HC/40/17 dated 17 October 2017 by the Chief Executive.

The Council is asked to:-

(i) note the Board’s programme of reviews and its progress in commissioning five peer reviews and the learning from lean reviews underway;
(ii) note that Board workshops are open to all Members to attend and that Members can propose areas for review to the Board;
(iii) note the engagement with Managers and the programme of local staff forums being held to brief staff and to share their views and ideas;
(iv) note the work in progress around the Council being more commercially minded, community minded and the development of a Redesign Board communications plan; and
(v) note the positive feedback from the External Auditors on the progress made by the Board to date.      

11. Annual Audit Report and Accounts
Aithisg Sgrùdaidh on Taobh A-muigh 

There is circulated Report No. HC/41/17 dated 16 October 2017 by the Director of Corporate Resources.

The Council is asked to note that the Auditor’s Report was approved by the Audit & Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 28 September.

The Council is also asked to note the agreed actions as detailed.

12. Results from the Citizens’ Panel 2017 Performance and Attitudes Survey    
Toraidhean bho Shuirbhidh Coileanaidh is Bheachdan Phannal nan Saoranach 2017  

There is circulated Report No. HC/42/17 dated 25 September 2017 by the Chief Executive.

The Council is asked to consider the key findings of the feedback from the Citizens’ Panel from this year’s survey.

The Council is also asked to approve the follow-up action to communicate the results set out in Paragraph 4.1 and await further analysis and reports as outlined in Paragraph 5.3 of the report.

13. Uig Harbour – Harbour Revision Order and construction consents        
Leasachaidhean Ionad-aiseig Ùige – Adhartas a thaobh Òrdugh Ath-sgrùdaidh Calaidh 

There is circulated Report No. HC/43/17 dated 17 October 2017 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.

The Council is asked to approve the drafting and submission of a Harbour Revision Order and other construction consents for the new works required at Uig Harbour.

14. Code of Corporate Governance 
Còd Riaghladh Corporra

There is circulated Report No. HC/44/17 dated 5 October 2017 by the Head of Corporate Governance which provides an update on progress with delivering the Local Code of Corporate Governance for 2016/17 and presents the proposed Code for 2017/18 for approval. 

The Council is asked to note the progress on delivering the 2016/17 Code and approve the 2017/18 Code of Corporate Governance as detailed. 

15. Commercial Board
Bòrd Coimeirsealta

Members will be aware that, at the Council meeting on 29 June, it was agreed that a Commercial Board should be established comprising 5 Members (1 from each Group – plus a Substitute), 2 Senior Officers in Executive roles and up to 2 External Advisers as Non-Executives on the Board.

In this regard, the first meeting of the Board was held on 28 September when it was agreed to recommend that the membership should be increased to 10 Members (2 from each Group) with 2 Senior Officers as Advisers but that no further action should be taken on appointing External Advisers meantime.

It was also agreed to appoint Mr G Adam as Chair and Ms M Smith as Vice Chair of the Board.

The Council is asked to agree the revised arrangements for the Commercial Board as detailed.  

16. Standing Orders Relating to the Conduct of Meetings
Gnath-riaghailtean co-cheangailte ri GiulanChoinneamhan

The Council is reminded that it was previously agreed to amend Standing Order 13.3 to remove the requirement for a Substitute Member from each Group (attending a meeting) to be ‘named’ in advance. It was also agreed that notification of attendance by a Substitute had to be given no later than 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

This arrangement was previously limited to 1 Member from each Group. However, it is now proposed that this limit should be removed and that Groups should be able to specify more than 1 Substitute if necessary.         

The Council is therefore asked to agree the proposed amendment to Standing Order 13.3 as detailed – on the basis that (other than in exceptional cases) notification has to be given no later than 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

17. Scheme of Delegation and Administration to Strategic Committees and Sub Committees and to Officers 
Raòn Ùghdarrais agus Rianachd gu Comataidhean Ro-innleachdail agus Fo-chomataidhean agus gu Oifigearan    

There is circulated Report No. HC/45/17 dated 17 October 2017 by the Head of Corporate Governance which outlines amendments to the Scheme of Delegation and Administration to Strategic Committees and Sub Committees and to Officers.

Annual Review of the Scheme of Delegation is a requirement of the Council’s Code of Corporate Governance.

The Council is asked to agree the proposed amendments to the Scheme of Delegation as detailed.

18. Notices of Motion  
Brathan Gluasaid

The following Notices of Motion have been received in accordance with Standing Order 10.1 –

‘The Highland Council celebrates all the Highland competitors at the recent Special Olympics, including the 58 athletes who brought home medals from six sports.
These games highlight the great benefits that sport brings to all those who take part. Not least, being a fantastic way to improve social inclusion among those who are usually excluded, this council agrees to continue to support and promote these excellent opportunities for those who live here.’

Signed: Mr A Jarvie, Mr G Ross

‘The Highland Council reaffirms its support for the final recommendations from CoSLA’s Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy which includes the principle of subsidiarity.

The Council also believes that local democracy is increased when Local Government has control of taxation.

We move that the Council, working with CoSLA and other partners, undertake research on options to enhance local control of taxation so that local priorities and circumstances can be more fully taken into account.’

Signed: Mrs M Davidson, Mr J Gray 

‘The Highland Council recognises the great opportunities that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides to all those aged under 25 across the area. However, in the previous academic year, some of the most deprived high schools such as Wick, Alness, Dingwall and Inverness High School did not enrol any of their pupils in this award. So far this year, only four pupils from a disadvantaged background have started their gold level award, with only two actually completing it since April 2014.

This Council agrees that promoting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award delivers incredibly advantageous life skills. A great initiative would be to consider offering all children who are in our care, the opportunity gain their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This sort of targeted delivery to those most disadvantaged can deliver truly life changing results and as the award license holder, we will take further steps to help make this much more widely accessible.’ 

Signed: Mr A Jarvie Mrs I MacKenzie

‘The Highland Council notes the disturbing effects of Universal Credit on Highland residents and public services during the pilot undertaken in the Inverness Job Centre catchment. 

The Council notes in particular the catastrophic consequences of the in-built delay between an award being approved and the initial payment being made and of the ill-considered integration of the former Housing Benefit into the Universal Credit scheme. 

The Council therefore urges the UK Government not to extend the Universal Credit regime any further until these issues and the other flaws are addressed and agrees that the Leader write to the Secretary of State to that effect.’

Signed: Mr R Laird, Ms K Currie

‘The Highland Council notes the unprecedented high rents for private sector housing in Inverness and the pressure this places on both the Highland Housing Register and those individuals and families seeking a home in the city. 

The Council therefore agrees to examine and report back on the feasibility of applying under the provisions of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 for a Rent Pressure Zone for Inverness and for any other community in the Highlands facing similarly expensive housing rents.’

Signed: Mr R Laird, Mr R MacWilliam

‘It is proposed to form a Rural Health Group from Elected Members within Highland Council to:-

1. Lobby for appropriate health care funding in the area;
2. Assess and examine the ongoing redesign of health and social care by NHS Highland; and
3. Produce a democratically led plan for health and social care that is driven by both sustainability of funding and sustainability of care.’ 

Signed: Mr R MacDonald, Ms N Sinclair 

19. Deeds Executed
Sgrìobhainnean Lagha a Bhuilicheadh

Members are asked to note that a list of deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 7 September 2017 is available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website.