Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 28 June 2018

Agenda: Read the Agenda

A meeting of the Highland Council will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 28 June 2018 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. Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme – Gold Award Presentation
Sgeama Duais Diùc Dhùn Èideann – Toirt Seachad na Duais Òir

As part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, 36 young people from across the Highlands are due to receive the Gold Award this year.

14 recipients have accepted an invitation to attend the meeting where the Convener will present them with their Gold Award badges.

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 10 May 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:-
Caithness Committee, 16 May
*Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee, 17 May
Badenoch & Strathspey Area Committee, 22 May
Sutherland County Committee, 23 May
Corporate Resources Committee, 24 May
**Care, Learning & Housing Committee, 30 May
*City of Inverness Area Committee, 31 May
Isle of Skye & Raasay Committee, 4 June
*Nairnshire Committee, 13 June
Audit & Scrutiny Committee, 14 June      

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

There will follow for information Minutes of Meeting of the Valuation Joint Board held on 18 January 2018 (which will be submitted to the Board for approval on 21 June 2018).

7. Membership of Committees, etc
Ballarachd Chomataidhean, msaa

Members are advised that Mr D Mackay has confirmed that he has now left the Independent Group and joined the Scottish Conservatives Group. On that basis, the political make-up of the Council is now as follows:-

Independent – 27/SNP – 19/Scottish Conservatives – 11/Liberal Democrat – 10/Labour – 3/Green Party – 1/Sutherland Independent – 1/Non-Aligned – 2

The formula in respect of the number of places on Strategic Committees now changes to 9/7/4/4/1.
In this regard, revised Committee Membership tables will follow.

Members are also asked to agree the following -  

North Planning Applications Committee (Sub – Ward 1) – Mr H Morrison
North Planning Applications Committee (Sub – Ward 2) – Mr S Mackie
North Planning Applications Committee (Sub – Ward 3) – Ms N Sinclair
South Planning Applications Committee (Sub – Ward 12) – Ms E Knox
South Planning Applications Committee (Sub – Ward 16) – Mrs I MacKenzie

Planning Review Body

The Council is advised that, following the resignation of Mr S Mackie, nominations are being sought from Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 9 for the vacant place and will be tabled at the meeting.                                                
Items 8 and 9 (below) will be considered at 2.00pm.

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 Leader of the Council 

“What are the details of the engagements your Administration have had with Her Majesty’s Government and the Devolved Scottish Administration since the last full Council?”

The response is circulated 

Mr Jarvie will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader.

(ii) Mr S Mackie

To the Chair of the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee

“Given the rise in vandalism of Council owned play equipment in the Thurso and Northwest Caithness Ward, what measures are open to the Council in protecting its assets from mindless vandalism and ensuring that ratepayers are not liable for the cost of replacing and repairing play equipment?”

The response is circulated 

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

(iii) Mr D MacLeod

To the Leader of the Council 

“Can you let me have an update on your efforts to persuade the Government/Treasury to reduce the principal and/or greatly re-schedule the interest payments on the £200m legacy borrowing incurred whilst providing the infrastructure which supported the oil industry during the 1970’s and 1980’s?

It should be noted in this context that Government Revenues from Oil & Gas production totalled $470 billion between 1970 - 2014 and much of this Production was extracted from structures built at Nigg and Ardersier, many of which are still operating today”.

The response is circulated 

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

(iv) Ms M Smith

To the Leader of the Council 

“The Administration has spoken widely in the press and this Chamber about being in favour of a Transient Visitor Levy (Tourist Tax). Given the express need for income to this Council to protect public services from further cuts, will the Administration kick start this by giving a directive to one of its Working Groups or Boards to take this forward immediately, thereby instructing Officers to prepare a business case on different options for a Transient Visitor Levy?”

The response is circulated 

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

(v) Mr R MacWilliam

To the Leader of the Council

“What progress has been made in setting up the Highland Council Capital Board which was agreed at full Council?”

The response is circulated 

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

(vi) Mr A Graham

To the Leader of the Council

"Could you provide an update on the rollout of fibre broadband in the Highlands, with particular reference to (a) progress in landward areas and (b) progress in “not-spots” in City of Inverness and other urban areas, and on what the Council is doing to further progress matters?"

The response is circulated 

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

(vii) Mr K Gowans

To the Leader of the Council 

“On 30th October 2014 the Council agreed the policy Appointments to major external bodies and arms’ length organisations. The policy, as agreed, is without limit of time and can only be revoked or amended by a decision taken at full Council by all Members. Officers have confirmed there have been no formal meetings of any Members, at any time, to amend this policy and no other mechanisms exist that would allow the policy to be changed, other than with the agreement by Members at full Council. Consequently, the conclusion must be that the policy as agreed on October 2014 remains in place, therefore appointments to all outside organisations cited in the policy document must be made in accordance with the current policy. The policy also recommends that appointments to other external organisations should be made in accordance with the policy.

At the last meeting of the full Council, the Convener stated in the Chamber "there is no appointments panel, that was in the previous Council and it was not taken forward into this Council”.

If the Leader of the Council agrees with the Convener's statement above, can the Leader provide Members with details of the meeting, including minutes, of any meeting where a decision to depart from the policy in question Highland Council policy was taken behind closed doors, or if no such meeting has taken place, does the Leader agree that the policy should have been followed?”

The response is circulated 

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

9. Notices of Motion  
Brathan Gluasaid

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

(i)‘Highland Council recognises the contribution that walking tourism can make to our rural landscape and local economy and congratulates Jay Wilson and the Friends of the John O’Groats Trail for literally blazing a path from Inverness to John O’Groats.

Recognising that over 90% of the Trail’s bridges and stiles have already been built through an outpouring of local voluntary work, the Highland Council pledges to offer its full support to the initiative by designating the Trail as a ‘core path’ and helping to promote it to visitors from home and abroad.’

Signed: Ms N Sinclair, Mr M Reiss, Mr K Rosie

(ii)‘The Highland Council agrees to reinstate ‘NO OVERNIGHT PARKING’ signs at all Viewpoints/Car Parks throughout the region. This is aimed at preventing ‘wild camping’, particularly by Campervans, with the associated littering. 

Staying overnight in a layby does not contribute to our rural economy and there are many high quality established campsites where all the requisite facilities are already provided.’   

Signed: Mr D MacLeod, Mr S Mackie

(iii) ‘This Council welcomes the installation of the Rt Rev Susan Brown, Minister for the Dornoch Cathedral, as new the Moderator of The Church of Scotland.

Assuming the role as the leader of one of the nation’s oldest and most influential institutions, this Council congratulates her and wishes her the best in working with people of all faiths and none for the benefit of our communities.’

Signed: Mr S Mackie, Mr T Heggie, Ms K Stephen

(iv) Senior Management Review – 

 'This Council notes the retirement announcement of the Director or Care and Learning and records thanks for his years of public service. 

However, it would be a missed opportunity to not review our most senior management posts.

It is therefore agreed that a full review is conducted into what kind of Director level management this Council needs and where it is best for responsibility and management to lie. At the heart of this will be efficiency – either through deletion of post(s) or separating responsibilities for better service efficiency. If it is a feasible outcome from such a review, this could provide us the possibility of removing or changing a post without facing significant redundancy costs.’

Signed: Mr A Jarvie, Mr P Saggers, Mr J Bruce, Mr D MacKay

(v) Kildonan Station - 

‘This Council is concerned by proposals to close the Kildonan station in Sutherland.

The Far North Line provides a vital link between Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire and the Highland Capital and role of rural stations are vitally important to ensuring that the line is as accessible to as many residents, visitors and the business community as possible.

Recent announcements concerning the introduction of Network Rail barriers at the stations crossing and the piloting of electronic flagging at request stops are welcome announcements that will positively affect both the journey time and experience for rail users.

The Council requests that the Leader write to HiTrans and the Transport Minister to urge very careful consideration of any proposals that compromise the accessibility of the railway for rural users and would urge all options to be considered to reduce travel times on the Far North Line.’

Signed:  Mr S Mackie     Mr R Gale

(vi) ‘In view of Royal Bank of Scotland’s continued determination to close Highland branches and cause problems particularly with tourism, small businesses and the many people in our communities that do not have or wish to access online services, we believe Highland Council now needs to take initiative where we can.

We ask the Council to agree that the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources investigate how we can initiate and revive any agreements we have with other banks and also investigate how we can support the work of the Post Office and the banking services they provide.’

Signed: Mrs M Davidson, Mr B Lobban 

(vii) End to Free Lunches – 

‘The Council agrees to end the routine provision of free lunches to Members on Committee days and agrees that a business case be prepared by Officers on the creation of a larger canteen for the use of Members and staff.’

Signed: Ms M Smith, Mr R Laird

(viii) Gypsy Traveller Sites - 

‘The Local Authority has a duty to provide adequate facilities for Gypsy Travellers who arrive in Highland on their travels.  Currently, there are limited parking sites allocated in Highland, all of which are south of the Cromarty Bridge.

It is in the interests of Gypsy Travellers and the wider public that the Council provides parking areas, as well as sanitary disposal facilities, in the north of Highland going forward.  In the absence of these, Gypsy Travellers have no choice but to discover their own locations which are often at odds with local opinion and can lead to disputes.  This is not what the Council wants for its travelling community or Highland communities.

The Council calls upon its Officers to prepare a business case, in conjunction and consultation with the Gypsy Traveller community, to look at how best they and the public can be served by providing parking and stopover facilities in the future.  This may not happen immediately due to lack of funding but can go into a future programme, looking for matched funding elsewhere.’

Signed: Ms M Smith, Mrs P Munro

(ix) Highland Brexit Summit -

‘Highland Council notes with dismay the UK Government’s disregard for the will of the Scottish Parliament, including the unanimous votes of Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP MSPs, to withhold consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill; remembers that the Highland electorate voted to remain in the EU in 2016 in common with every Scottish Local Authority area; believes that Highland economic prospects are likely to be considerably harmed as a result of Brexit; therefore calls on the Council Administration to host a cross-party Highland Brexit Summit in advance of the EU withdrawal date of 29 March 2019 involving Highland Councillors, Community Council representatives, MPs, MSPs, relevant Scottish and UK Ministers, relevant public sector agencies including HIE and NHS Highland; and resolves to seek agreement on a Highland specific plan to mitigate against Brexit-related harm and to promote Highland interests at all levels of government.’

Signed: Mr R MacWilliam, Ms K Currie

10. Police Scrutiny               
Sgrùdadh Poileis

(a) Performance against Highland Local Policing Plan 2017-20        

There is circulated Report No. HC/16/18 dated 14 June 2018 by the Chief Superintendent, Highland and Island Divisional Commander.

The Council is asked to scrutinise the local performance report from Police Scotland against the Highland Policing Plan Objectives – April 2017 – March 2018. 

The Council is asked to scrutinise the local performance report from Police Scotland against the Highland Policing Plan Objectives – April 2017 – March 2018. 

(b) Update on Call Handling  

There will follow Report No. HC/17/18 by the Chief Superintendent, Highland and Island Divisional Commander.

11. Recruitment of new Chief Executive 
Fastadh Àrd-Oifigear Ùr  

There will follow circulated Report No. HC/18/18 by the Chief Executive.

The Council is asked to:-

12. Annual Accounts for the Year to 31 March 2018
Cunntasan Neo-sgrùdaichte

There will follow Report No. HC/19/18 by the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources.

13. Multi-Year Revenue Budget Planning 2019/20 to 2021/22
Dealbhadh Buidseit Ioma-Bhliadhna

There is circulated Report No. HC/20/18 dated 18 June 2018 by the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources.

Members are asked to:-

(i)    consider the financial modelling assumptions;
(ii)   note the scale of the financial challenge facing the Council over the next three years with a potential funding gap of between £34.1m and £124.9m; and
(iii)  agree to prepare proposals for a multi-year budget for the period 2019/20 to 2021/22. 

14. Redesign of Highland Council  
Ath-dhealbhadh Chomhairle na Gaidhealtachd 

(a) Progress Report and Forward Look

There is circulated Report No. HC/21/18 dated 19 June by the Chief Executive.

Members are asked to note:-

(i)    the Board’s activity since the Council meeting in May 2018 on the growing programme of peer and Lean and that two new types of reviews are to be introduced. Work continues on the communications plan and links are being made with workforce planning. Staff engagement continued through management briefings and the Board has been briefed on the take-up of participation requests and community asset transfers;
(ii)   the car parking review has concluded and the Board’s recommendations are reported separately to the Council;
(iii)  further work is planned over the summer months on taking forward new reviews, holding the first annual Lean event for staff to enable more learning and acknowledge staff success and on planning the next round of staff engagement through local forums;
(iv)   the chronology of the Board’s activities over the past 12 months and its achievements and work still to do as summarised in Paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4; and
(v)    that redesign activity has not required the total budget allowance made for it.    

The Council is asked to agree that the Board continues to operate beyond June 2018, adapting to new challenges, learning from experience and connecting to other change processes in the Council for redesign to achieve even more going forward.

Members are also asked to agree that redesign is subject to annual review by the Board and by the Council and to resource redesign with a budget feed of up to £40k from July 2018 to the end of June 2019. These costs can expect to be recovered from savings, costs avoided and income generation and income achievement identified from redesign reviews. 

(b) Redesign Review of Car Parking – Final Report

There is circulated Report No. HC/22/18 dated 12 June 2018 by the Inverness City Area Manager (Review Team Leader).

The Council is asked to note the process involved in the Board’s review and in particular the opportunity the review has provided to hear a range of Member views in ten Board workshops and two formal meetings. The review has taken longer than expected but this has allowed for extensive deliberation and the opportunity to find some common ground.

Members are asked to agree:-

(i)    the vision for parking as described in Paragraph 5.1;
(ii)   to devolve budget decisions on car parking to Local Committees through the extended local control budget option by including off-street parking in the disaggregated Community Services budget, providing a local Car Parking Budget for each Local Committee, noting current powers in the Scheme of Delegation relating to disaggregated budgets would apply to car parking if devolved and adding a new power for Local/City Committees as described in Paragraph 5.10;
(iii)  to enable local benefit from car parking opportunities by reinvesting any surplus income locally i.e. income above the target set by Council in its budget setting process. This provides local choices on the disaggregated budget including improving or protecting other local Community Services provision or investing in other local priorities. Where a deficit occurs, Local Committees will decide where other service savings will be made, including an awareness of workforce implications. Local committees would monitor budget in year and investment/divestment decisions would be made by the Local Committee for the year ahead based on actual out-turns in the previous year;
(iv)   as part of the Council’s budget setting process for 2019/20 and subsequent years, rather than setting any single corporate target for off-street car parking, the Council would set a revenue target for Local Committees instead;
(v)    to enable meaningful local engagement on local changes to car parking by introducing new ways of supporting Members to make local choices on their disaggregated budget, with proposals from Community Services being agreed and implemented for influencing the disaggregated budget for 2019 and engaging Local Members and communities in changes to car parking using a defined process as set out at Appendix 4. The Ward Management and Policy teams in the Chief Executive’s Office can support Members and the Service with their engagement process;
(vi)   that, to support the shift to localism, proposals are developed by the Service to respond to the staff impacts expected around training, work load, priorities, staff roles and possibly structure;
(vii)  dependent on the staff resourcing above, to implement the changes to align with budget setting for 2019/20, with local decisions on investment/divestment from 2020/21 and the first annual review after April 2021;
(viii) a revised policy for car parking be considered at the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee as soon as practicable (earliest opportunity August 2018) and that it includes the vision for car parking developed and agreed through the Board as set out at Paragraph 5.1, extended local control budget model, engagement process as set out in Appendix 4 and additional Board recommendations as set out in Appendix 5;
(ix)   that the revised car parking policy is given a higher profile in the Community Services Service Plan; and
(x)    that other process improvement agreed by the Board as set out in Paragraphs 5.19 to 5.25 are noted as operational issues and are largely delegated to Officers in Community Services. These cover intelligence and opportunities around land for car parking, developing car parking data and financial management arrangements, processes to support investment in car parking infrastructure, marketing and promotion of car parking, workforce issues and continually learning from good practice.             

There are also circulated Minutes of Meeting of the Redesign Board held on Tuesday, 12 June 2018 for approval.

15. Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal Update
Cùmhnant Baile Roinne

There is circulated Report No. HC/23/18 dated 31 May 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.

The Council is asked to note progress to date as detailed in the report.

The Council is also asked to agree that clarity over the compatibility of the digital project with other Government digital initiatives be undertaken to enable the business case to be finalise and that a monitoring and evaluation framework be established to ensure the targets set in the City-Region deal can be scrutinised.

16. Single Use Plastics   
Plastaigean Aona Chleachdadh

There is circulated Report No. HC/24/18 dated 24 May 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.

Members are asked to note the contents of the report and agree:-

(i)   that a strategy should be developed to ensure that the Council works towards phasing out single use plastic from its sites and schools in an effort to exceed statutory requirements; 
(ii)  that work with community planning partners should be undertaken to encourage the uptake of mutually-reinforcing strategies to reduce plastic pollution in a catering sundries context;
(iii) that Commercial and Procurement Shared Services (C&PSS), Scotland Excel and Catering Managers should work together to incrementally phase out single use plastic in the procurement of catering sundries and consider introducing wider measures designed to reduce the plastic content of packaging;
(iv)  that communications are prepared and disseminated to inform Highland communities about the reasons the Council is phasing out single use plastic and encourage them to switch to alternatives; 
(v)   that a cross-party Highland Council Working Group be created to provide input and recommendations for the overarching strategy and the phasing out of single use plastic with Cllr Trish Robertson as Chair; and
(vi)  that a cross-service Highland Council Officers’ Group be created to implement the recommendations and write the overall strategy.

17. Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan                      
Plana Leasachaidh Ionadail Ghallaibh agus Chataibh

There is circulated Report No. HC/25/18 dated 13 June 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure. 

The Council is asked to agree that, following the expiration of the requisite period for consideration by Scottish Ministers, and unless directed by them otherwise, the final version of the Proposed Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (i.e. the ‘Intention To Adopt’ version of the CaSPlan) will be adopted and constituted as part of the Development Plan.    

18. High Life Highland – Amendment to Articles of Association
High Life na Gàidhealtachd – Atharrachadh do dh’Artaigilean Co-cheangail

There is circulated Report No. HC/26/18 dated 18 June 2018 by the Head of Corporate Governance.

The Council is asked to agree to amend Article 111, insert Article 112A and amend Article 113 of the Company’s Memorandum and Articles as detailed in Appendix A to the report.

19. Church Representative – Care, Learning & Housing Committee 
Riochdaire Eaglaise – Comataidh a’ Chùraim, an Ionnsachaidh & an Taigheadais

The Council is required, in terms of Section 31 of the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994, to have a minimum of three Church representatives on the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, two of whom are to be appointed on direct nomination (by the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church) and the third involving discretionary procedures.

In this regard, and on the basis of the rota system previously agreed by the Council, The Very Reverend Sarah Murray has been nominated by the Scottish Episcopal Church as its representative to sit on the Committee.

The Council is therefore invited to approve the nomination of The Very Reverend Sarah Murray as detailed.

20. 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 10 May 2018 is available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website.

21. Recess Powers
Cumhachdan Fosaidh

The Council is invited to agree that, during the recess period, powers should be granted to the Chief Executive, Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources and Service Directors, in consultation with the Convener, Leader of the Council, Depute Leader of the Council, relevant Committee Chair and the Leader of the Opposition, to deal with issues arising during that time and that a report should be prepared for the first meeting of the Council or relevant Committee following the period where these powers have been exercised.